Editor's note: Birmingham chapter leader for Bound4LIFE and a part of 40 Days for Life, Natalie Brumfield has been praying outside abortion centers since she was a child. After seeing an opposing Top 10 list, she felt compelled to respond in love.
1) God has asked you.
"I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap… but I found no one." Ezekiel 22:30
God has asked His people to stand in the gap and pray on behalf of their country's Biblical injustices. We fall into a frightening position when there is no one who is standing in the gap for these families in crisis and their babies on the frontlines, where the greatest injustice is happening.
The injustice is that these desperate families are being fed lies in exchange for abortion centers' pricey services; innocent babies are being killed on account of these lies and for great profit.
2) We pray to be a voice for the voiceless.
"Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable… and to defend the needy and the poor." Proverbs 31:9
God has asked His people again and again in scripture to be a voice for the voiceless and a defense for the defenseless. There is no one more voiceless in this hour than babies in the womb who have no means to defend themselves.
We are called to be a voice not only in politics, in church, in social arenas — but also, most importantly, in prayer. Our prayers are contending that these babies may live and not die, that these mothers, fathers, abortion center workers and doctors would come to know healing and truth about the sacredness of their own lives.
3) People need to see others care.
"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
"Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Philippians 2:3-4
It is not easy to constantly pray at abortion centers. After many years, it's heavy on me. It's grueling. It doesn't make me popular. I've lost special friends over the years. And the reality of what goes on inside the buildings rips my heart open over and over again.
But it isn't about me. It's about that single woman who has no one to turn to and feels absolutely hopeless. It's about that couple who had no idea last week that they would be driving up to an abortion center deciding whether their baby would live or die. It's about that baby who may not live to see the world outside of her/his mommy's tummy. It's about being there for others and helping to carry their pain.
And I know the prayer and presence means something to the people I've talked to and prayed with walking in or out of those places. They've told me. So I go and I pray — because they need to see someone cares.
4) While it isn't comfortable, sharing the same space is vital.
"Streams of tears flow from my eyes because my people are destroyed." Lamentations 3:48
There is no doubt that Jesus hears our prayers from wherever we pray. But there is no negating that you are going to pray more fervently on a sidewalk outside a building where you know a woman and her child's future will be forever changed.
It's sobering and devastating. It puts urgency on your soul to cry out in prayer. It's not comfortable to pray outside that abortion center, or to be that vulnerable. Good. If you feel extremely weak, uncomfortable and helpless in prayer: you are on the right track.
In that uncomfortable, broken situation, we enter into what that woman is feeling. Then we can truly intercede on her behalf, on behalf of her helpless child, and her family. We all need Jesus every hour, but we rarely feel that desperation as much as when we pray.
5) Little children carry authority.
They asked Jesus, "Do you hear what these children are saying?" "Yes," Jesus replied. "Haven't you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, 'You have taught children and infants to give you praise.'" Matthew 21:16
I was a 7 year-old who went with her dad to pray outside an abortion center. He told me that my prayers mattered to God. And I knew it was true. Did I have fun that day? Yes, I did. I loved being with Dad and I loved knowing that my prayers for babies to live that day were heard in heavenly places. That was fun.
My husband and I regularly take our 4 year-old to pray. He plays red light/green light on the sidewalk, colors with the sidewalk chalk (usually coloring in what Daddy drew out, or trying to draw a picture of him). But in between his play, he prays out loud with his own precious prayer: "Please, help the babies, Jesus."
And after we leave, whether on the drive home or before bed, he will say to me, "Mommy, I made Jesus happy!" I didn't tell him that. Our 4 year-old feels the joy of Jesus over him when he prays for babies. I even asked him randomly a few days ago what his favorite thing was, and he told me: "Babies!" I know his 4 year-old prayer is heard just as loudly (or even more loudly in his purity) than my 32 year-old prayer.
Teach your children to praise Jesus and pray to Him about important things. Does my 4 year-old understand what happens inside that building? No. But he carries real authority in prayer for babies.
6) Abortion affects everyone.
"How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave." Lamentations 1:1
"They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace." Jeremiah 8:11
Abortion affects everyone: mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings – and even the medical professionals who perform them. It affects businesses, your tax dollars, and the future of America. This isn't as personal and private a decision as the world claims it is. Abortion affects us corporately.
Abortion in our society deeply robs each of our lives personally. Abortion might have robbed you from any of the following: a sister or brother, a wife or a husband, a future daughter-in-law or son-in-law, a cousin, an aunt or an uncle, or a best friend. And that is just one spectrum of a personal effect on a corporate reality.
Abortion robs families of the children they wish they had the opportunity to adopt. We cannot escape abortion touching our lives in some way. Pray at an abortion center because you have something to lose.
7) We pray to save a life.
"Yet You brought me safely from my mother's womb …You have been my God from the moment I was born." Psalm 22:9-10
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10
One of the first years I committed to go and pray outside an abortion center as an adult, I had the honor of praying with a father who was torn on what he should tell his ex-girlfriend (the mother of his child). She had said it was up to him to decide.
He came down to where I was praying, not knowing what to even say to me. I asked him if he needed me to pray with him. He said yes. As we stood there in a moment I'll never forget, I prayed as hard (though messy) as I could that his father heart would turn toward his child. We exchanged information because he would need help no matter what was decided.
Weeks later, after so much prayer, I received an email telling me that they were keeping their baby boy! Today that little boy is 5 ½ years old. I think of him every time I go to pray outside an abortion center. His parents say that baby boy saved their life, too. It was through him that they came to have real faith in Jesus.
Your presence outside a building matters and Jesus allows your messy prayers to be effective even unto saving lives.
8) Everyone can pray.
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
All of God's children can pray — this is one of the greatest reasons why the whole family can be a part of praying on a sidewalk for other families in crisis. There are no pre-requisites or age requirements.
We are all qualified in Christ Jesus, young and old. There is nothing to fear in prayer; it's simple and it's effective.
9) Prayer is the greater work.
"And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith." Matthew 21:22
I have seen the power of God work through the weakest of my prayers because of faith. This promise that prayer is the most powerful work if you have faith reminds me of a quote from wartime chaplain Oswald Chambers:
Why would you not do the "greater work" where the greatest works and miracles need to take place? If I was legally allowed, I would be sitting inside that waiting room praying with each person in those chairs — because I long to look into their eyes and hold their hands as I pray. Since that is not allowed, I pray the very closest I can get: on the sidewalk.
Though our prayers are not limited to boundary lines, Jesus has taught me that you go to the places that need the greater work. You have been sent as His representatives in all love, compassion, and authority.
10) Acts of compassion will follow.
"When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matthew 9:36
When you go to pray outside an abortion center, you are making a commitment to follow God as He leads you in prayer and follow Christ into acts of compassion. You must always be willing to be the answer to your own prayers. You will hardly find a time of intercession with God where He does not lead you to walk out love in a tangible way.
Baby showers and finances have been given, mommy/daddy classes and ultrasounds provided, jobs found and offered, rides given to the local crisis pregnancy center and babies adopted. And most incredibly, people have come to pray to ask Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. It's an honor to witness these miracles.
It was in those hours of prayer on a sidewalk outside an abortion center that I was led to counsel at my local crisis pregnancy center… I decided I wanted to foster parent… I prayed I could adopt a child from this hard place. It is where Jesus fashioned my heart to do whatever it took to be an answer for these mothers, fathers, and innocent children.
Come and see for yourself. Pray outside an abortion center and see what miracles Jesus will lead you to do in the name of His real love.