Pray and Act
By Fr. Frank Pavone
International Director, Priests for Life
The foundation of all that can be accomplished in the pro-life movement is prayer.
"Without me," Christ said, "you can do nothing" (Jn. 15:5). Jesus does
not merely "help" us, as if we were working on our own, and He came along to
ease the burden. Rather, we cannot even begin a good work without His saving action within
us. All we do is His gift. We need to pray more, and with greater fervor.
But be careful not to misuse a good thing. Even prayer can become an excuse, a refuge
from our responsibility to take action to stop abortion. The forms of action are many and
varied. We are not speaking here of any one kind. But we are called to action.
For the very same reason we are called to pray! Does God really need us to pray? Does
He need to be reminded of His duties, or told to do His job? Of course not. Yet He calls
us to pray, because He wants us to be involved in what He is doing. If, therefore, He
calls us to pray, even when He could act without our prayers, it is reasonable that He
calls us to action, even when He could act without our works. God calls us not because He
needs us but because He chooses to use us.
Prayer is not just asking God to do something. That's part of it, but it's more. Prayer
is union with God. Prayer means we open ourselves so wide to God that He comes in and does
something through us! Prayer and action are not two separate options, but rather two
aspects of the same reality: union with God.
When we come to prayer, we come to the living God, a consuming fire, the source of all
activity. When we come away from prayer we should not feel rested but restless. We should
not feel that we've done our duty, but that we've been given our duty.
Be careful when you ask God to end abortion. His response may very well be to reach
down from heaven, lift you up by the back of the neck, and throw you into the battle! God
is not going to rip open the sky, come down, and tell our nation to stop abortion.
Instead, He is going to put conviction in your heart and words on your lips and command
you to speak and act!
Let us never use prayer to escape from action. Instead, let us immerse ourselves in
true prayer, which enables us to act in union with God, who destroys death and restores
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