CALL TO PRAYER: Protect all children
EDITOR'S NOTE: This column is part of the call to prayer issued by Frank S. Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, to pray for revival and spiritual awakening for our churches, our nation and our world.
NASHVILLE (BP) -- When I was a child growing up in a Southern Baptist church in south Mississippi, we used to sing a lot of songs in Sunday school assembly. One song had the line: "And if the devil doesn't like it, he can sit on a tack."
As the years have gone by, I've realized there are a lot of things the devil doesn't like, in fact a lot of things the Scripture says the devil rages against.
One of those things is the sound of children singing. "Out of the mouths of babes," Jesus says, quoting the Psalms, "Your praise will come."
Every time we turn a page in the Bible, children are under assault from satanic powers. They're being killed; they're being marginalized; they're being left for dead.
Why? It's because the devil recognizes in the faces of children a picture of what the Scripture says is his ultimate defeat -- the offspring of the woman "will crush your head" (Genesis 3:15, NIV).
And as Jesus tells us, those who become as little children are those who will inherit the Kingdom of God (Matthew 18:2-3).
Satan sees the picture of his own defeat in those children's faces. That's why in every era we have to stand vigilant against a culture of death and stand up for a culture of life.
January 19 is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. One of the things we should commit ourselves to this Sunday is to work toward the day when not only, as one leader put it years ago, abortion will be illegal -- although we should work for that -- but also when abortion is unthinkable!
We should be standing up to protect the lives of children in law. We should be working in our voting, in our legislative process, to protect the lives of children.
We also need to be working within our congregations to teach and remind ourselves that there is no such thing as a wasted human life. There is no person who is less than a person. Everyone, including the unborn, is created in the image of God and therefore, bears all of the rights of life and of liberty.
Let's stand up for the unborn. Let's stand up for women who are being harmed and hurt by the abortion industry and by predatory men who pressure them into abortions.
Let's speak to those of you who have had abortions in order to say that, although this is an awful and unspeakable sin against God, the blood of Christ cleanses from all sin every conscience that cries out to Him in repentance and faith.
Always speak with kindness and grace. Be careful to maintain a Christian testimony when engaging others, even when you disagree with one another.
Establish a local crisis center. Check Care Net (care-net.org) and find a center nearby where you can volunteer. See if your church can help partner to raise money for the center. If there isn't one in your area, prayerfully consider spearheading an effort to start one. You might begin by speaking with the leaders in your local church or with prolife organizations such as The Psalm 139 Project (psalm139project.org).
Establish an outreach to young, single moms at your church.
Young moms need support and are often very open to parenting help. Consider launching a Teen Mothers of Preschoolers chapter (mops.org/teen).
Support education efforts. Consider supporting organizations that offer smart, compassionate efforts to educate the public on the issue of abortion, such as the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (erlc.com).
Support local legislative efforts. The real momentum in codifying protections for the unborn into law seems to be on the state level. Organizations like The National Right to Life Federation or local Right to Life groups are great resources to follow on pending legislation.
Pray. Pray for the women and girls who are considering abortion, that they will choose life. Pray for the millions who are living with the trauma of having chosen abortion in the past. Pray for the staff of pregnancy care centers as they minister to everyone who walks through their doors.
We preach the Gospel. We stand for justice. And we fight the devil, recognizing that every time we preach the Gospel, every time we seek to protect children, we're saying what many of us once sang: "Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world."
Russell D. Moore is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. For Sanctity of Human Life resources and to download a 3-minute video suitable for use in your church's worship service, go to http://erlc.com/life.