Praying for Dear Life

In our recent study of Isaiah we heard a consistent call to “Keep justice and do righteousness” (56:1). For the prophet this applied to Israel’s leaders who devoured instead of served God’s people (56:9-12), field owners who oppressed their workers (58:3), those who perverted justice in the courts through bribes and lies (59:4), and the violent who shed innocent blood (59:6-7). God’s call to justice is no less binding today; Jesus put it first on the list of the “weightier matters of the law” (Matthew 23:23). But where do we find such injustice? And what are we to do when we find it?

Quite a few institutions close to our church perpetuate injustice, but one that was brought to my attention recently stands out. Just north of Indian School on 32nd Street, Camelback Family Planning (the sign says Jackrabbit Family Medicine) performs about 40 abortions per week. The concentration of injustice in the building is staggering. Many woman walking into that clinic feel trapped by financial, relational, and emotional stresses outside their control. Their stories likely involve injustice. Yet in their plight an even graver injustice takes place: a child in his or her most vulnerable, powerless stage of life is killed. To use Isaiah’s words, innocent blood is shed.

How do we respond to this injustice in our back yard? Jesus’ beatitudes in Matthew 5 set our course: we mourn; we are humbled; we hunger and thirst for justice; we show mercy; we seek peace. This Christ-like posture toward injustice can lead us to various actions. In past Mission and Mercy Months we have highlighted ways to make alternatives to abortion possible, like pursuing adoption or supporting Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Now, along with these, another opportunity is available: peaceful, prayerful protest.

Since Tuesday evening, local believers have been gathering outside Camelback Family Planning to pray for God to intervene in the various levels of injustice experienced in that building. This is part of a 40 day, nation-wide movement in which over 300 clinics are Jerichos where God’s people are praying for walls to tumble down.

I attended part of the prayer vigil on Tuesday night that kicked off the 40 days, wanting to ensure that this movement was not filled with the vitriol that has characterized some anti-abortion groups. The absolute opposite was true. Following a time of worship, a young lady shared her abortion story, how the hateful signs–“Murderer!” “Baby-Killer!” “Worthless!”–sent her into a three-year spiritual tailspin. Now a believer, she read the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery and implored us: put down your rocks and pick up compassion for these women. The coordinator of the event then showed the signs that would be provided for those praying outside the clinic: “We Love You. Choose Life.”

Whether or not God leads you to pray on site, I would ask you to join thousands of believers for the next 40 days in praying that God would make abortion an unthinkable option to women in crisis and to our national consciousness. Pray for the 40 women that go into the clinic each week, that God would make himself known to them and bring them to belong to him through Christ. Pray that God would rescue the babies whose lives are at stake at the hands of this doctor. Pray that God would make us robustly pro-life: caring for physical needs of all the vulnerable, whether unborn or born. Pray that God would raise up families in our church to adopt and expand a culture of adoption through us. And pray that God would work to glorify his power, compassion, forgiveness, and justice through his church as his people take action.

Praying with you,

Pastor Chris

P.S. If you are interested in praying at the clinic during these 40 days, please contact me [chris@whittonavenue.org]. If you have considered adoption and would like to learn more, consider attending a national Christian adoption conference that will be held in Gilbert on October 21-22 [www.togetherforadoption.org].

Print your tickets