October 16, 2017
A small band of Church of the Resurrection members regularly pray outside an abortion facility in Glen Ellyn. We refer to it as a "peaceful, prayerful presence on behalf of the unborn and their mothers and fathers." Often people ask, "But does this prayerful presence really do any good?" Of course we often don't see how God is answering our prayers, but here's one story of a specific, and we think miraculous, answer to our prayers.
Usually when we pray at the abortion facility, clients try to park as far away from us as possible. This time was different. The abortion facility’s “escorts” (whose job it is to rush clients past anyone who might offer to help them find an alternative to an abortion) had already gone home for the day. A young couple parked their car in front of us. The woman inside had been crying, and the man beside her appeared frustrated. Praying that Jesus would give them the courage to leave this place, I handed them a brochure from CareNet, a crisis pregnancy center located right across the street. I explained that CareNet helps provide food, clothing, and shelter for women in crisis pregnancies. On the brochure I jotted down the name of Church of the Resurrection and a number where they could find more help.
Instead of the usual, “No thanks, we’re not interested,” the young man replied, “We already have two kids. We can’t afford a third.” In these moments, the Holy Spirit helps us answer. “I have three children,” I replied, “and I can’t imagine life without my third. She is a joy to me, and I know you will love your third child just as much as you love your first two.”
Sometimes there is great drama, as a couple may become angry or just indifferent and march straight inside the abortion facility. There have been times in similar situations when a couple might talk for half an hour before deciding whether to go in or drive away. After a few minutes of discussion, the young man said they had decided not to have an abortion. Praise God they left that day, three people in their car, and not just two. I pray that they have contacted CareNet and found the help they need to support their growing family. Please pray for them. I cannot say for certain that they did not change their mind later and return on a different day. I do know that in His mercy God puts us in the places where He wants us to be to help others who need to hear His Word. By His power alone, may we be willing to go when He calls us.
September 22, 2014
In 1985 a member of New Hope church in Richmond, Virginia invited me to pray at a local abortion clinic. It was heartbreaking as a high school student to see teens my own age often being pulled along against their will by boyfriends or even parents facing the financial responsibility and sometimes social stigma associated with having a child outside of marriage. It was hard to believe that every Saturday inside this building, the smallest and weakest members of our community, children, were being killed.
This particular clinic had a rear parking lot, but because the back door of the building was locked, patrons had to walk around the side and front of the building to reach the front door. This provided a one-minute window in which Christians could walk alongside these young women, speak with them, and hand out pro-life literature listing local crisis pregnancy centers dedicated to helping women with financial difficulties.
In 2014 clinics are better designed to prevent women from receiving information that offers any choice other than abortion. The Aanchor abortion clinic in Glen Ellyn has a drive through area where women can be dropped off at the front door. Those who do park near the public median are quickly met by escorts in orange aprons who hustle the women into the clinic, stepping between the women and anyone trying to speak or hand out information about local crisis pregnancy centers or adoption alternatives.
While in some ways this arrangement can be discouraging, it has also encouraged me to seek other ways in which to "come alongside" women in crisis pregnancies. The most important way we can help women no matter what the physical circumstances are is through prayer. Although there are fewer opportunities to distribute information at the Aanchor clinic, there are plenty of opportunities to take an hour and pray for the women, their families, boyfriends, husbands, and the children who are entering the clinic still in their mothers' wombs. There is a small but dedicated group of eight people from seven different churches in the Wheaton area who pray regularly at Aanchor. Those involved have described how women have left the clinic without having an abortion, thanking those outside for praying for them.
Praying at the clinic is a major step we at Resurrection can take. If every member committed to praying even once a year at Aanchor, every Saturday and Wednesday would be filled. In addition, I would like to see Resurrection help mobilize other local churches in the area to commit to prayer at the clinic. If all the churches in the Wheaton-Glen Ellyn area encouraged their members to come out to pray once a year, the building would be surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic who left the industry, described how one of the most effective means of stopping abortions was having Christians praying outside. It increases the chance that the women entering the clinic will receive information about alternatives, and, most importantly, it invites the presence of the Holy Spirit to change hearts in ways that are impossible by human means.
Another way to come alongside women is to financially support organizations that help women in crisis pregnancies. CareNet, located less than a hundred yards away from Aanchor, is a ministry that Church of the Resurrection and other local churches support that provides financial aid, medical assistance, continuing education, and childcare assistance. It has been a blessing seeing how families at Rez have shown God's love in providing meals, childcare, and companionship to two women and their children we have "adopted" through CareNet.
For women who have had abortions, Nancy Kreuzer, one of the leaders of the Sanctity of Life team at Rez, meets with women and men for prayer, healing, and restoration. Nancy has lived through the pain of having an abortion, and she is an excellent person to speak to and pray with for people seeking Jesus' healing presence.
I am excited by God's work at Rez in so many ways. In serving the smallest of His children, we are serving Jesus. Here are some practical steps you can take to get involved: