On Priests for Life’s Facebook cause “Pray to End Abortion” (see www.ProLifePrayers.com), I recently began an online series of two-minute videos exploring in detail why and how we pray to end abortion. (These videos can also be seen on my You Tube channel, www.youtube.com/frfrankpavone.)
I begin by asking the question, “Why do we pray at all, when God already knows his own will and intends to carry it out?” As we know, in the model for all prayer, the Our Father, our Lord taught us to pray, “Thy will be done.” All our prayer is based on that attitude. But certainly we don’t need to remind God to do things he’s going to forget.
So why do we pray? Because God wants us to be involved in what he is doing! Of course he’s going to do his will. But our prayers really change things, because God wills that his decisions will rely in part on whether we pray and act.
One of his firm decisions, which in fact represents the purpose of salvation history, is that he will destroy death. And we can actually hasten the process and spread the victory of life.
“The Lord will destroy death forever!” This marvelous declaration from Isaiah 25:8 should sustain us daily in our pro-life efforts. When we pray to end abortion, we are not just asking God to do us some favor or to grant a request. It’s much more momentous than that. When we ask him to end abortion, we are pleading for the fulfillment of his great plan of conquering death.
It was about this that God first spoke when he promised in Genesis 3:15 (the “first gospel”) that the head of the serpent would be crushed. It was for this that Jesus himself died and rose again; it is for this that every Church ministry exists. Proclaiming the Gospel means proclaiming life! As Paul explains in 1 Cor. 15, as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive, but each in his own order. Christ is the first to rise from the dead; then all things are to be made subject to him, and in him, all will rise at the end of time. “Then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory!” (1 Cor. 15:54).
When Scripture talks about the new and eternal Jerusalem, urging us to look forward to that day when we will all be gathered around the throne, it declares, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying out nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). That is why we pray to end abortion, because we are caught up in a mighty dynamic of history, over which God presides. Our prayers are a great Amen to a process in which we are all involved and which culminates in the eternal victory of life!