John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop of New York from 1984 until his death in 2000, was a long-time pro-life advocate. As he was praying to understand why efforts in the pro-life cause were not garnering the expected results, he came upon the Scripture passage: “This kind of demon can only be cast out by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). Cardinal O’Connor realized the need to return to these spiritual weapons to root out the forces seeking to destroy life. Prayer remains critical to ending Planned Parenthood’s atrocities in our nation.
Power of Prayer
Prayer is the most important weapon we have to end abortion; we cannot underestimate the power prayer has. We see the example of Jesus in the Gospels who regularly prayed to the Father, particularly before his baptism and Transfiguration and before his Passion. In prayer, we engage in a profound dialogue with God, uniting our will with His will. We place our trust in God, who knows us intimately and loves us beyond our comprehension.
Yet, it can sometimes feel ineffective against the tragedies we see in the CMP videos. It is easy to measure the effectiveness of prayer in earthly terms so that when we see another young woman entering a Planned Parenthood clinic, we feel defeated. However, we may be unaware of the effects our prayer truly has; there are countless stories of women choosing life for their child because of prayers that were offered for them, even if they didn’t know they were being prayed for at the time. Truly, we will not know the extent of how we have helped to save lives through prayer in this life.
“Teach Us to Pray”
So how can we be prayer warriors?
First, we can follow the directives of Jesus, who, when asked by his disciples to teach them to pray, told them the parable of the friend who asks at midnight for three loaves of bread. Jesus tells them, “If he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.” (Luke 11:8) Jesus goes on to tell the disciples:
And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be open to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be open. (Luke 11:9-10)
We learn from Jesus that we must not become discouraged but rather be persistent in prayer. We know, in faith, that God grants what is good for us and if cannot answer us, it, too, is for our benefit.
For what shall we pray? We can pray to intercede for those who are at risk of abortion, the parents who are contemplating abortion, and those who work in the abortion industry. Numerous prayer resources for the cause of life are available. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat offers many pro-life prayers for individual or group settings.
Finally, borrowing from Nike: Just do it! Make time for prayer. Don’t get so caught up in “doing it right” that you don’t do it at all.