Paul Schenck on the Power of Prayer in Abortion Battle

PASADENA, Calif. – The 2006 Annual Pro-Life Conference in Southern California opened with a message on the power of prayer in changing abortion laws in the nation’s capital.

The Rev. Dr. Paul Schenck, founder-director of the National Pro-Life Action Center on Capitol Hill, was the first speaker at the pro-life conference on Jan. 21. Hosted by The Right to Life League, the nation’s first pro-life organization, the conference drew attendants including several directors of pregnancy and counseling centers, abstinence advocates, and pro-life supporters.

“We would like to disturb the capital with our prayers,” Schenck said before he began to relate his personal testimony on the power of prayer in the fight against abortion.

Schenck, a long time defender of life, has fought a long legal battle for the right of Christians to distribute Bibles, religious tracts, and pro-life literature on public sidewalks. After enduring seven years of court hearings, serving several times in federal prison, being placed under house arrest, and spending some $788,000 in legal defense expenses, Schenck won in his case against the Pro-Choice Network following a 8-1 vote by the Supreme Court in 1997.

"Arguing against me was the U.S. Solicitor General representing President Clinton, a Yale Law professor, the State University of New York law school, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and the New York State Attorney General," Schenck recalled in an interview with Word Magazine in 2004. "Arguing for me was Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice), Concerned Women of America, Focus on the Family, and, the AFL-CIO labor unions!"

At the pro-life conference at First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena, Schenck retold the story adding how prayer helped him win the case.

“It was just me and my lawyer – Jay Sekulow. We went to Washington that night and prayed. We laid prostrate in our hotel and I can still recall the smell of the carpet. We asked the Lord to confuse the opposition,” Schenck said.

Schenck then recalled with awe and humor that the next day the U.S. Solicitor-General, sent by former President Clinton, continuously mixed up the names of all the justices and called Justice Ginsburg, Justice O’Connor and the reverse.

“He (the US Solicitor General) was so frustrated to the point he slapped himself and said ‘Why do I keep doing this?’ But we knew why,” Schenck said with a smile.

Although Schenck has undergone many legal battles and has been verbally attacked by pro-choice advocates, the director believes that instead of retaliation, prayer and the Gospel is the method to transform America from a “culture of death to a culture of life.”

“We came to make friends, not enemies,” he said during his speech.

“We are not lobbyist or litigators, but we are evangelists trying to transform judiciary inside out,” Schenck stated. “We must seek to evangelize the justice and change their hearts and minds as well.”

Faith and Action, a ministry Schenck co-founded with his twin brother the Rev. Rob Schenck, is an evangelistic outreach seeking to evangelize elected officials and judiciaries in the Capital. The ministry includes Bible studies and Discipleship meetings on Capitol Hill. According to an interview with Word Magazine May 2004, the ministry attracts high level staff from the Supreme Court, other federal courts, the Pentagon, the Congress and the White House.

“We began the Supreme Court odyssey with pray and ended with pray,” said Schenck in his concluding remarks. “What will be a great transformation from a culture of death to a culture of life; from an irresponsible government to a responsible government? In order to protect and defend life, we have to keep prayer at the center,” Schenck concluded.

“This pro-life movement was mocked, marginalized, abused, beaten, and punished unjustly. But truth always triumphs. In the end God will be with us and hear us when we pray and we will see triumph for life in this generation,” Schenck ended.

The National Pro-Life Action Center continues to combat “pro-death” legislative agenda that includes unrestricted abortion, expanded federal funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research, legalized cloning and euthanasia. The organization is the nation’s only institution located on Capitol Hill that is defending and advocating the “sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.”

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