Centrality of Prayer: A View from the Front
“We shall not become like Christ until we give Him more time” said Frank Laubach, missionary to the Muslims in the southern Philippines at the turn of the 20th century. And how do we give Christ more time? Prayer. E.M. Bounds in his little book Power Through Prayer observed: “The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men–men of prayer.”
James 5:16 states, “…the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
“What would happen if we prayed harder than we worked?” This question came up in a staff meeting recently after several months of discussion over how to be more effective at reaching and serving women at risk for abortion. It is not as if we don’t pray. We do. Sure there is the terse yet meaningful prayer at the beginning and end of meetings, the pause for prayer at our computers when we receive the PrayerNet update, and even the PrayerNet initiative itself which has been building for years. But what seems absent is real, laborious, standing-in-the-gap, pleading as one might plead for the life of a son or daughter type prayer.
CompassCare’s future patients are in desperate need of loving and passionate followers of Jesus beseeching God on their behalf. This kind of prayer-work takes a certain wholeness of soul, a certain dedication to holy living, a certain radical re-prioritization of the use of our time and resources. As we have considered how to be more intentional about incorporating prayer into the daily CompassCare routine several ideas have surfaced: 1) On-site Prayer Teams during all patient hours, and 2) Lead by example by having all staff and volunteers in the office on Tuesdays-Thursdays pray for patients from 12:30-1:00, the start of patient care shifts.
An increase and focus on prayer seems to be having an effect. I received the following email from Kathy, CompassCare’s RN Team Leader, last week and it illustrates the battle we are in for the hearts and minds of young women and the indispensable power of prayer to reach and serve them.
If you take a look at the calendar yesterday, you’ll see that Tammy (a CompassCare staff RN) and I had our hands full! It was a tremendous day of activity – and the one word I would use to describe it is “POWERFUL”.
We had 12 scheduled patients and one walk in. There were a total of 8 new pregnant patients and 8 abortion-minded (AM) patients. What made it interesting is the awareness that a spiritual battle was going on, and we were winning. There were several references to Planned Parenthood (PP) from 4 or 5 different patients, all of them saying that they had made (or tried to make) appointments with PP, but changed their minds and didn’t know why. One patient said she was referred to us by PP (which I can’t imagine is true.) One patient (a return pregnancy – very AM) was on her way to PP the day before and suddenly told her boyfriend to turn the car around and go to Starbucks. During her time of “thinking it through,” she suddenly received a vision for her future that included a child in her life…and she got excited about it, and kept her appointment with us. It was astounding to hear how the Spirit of God directed her so clearly. I asked another new pregnancy very AM patient how she felt after seeing her 14 week old on ultrasound. She blurted out some shocking truth-soaked statements: “THAT is a human being and THAT makes abortion wrong. Abortion is the most selfish decision a woman could make because it’s only about what she wants, what she thinks she has to have, and isn’t considering the fact that there is a real baby’s life to consider.” I was pleasantly shocked she was speaking these words of revelation after saying the opposite just moments before. We had one new pregnancy patient, undecided about her plans, bring her 7 year old daughter with her. This patient told me that eight years ago, she made an appointment at PP to terminate her unplanned pregnancy. Then she second guessed that decision and cancelled the appointment. She repeated that pattern SEVEN times–making the appointment, and cancelling, until finally in exasperation, she found another unplanned pregnancy care center: CompassCare. She said that’s when she knew she was going to keep her baby. Now again – she’s still undecided about her current pregnancy, but she said, “There are many voices in my ear telling me I should keep it, and so that’s the direction I am leaning.” Finally, our last patient was an 18 year old young lady, who just found out she was pregnant in our office yesterday, and has decided to continue her pregnancy. She also decided to give her life to Jesus! That, folks, is a good day.
I thought you’d like to know what was happening on the front lines in our office yesterday. The presence of God was real, the battle with death was evident, but even more clear was the power of life, grace and truth.
Grateful to serve alongside you all,
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph 6:12).
If you are interested in being a part of the newly formed Prayer Teams and coming in to the office during clinical hours to pray for these young women or joining the PrayerNet email list, please email email@example.com.