Praying outside abortion clinics - why I haven’t got anything better to do.

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As the next 40 days for life campaign starts up again, I have been reflecting on why I really have nothing better to do with my time than to support this cause.

1) Actual babies are saved are given a chance to life!

I guess this is a given, however maybe not one that everyone knows. Since 2007, through the work of 40 days for life, 13998 mothers chose to give their babies the chance to life. That is actually huge. This is 13,998 lives that are capable of changing the world, becoming somebody's best friend even saving other people’s lives. Because of the witness of people who stood outside clinics, offering women an alternative choice to abortion, lives were saved.

2) There is a stereotype of pro-lifers that I just don’t fit into..

I’ve overheard quite a few conversations recently about people’s perceptions of who pro-lifers are. Most times I’ve found myself chuckling as I don’t fit into any of their categories. A common misconception is that people who are pro life are over the age of 50, anti feminist, judgemental and oppressed by their religion to have pro life views. I am a 20 year old Catholic student. My faith is something that liberates me and brings me the deepest of joys and is something that I choose to live out daily and I am not the only one. There are so many young people across the UK who are supporting the pro life cause and it’s time that people saw that it is something young people have an opinion about today.

3) Even the woman who doesn’t want to hear what we have to say needs to know she is loved.

One of the most heartbreaking things to experience standing outside the abortion clinic is to see the women come out of a consultation or the procedure itself looking completely defeated, crushed, often crying and frequently alone. It’s exactly in that moment I know that Jesus is asking us to be his visible presence there. Nearly everyone knows that we are mainly Christians stood there and this may be the only time that some women are shown that they are loved, that they have a Father who loves them and wants their heart with all its wounds so he can heal and restore it. This isn’t always shown with our words, rarely it is. But the heart of the Father can be shown through us when we offer women real support not judgement. If we are not stood there in that moment of confusion, hurt or grief to give them hope who will be?

4) There’s something in not letting fear stop you from doing what you know to be good.

We are on the front line of a battle which sometimes can seem hopeless and terrifying. There have been many times I have reconsidered why I am stood there for an hour or two in the pouring rain or freezing cold. It’s something that seriously tests my faith, trusting and believing that this battle is worth fighting, that it can and has already been won. This doesn’t take away from the fact that yes, it can be really scary sometimes to tell friends or acquaintances what you’ve been up to this week, or to be stood at the side of a road worrying about being mocked but if we all gave into our fears of being humiliated or misunderstood (even by our peers in the conversations we have with them) there is a very real possibility that many babies would not be given a chance to live. This in itself reminds me to cast aside my fears and join in the fight for what I believe to be good and true.

5) God is more interested in what he is doing in me than through me.

Writing this alone has shown me the many ways that God is working in my heart but I was once told in a talk when doing mission work that God is always far more interested in what he is doing in me than what he is doing through me. It can be really humbling to hear this, but also there is a sense of immense joy in knowing that we can never be outdone in generosity. Indeed, God is going to use whatever we do to support this cause and magnify it a million times over, but he really does want to use this to change our hearts too. Whether that is in terms of softening our hearts, giving us the chance to grow in the virtue of courage and integrity or to help us grow in faith and trust that He is a loving God who is victorious.

I challenge you this lent to maybe sign up for even one hour to pray outside an abortion clinic and to join your local 40 days for life campaign. If this isn’t possible, maybe to consider joining with friends to pray and fast for this cause and to finally be a witness to life in all that you do.

Daisy Vanderputt