Yesterday the Yellowstone Valley Christians for Life sponsored the 12th annual March for Life at Billings, Montana. We met and marched together to the Court House for prayer and singing. I was one of the three speakers: Dick Pence spoke on supporting and voting for pro-life candidates, Teresa Hagestad spoke on adoption, and I had the privilege of speaking on prayer. Below are my notes.
Sunday, January 20, 2019
March for Life
Consider Luke 18:1-8, the parable of the widow and the unjust judge. We are told explicitly that Jesus told this parable that men ought always to pray. This parable impresses upon disciples to not grow weary in approaching God in persistent prayer.
If you aren’t familiar with the parable, a widow goes to an unjust judge seeking justice (because that is what judges are supposed to do—administer justice). She asks, Avenge me my adversary. She is asking for deliverance and justice. But the unjust judge doesn’t care about her afflictions at the hands of her adversary. Accordingly, the judge delays justice. However, he eventually decides to execute justice on the behalf the widow, but we’re told it is for selfish reasons. He doesn’t want this widow to continue to inconvenience him by continually coming to him. The widow, we observe, was persistent in crying out for justice even to an unjust judge.
The point of the parable is this: the unjust judge, in the final analysis, did a good and just thing, albeit, he did not do what was just because he was good or for good reasons. The contrast between this unjust judge and God absolutely compels disciples of Jesus to be diligent and persistent in prayer. Why? Because God not only does what is good, but God is good. God is perfectly just and does all according to his perfect and holy will. Psalm 119: 68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. Psalm 145:17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
So, think about this parable which exhorts disciples to pray with persistence, and let’s relate the privilege of persistent prayer to this issue at hand – legalized abortion in our nation – and consider this question: Does God ordinarily preserve life by the appointed means of persistent prayer?
Yes. The Psalms of David confirm this. Again, and again, and again we see David crying out to God for deliverance and help when he is being pursued by murderous enemies. But we should also consider what the Spirit wrote in the New Testament in the Book of Acts. In Acts 12, the evil ruler Herod Agrippa had already arrested and executed the Apostle James, and it gave him a figurative bump in the political polls and increased his favor with his constituents who opposed the Christians. So Herod arrests the Apostle Peter with the intent of executing him, too. But in Acts 12:5 we’re told that while Peter was in prison the church made prayer without ceasing. Again, we are told Peter is in prison and the verge of execution and the church made prayer without ceasing. And many of you know the rest of the story: the angel of the Lord appears to Peter in prison and there is a miraculous jail-break. Afterwards Peter goes to the house of Mary the mother of John, and in Acts 12:12, we’re told that when he goes to the house there were many gathered together praying. Surely, they were praying for Peter. Elsewhere Scripture teaches us that the prayers of the righteous availeth much (James 5:16). Indeed.
Circling back to the issue at hand—abortion. Has the church offered up persistent prayers for the preservation of innocent lives since 1973? Yes, and we have seen God answering our prayers. According to one source, in the past 45+ years, ever since Roe v. Wade, now almost half of the States are extremely hostile to abortion, e.g., various State legislatures have put into effect hundreds and hundreds of laws to attenuate the abortion industrial complex legalized and sustained by Roe v. Wade. Additionally, abortion issues are coming to the courts again and again across many of the States. Our prayers have not been answered in full, that is, the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but through both legislatures and courts we see the ability to legally murder children has, is, and, Lord willing! will continue to be diminished.
Also, think about the longevity of March for Life. Ever since Roe v. Wade there has been March for Life. Think about the longevity of that. Think about the longevity of March for Life in Billings—this is our 12th year. And think about how the pro-life movement has grown both in numbers and vocal-witness over the past 45+ years. People standing up for truth, for justice, for the sanctity of life, it has now become a multi-generational concern. Indeed, God is answering our prayers.
I was born in 1983, ten years after Roe v Wade, and I grew up attending pro-life rallies. And looking at this crowd I think it is safe to bet that I’m not the only one who was raised that way. The fruits of persistent prayer aren’t only evident in the legislatures and courts across our country, but they are especially evident here, where parents have brought their children to stand united for life, and in bringing our children, we are catechizing them into the culture of life, into the holy habit of persistent prayer, which has become a spreading flame throughout the darkness of our nation’s culture of death.
We are called to persistent prayer.
May God give us grace to pray continually, looking forward to when God shall wipe away all tears, and there shall be no more death (Revelation 21:4).