Nine Days for Life

usccb-9-days-round-logo-gry-crcle-orgNext Friday, January 22, will mark 43 years since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in our country at all stages of pregnancy. Since then, an estimated 58.5 million babies have been killed by abortion. Join us in nine days of prayer in a very particular way for an end to abortion starting on January 16 and ending on January 24. Prayers, reflections, and action suggestions are sent to you daily.

What’s With Nine Days?

The number “nine” recalls the nine days of prayer of the Apostles who gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem after Christ’s Ascension and before the coming of the Holy Spirit. This first “novena” was commanded by Christ who told them not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the Promise of the Father. (Acts 1:4)

By the seventh century, the Church kept a nine-day period of special prayer to prepare for Christmas. These nine days were symbolic of the nine months during which Mary carried Jesus in her womb.

We pray for nine days with a particular intention in mind because we hopefully anticipate an answer to our petition. The steadfastness to one particular prayer intention awakens in us an even greater desire for that intention and is a witness of our faith in God’s power.

Why Should I Join?

We know that prayer has much power to overcome great evils. Jesus Christ told his disciples that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20) We can spiritually join together by uniting our prayers together during these nine days. Uniting together in prayer is really a mark of the universality of our faith.

Joining also helps you to remember to pray every day for an end to abortion! It can be easy to forget when you are busy with school, work, and daily activities. Having a reminder pop up in your email or on your phone is a great way to reinforce the commitment you have made – and it will hopefully start a new habit of prayer!

How To Join

Participating is easy. You can either download the app, join by text message, sign up for daily emails, or access the prayers and reflections online.

Make the time to join in this simple prayer and be amazed at what God can do through you!

How to Pray for an End to Abortion

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 prayerPassion. 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.