Table of Contents
Chapter 1 We Are Created By God
Chapter 2 We Are Made in His Image
Chapter 3 Our Life Is Given by God
Chapter 4 God’s Care and Concern for Human
Chapter 5 Life in the Womb - The Incarnation
Chapter 6 Life in the Womb - Known by God
Chapter 7 Life in the Womb - Vital and Unique
Chapter 8 Children are a Blessing from God
Chapter 9 Respect and Care for the Older
Chapter 10 The Obligation to Care for Our
Fellow Human Beings
List of Contributors
The Bible reveals that human beings, male and
female, young and old, from the first moment to the last breath, are made in
“the image of God.” This unshakable truth gives profound significance to each
human life. The National Pro-life Religious Council is convinced that it is
God’s will that human life be held in the high regard that he intends.
We are all well aware of the increasing
assault on the dignity of human life. It is important that the Church responds
with its most effective weapon – prayer. This booklet is designed to help the
Christian community do the important work of prayer in the battle for preserving
the sanctity of human life.
The Lord of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ,
instructs us to pray that God’s will be “done on earth as it is in heaven.” The
hope of the contributors to this booklet is that, by praying with intention, the
conscience of the Church will be awakened to the plight of others: the unborn
child, the mother struggling with a crisis pregnancy, the elderly who feel
increasingly devalued and the severely disabled who are at the mercy of the
decisions of others, and, having been awakened, we will be moved to act on their
behalf. Toward that end, we must pray that hearts and minds, including our own,
would be turned to embrace the beauty and truth of the fact that each human
being is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Such renewal might seem impossible
given a pervasive and increasing disregard for human life, but remember -- our
Lord teaches that we “always ought to pray and not lose heart.” The One who is
Lord of the Church is also Lord of Heaven and Earth!
What follows is 30 days worth of Scriptures,
meditations and prayers. These have been compiled and created by members of the
National Pro-life Religious Council out of love for Christ and his Church.
May God be glorified in all that we do.
Chapter 1: We Are Created by God
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God
formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath
of life; and man became a living being.
The pro-life message is rooted in the two
basic truths of life: 1) There is a God; 2) He isn’t me
From the beginning of the Bible until the end
the theme is echoed that God alone has dominion over human life. He made it;
shared it; died to save it; will raise it up forever. The act of creation
described in Genesis 2:7, and earlier in Genesis 1:26-27, is a sovereign act.
God did not have to do it and would have been happy forever without us. Yet
without our asking for it or earning it, God brought us out of nothingness and
into life, and sustains our existence at every moment. And He does so in Christ.
“For by Him all things were created…in Him all things exist” (Colossians
“You are not your own,” Paul declares in 1
Corinthians 6. God alone owns us. While He entrusts us to the care of one
another, He does not allow any human being to own another. A Southern California
abortionist, James McMahon, once explained how he justified killing children
after 20 weeks gestation by partial-birth abortion. He did not deny that this
was a child, but rather asked, “Who owns the child? It’s got to be the mother.”
The struggle over abortion is really a struggle over the dominion of God. The
Christian individual, and the Christian Church, cannot sit idly by when others
declare that God is not God.
Lord, we are yours. Thank you for
breathing into us the breath of life. Thank you for claiming us as your
own. May our words and actions in defense of human life proclaim to all
the world that you alone are Lord of life and death, Lord of our freedom and of
our choices. We pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Fr. Frank Pavone
For You formed my inward
parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am
fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows
very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and
skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance,
being yet unformed and in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned
for me, When as yet there were none of them.
Abortion -- the great “no”
Unlike the rest of creation, we are capable of
a personal relationship with God. Not only did God create us, but created
us according to a plan devised from all eternity. No matter how far back we go
in our imagination, there was never a time when God did not know each of us, in
every detail of our being. There was not a particular time when God decided to
make us. The decision to make us has been in the mind of God from all
eternity. He decided to make us for as long as He has been God. All our
days were written in His book. To dare to say that a human being, developing in
the womb, should not be born is as wrong as to say that a born person should not
continue to grow and live. In each case, an attack on human life is an attack on
the God who formed and made us. Jesus Christ is the great “Yes” to the promises
of God; abortion is the great “No.”
To assert that the unborn are not human is to
ignore indisputable evidence and is a classic manifestation of the oppression
and exploitation of people. When people challenge us to prove that the
unborn are human, they should be challenged, in turn, to prove that they are
human! All the scientific evidence that proves born persons are human also
proves the unborn to be human.
Lord, I pray today for every unborn child. The
beauty of the bodies and souls of these children flows from your hands and your
eternal plan. Awaken in every human conscience a profound reverence for human
life, and grant us grace to defend our smallest and most defenseless brothers
and sisters, those still being formed in the secret places of their mothers’
Fr. Frank Pavone
Chapter 2: We Are Made in His image
Then God said, ”Let Us make
man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the
fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the
earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth..” So God created
man in His own image; in the image of God He created them.
All human beings have worth
That all human beings are made in the image of
God is the basis of human dignity and of human rights. The unborn cannot speak
for themselves. Our text teaches that the Lord would have us speak and act on
their behalf for to do so is one of the important ways in which we exercise the
dominion God has given us over the earth and all the living things upon it,
including our fellow human beings, including the unborn. This responsibility is
given as a command, and calls for obedience and faithfulness. It is a truth not
merely to be accepted and believed, but to be put into practice.
From the earliest days of the Christian Church
the unborn child was considered a neighbor; made in the image of God and worthy
of the respect and compassion we owe all neighbors. Thomas Jefferson drew on
this truth in the Declaration of Independence affirming, “all men are created
equal.” More recently, in his Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II upheld this
fundamental affirmation of human dignity. Until all human beings, and the
unborn in particular, are recognized as being made in God's image, the struggle
for universal human rights will go on.
To de-legitimize abortion and to elevate the
unborn into full acceptance among the human family will be a long and arduous
struggle, not unlike the struggle against slavery and racism. As Christians, we
are committed for as long as the struggle may take. It is a matter of
truth; for the dignity of the unborn, and of every other human being regardless
of race or condition, is apparent to anyone with eyes to see.
O Lord, open the eyes of the blind to the
reality and the worth of the unborn. Give to your faithful people the courage
and wisdom to endure in this ongoing struggle to bring them fully into the
acceptance of the whole human family. We pray this in the name of Christ
our Lord. Amen.
Rev. John Brown
Surely for your lifeblood I
will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and
from the hand of man. From the hand of every man's brother I will require the
life of man. Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in
the image of God He made man.
God values every human life so highly that
those who take a life unjustly shall forfeit their own
The value of every human being can hardly be
seen more clearly than with this verse. God, the King of the universe, has
created all human beings in his image, and declares forthrightly that the
unjustified shedding of the blood of any individual will require the blood of
the one who shed it. God's concern for human beings is not limited to any
particular group. Indeed, his concern is universal, and includes male and
female, young and old, born and unborn, disabled and able-bodied, the citizens
of every nation on earth.
Abortion, the deliberate killing of the
unborn, is the shedding of innocent blood. Surely the blood of millions upon
millions of innocent children cries out to God. It is true that we live in
an age of grace, and yet this passage (among many other texts which express
similar sentiments) should give every thinking Christian pause.
Christians, of all people, entrusted with the
Word of God as we are, must take a stand. We must speak out. We must
do all that we can to protect the innocent, to pursue justice, and to encourage
the repentance of all those who bear responsibility for this great evil.
Only in this manner can we hope to forestall the judgment that must otherwise
This passage should also be seen as an
encouragement to educate and disciple our children and grandchildren about what
it means to be human, and the responsibility that will become theirs in this
O Father, forgive us for our lack of courage
and our want of compassion for the unborn and for those lost and hurt by
abortion. Fill us anew with your Spirit. Renew our minds. Strengthen us in
righteousness. Help us be people of salt and light within our nation. May every
human being, from conception to natural death, be treated with the respect due
those made in your image. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Rev. John Brown
Chapter 3: Our Life Is Given by God
In the beginning was the
Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning
with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made
that was made.
Divine life, in relationship, creates human
“In the beginning" was God. Always,
before all times, there was God. This particular God -- the God of the Bible,
the God of St. John’s Gospel -- is different from all other gods. This God is
alive and full of life. This God is not the picture of deadness and death,
aloneness and isolation. This God is the picture of life, relationship, and
unity. For within this God, within this one God, there are three divine persons
who live, who love, and who work -- together. This is the glorious mystery of
the Trinity. The Trinity means divine life. The Trinity means three, living
Persons -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- who relate to each other. The Trinity
means mutual love and service among three Persons.
The Word was always with God the Father. This
Word was, is, and will be the Trinity’s second person. The Word is also the Son
of God or, as revealed in time, Jesus Christ. God the Father and God the Son
were never, and are not, self-concerned and self-absorbed Persons. Rather, they
live, love, and work for each other. As one, they create "all things" together:
the Father creates all things, including all human life, through the Son.
So the Father, through the Son, creates all
lives, all human lives, all people. The little one swimming in his mother’s
womb, the infant smiling in his father’s arms, the child crying in pain in a
hospital bed, the energetic teen running another mile, the old man gasping for
his last breath -- all were created, at their beginning, by the Father through
the Son. No exceptions. Divine life creates human life.
O God, may we always be quick to call you
Father. And when we call you father, help us to remember that, because of your
creating love, we are your children. Also, when we call you Father, let your
Spirit remind us that all people, from their beginning to their last day, are
your children as well. We praise you, Father, that you sent your Son to reveal
to the world that all people are His brothers and sisters, that all people are
your children. Through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
Rev. Paul Stallsworth
Remember your Creator before
the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher
shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well. Then the dust will
return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
At death, the spirit of man returns to the
giver of life
God is giver of life, human life, all human
lives. Short lived or long lived, human lives are lived out in this world.
Sooner or later, all people will reach their end. The knock of death is
inevitable. All will die. The metaphors for death, even in the above passage
from the Old Testament -- the silver cord loosed, the golden bowl broken, the
pitcher shattered, the wheel broken, the dust returning to the earth -- are
many. But their meaning is clear and singular: all will die. Even so, death is
not the absolute end. It is not the end of the story. For life, at its best,
does not end in a dark nothingness. We are not forced into existentialism with
its crippling angst.
For as certainly as God gave life, at death
the life or spirit that God gave returns to God. The Church, thanks to the
ancient Greeks and Hebrews, believes that the departed’s return to God is in two
movements. First, the soul of the departed goes to be with God. Then, in God’s
perfect time, the soul of the departed will be reunited with the resurrected
body of the departed for eternity.
These truths of the Christian faith cover the
end story of our earthly lives. By God, we are created. For God, we live
our given days. To God, we return at the end of our earthly days. And with God,
we live through eternity. Clearly, all along the way, this gracious, loving God
is with us. No human life is random or alone. No human life was created without
purpose. Not one human life is without destiny. All human lives, acknowledged or
not, are related to God -- from beginning, to end, throughout eternity.
Therefore, in this world, all human lives are to be respected and protected, for
their lives are signs of God’s sovereignty.
O God, we too often try to live in ways that
ignore our coming death. We forget that our days are numbered by you, that at
the end of our days your judgment awaits, that You are the Lord of our destiny.
Help us to repent daily, and then to live each day in joyful obedience. Lead us
to live in the light and promise of eternity. Prepare us to live fully and
sacrificially. Prepare us to die faithfully and hopefully, so that we might live
forever with you. Through Jesus Christ, who has gone before us, we trust and
hope and love and pray. Amen.
Rev. Paul Stallsworth
Who among all these does not
know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in His hand is the life of every
creature and the breath of all mankind
We live because God wills it so
Job was a man acquainted with grief, trials
and tribulation. He had everything taken from him, including his family. He
endured sickness, ridicule and judgment from his friends. Everyone gave him
advice about his situation, questioning his spirituality and his God.
Job’s circumstances were bad, yet he never loses faith. Why? Because of
what he states, “the hand of the Lord has made all life.” He knows God
created him and he knows his life has meaning and purpose, regardless of the
In our present culture, we’ve lost that basic
truth; every life, mine, yours, Job’s – every life is given, made and allowed to
live by God’s sovereign authority. As people who pride ourselves on our
independence, we have a hard time acknowledging that we are all dependent upon
God for our life. From our creation, when we were knit together in our mother’s
womb, to the last breath we breathe, God’s word is clear that “in His hand is
the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”
It’s time for us as individuals, and as a
society, to recognize that we exist by God’s grace and turn back to Him,
honoring His word and His teachings. Why? Because our world is full of
Jobs, people who are dealing with trials and tribulations and hurting
desperately. Job’s response should be ours as well. Regardless of
what we face (even an unplanned pregnancy) God in His wisdom and mercy will
redeem it. How do I know? I read the end of the book! Job’s story
has a happy ending. Job’s friends who doubted God’s sovereignty cry out to God
asking for help! God instructs Job to pray for his friends and after he does,
God restores all that Job had lost. In other words, because Job never lost faith
and knew and trusted His Creator, the Lord blessed Job.
Thank you Father God for being the Creator of
my life and every life. Please give me, and the society in which I live, an
appreciation for your gift of life. Please help us set aside our pride and
acknowledge that we need you. Show me how I can honor you today in response to
all the blessings you bestow so freely. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Mrs. Georgette Forney
These all wait for you, that
you may give them their food in due season, what you give them they gather in;
you open your hand they are filled with good. You hide your face, they are
troubled; you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
You send forth your Spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the
“I am a feather on the breath of God”
As the quote above portrays, we are upheld by
the power and purpose of God. Our very existence on earth (from our body’s first
breath to its last when we leave to return home) is our Father’s choice and
happens only by His willing it so. He who created the universe also
created that which is “me.” I do not “have” a soul – I AM a soul. My
entire purpose in this life, while I inhabit this body, is to find my way back
to my Creator.
Beloved Father, remind us today that there is
no truth but you. Do not let us fall prey to the evil one’s lie that we
may choose death. Remind us right now that you who created all life are in
control of all life, and let us choose life always. Father, please let us hear
your voice more today than yesterday – keep lighting the pathway home. Father -
we’re on our way. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.
Ms. Vera Faith Lord
Chapter 4: God’s Care and Concern for
When I consider Your
heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have
ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You
visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You
have crowned him with glory and honor.
It seems that every moment of our daily life
is so crowded with responsibility that we rarely take much time to consider
anything of worth that may be going on around us
How many times have we heard the phrase, “Stop
and smell the roses”? Yet, how many times have we ignored that cliché and
instead submitted to the all too “urgent” task at hand? Is it this
tendency that keeps us, at least in part, from acknowledging that God’s care for
His sacred creation is paramount in His own mind?
The Psalmist gives us a hint at something
worth considering. He shares his thoughts concerning God’s handiwork: the
heavens, the work of his “fingers,” and then points to God’s masterpiece – human
life. He declares to us that God is mindful of us, or to put it another
way, God keeps His masterpiece in His thoughts.
Here is the point: God, the creator of the
awe-inspiring heavens, is not distracted by the tasks before Him. He is
not pulled away, as we might be, by thoughts of something “more important.”
Despite all that goes on in the universe, we are given the wonderful news that
God is paying attention to and attending His crowning glory, His masterpiece of
creation, which cannot be duplicated or replaced, which surpasses the beauty of
all other created things – the human being.
There is no way to adequately describe how God
feels about us as human beings. There are no words to fully portray His
love, compassion, or desire to be in communion with us. Perhaps the
closest we can come is to contemplate the thoughts of a mother as she gazes for
the first time at her newborn child. God cares for life. We, as His
followers, should take time to consider the life He has created and which he has
called us to love and protect.
Lord, you are the creator of all things.
Guide my thoughts to consider your creation in all of its majesty, beauty and
holiness. Guide my heart especially to your creation of precious human
life. Help me to comprehend how essential life is in your own heart.
Teach me to appreciate, love and protect all human life through your Son, Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.
Fr. Terry Gensemer
The Spirit of the LORD is
upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has
sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and
recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.
Who has God intended to be the recipients of
This passage is a very familiar one. It
has been preached upon on many occasions, even made popular in books and songs.
Though the quote is about Jesus, all Christians take this commission seriously
as a directive as to how to reach the world with the gospel. We, like our
Savior, are to bring the good news to the poor, the broken hearted, those in
captivity, those who cannot see, and the oppressed.
The commission given to us in this passage is
clearly a charge to care for those for whom God cares the most. I wonder though,
whom do we look for to be touched by the Holy Spirit as we go out into the
world? Who are the poor, if not those unborn children who have been
abandoned by their parents before they ever leave the womb? Who are the
broken hearted, if not those unborn children whose only example of love is
having their mother take them to an abortion clinic to be destroyed, or the
mother of a child who has been deceived by everyone around her into believing
that what she is doing is best for her and her child? Who are the
captives, if not those unborn children who are bound over to death by the
“choice” of abortion? Who is more blind than an unborn child in the
darkness of a womb that has become a waiting room for their death? And who
is more oppressed than those unborn children whose oppression has been
legitimized by their government, their church and even their family and loved
Lord, you empower us with your Spirit to do
your will in the earth. Send us to the poorest, the most broken, the
most captive, the most blind and the most oppressed of the world, the innocent
pre-born children in their mother’s wombs that are scheduled for destruction.
Help us to bring them healing, liberty, sight and justice through Jesus Christ
our Lord, Amen.
Fr. Terry Gensemer
Therefore I tell you, do not
worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you
will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important
than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store
away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more
valuable than they?
God provides, therefore we must protect
It seems that everyone these days is on one of
those designer diets. What about a diet of heavenly food? Billions of dollars
are spent each year on diet plans in order to shed those hard to lose pounds, to
look younger, or feel better. It seems that Americans are deeply worried
about their health, their weight, and how they look. But Jesus tells us to
stop worrying so much about our bodies, trusting, rather, in God’s care for our
What would happen if the people who had
started on a low-carb diet this year had instead gone on a diet of heavenly
food? For non-believers that diet would include trusting in Christ for their
salvation, and for believers it would include a renewed prayer life, a new Bible
study, or even a spiritual fast during Advent or Lent. The kind of diet I am
suggesting doesn’t include giving up on certain kinds of foods. What this
diet includes is giving up on anxiety by resting in the loving arms of Christ,
trusting that He will provide. Such a spiritual diet frees us from our worries
and allows us to freely praise Him and serve others. “Therefore I tell
you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your
body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body
more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or
reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you
not much more valuable than they?”
This promised provision teaches us the
inestimable worth of our lives. We are to be persuaded that He will not
allow us to go without. This intimate knowledge and care for human life on
the part of our gracious God is what motivates us to trust him for our own lives
and seek for the preservation of all human life no matter what needs they may
Loving heavenly Father, help us to see the
worth of all human beings by the way in which you provide for us. We would ask
that you provide also the faith, grace and courage to enable us to protect that
which is so precious to you. Through Christ our Lord, amen.
Mr. Dennis DiMauro
But the LORD said “You have
had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which
came up in the night and perished in the night. And should I not pity Nineveh,
that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand
persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left- and much
livestock? Should I not be concerned about that great city?”
Could God love my enemy as much as He loves
God doesn’t value people and things like we
do. Jonah loved a shade tree more than an entire city of sinful people. We
love our dogs more than a terrorist. We love our cars more than a beggar on the
side of the road. And sometimes, we love our money more than a child
growing in a desperate teenager’s womb.
But God isn’t like us. Genesis 1 tells us that
humans were the capstone of God's creation. We were created on the sixth day
after God had completed the land, the stars, the plants and the animals.
Therefore, His love for us is greater than His love for a plant, an animal, or
any other created thing. And the book of Jonah tells us that He loves even the
most sinful of people and seeks to bring them into His merciful arms. It’s a
love that seeks to touch all of his created children: that desperate teenager,
the baby growing in her womb, even tyrants and terrorists. So it’s up to
us to imitate God's merciful love by helping and praying for those who persecute
us, and those who don’t love us back.
Gracious God, loving our enemies seems like
one of most difficult things you could ask of us. Please remind us that this is
how you love and that if you ask it of us then you will give us the grace to do
it. This we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Mr. Dennis DiMauro
A father of the fatherless,
a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation.
A Father of the fatherless and . . . fathers
I had a friend many years ago who confided in
me that he was terrified of being a father. He and his wife already had two
children when this revelation came forth. “I never knew my father,” he
explained, “and I have no idea what a father is supposed to do.” We continued to
share about this, as well as pray together. He began to see he had a father’s
heart for his children. His biggest problem was not a limitation on love but not
knowing how to act out this love.
One day we talked about the verse quoted at
the top of this page. I shared that he did know his Father… not his biological
father but his Heavenly Father, who had rescued him from a life of destruction
not many years before. “How did your Heavenly Father guide you?” I asked. He
talked about the ways he had seen God’s love offered to him and the way the Lord
had used circumstances and the Scriptures to mold him and mature him. “Well, the
Lord wants to do the same thing through you for your children. Be available to
His love and available to your kids. You’ll do fine.”
How wonderful it is to know that God takes a
personal interest in each of us, many times using His faithful people – the
Church – as channels of this love. No one is fatherless who lives in the Lord.
His fatherly care begins at the moment of our conception, as it is written, “you
knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:12), and continues to be poured
upon us throughout our lives.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for caring about
each of us so deeply. Help us to see and know you as our Father in heaven each
and every day of our lives. Your loving hand also rests on every child today
carried in its mother’s womb. May they be born into this world and come to know
fully and personally your endless love. We ask this through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.
Archbishop Randolph Sly
Chapter 5: Life in the Womb - The
Luke 1: 30-33
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will
conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He
will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will
give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of
Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
“God has assumed Humanity, joining it with
Divinity, and kindled in men’s hearts new love of me.”
These words were written by a Roman poet in
the Fourth Century. He spent his life finding ways to express the greatest
mystery of the world: the Incarnation, in which God became man. Often the
womb has been referred to as the “first home of the whole human race.” It
is the place where life begins, where our stories start. In the womb the
great men and women of history began their magnificent march through life.
In the womb John the Baptist leaped for joy, his first prophetic act in the
presence of the Son of Man. In the womb Divinity met humanity, and God the Son
was born into the world. As one of the Fathers of the early church, St. Leo the
Great, declared, “Within her spotless womb Wisdom built itself a house and the
Word became flesh . . .”
Recently, I was at the hospital for the birth
of my fourth grandchild. Looking through the nursery window at the rows of newly
born babies, I began to think of the great stories that would be written about
these tiny lives just now coming forth. During his visitation with the Virgin
Mary, the angel prophesied to Mary about the life of her child. Here in this
hospital, I pondered, what would he say about each of these? Would they
meet the One who also came from His mother’s womb to redeem the world and kindle
our hearts afresh for God? I thanked God for each baby alive and prayed for each
story yet to be written.
Heavenly Father, you have made the womb of
each woman a very special place. Help us to hold fast to the sanctity of this
first home of humanity, remembering the wonderful mystery, that God inhabited
the womb of a young woman and came forth as the savior and deliverer of the
world. We ask this in the Name of the one who came forth, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Archbishop Randolph Sly
And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten
of the Father, full of grace and truth.
We serve a living God
The Word of God came to us in human form in
Jesus Christ. Every time I contemplate this fact I get chills! And I
think it is something that we, as Christians, tend to gloss over. I can
only imagine how the first disciples felt when they were looking into the eyes
of the one and only Almighty God who created them.
The first disciples developed a close
relationship with Him as they daily walked and talked with Him. They ate
with Him, prayed with Him and rested when He rested. As they listened to
the Word of God, who was and is Jesus…they believed and “beheld His glory.”
This is something we can still do today
because we serve a living God. Remember, Jesus died on the cross, but rose
from the dead in victory! Jesus is every bit as real and alive for
all of us as He was to the first disciples. He wants us to develop a close
relationship with Him in the very same way. Jesus wants us to know
Him personally. He wants us to walk with Him and talk with Him on a daily basis.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for your
love and saving grace in Christ Jesus. Help us to realize every day the
great blessing we have in our Savior. I pray that we will rise every morning
with excitement and zeal, looking forward to walking another day in your
footsteps fully knowing that you continue to dwell among us. Amen.
Ms. Day Gardner
Let this mind be in you
which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God did not consider it
robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form
of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found
in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of
death, even the death of the cross.
There is no limit to what we can accomplish
when we don’t care who gets the credit
Jesus Christ’s life on earth exemplifies a
total submission to the will of the Father. His humility,
compassion, gentleness and thoughtfulness are reflected over and over again in
the New Testament. He was God incarnate, yet He chose to be born to a
humble, working class home. How absurd it must have seemed to the rich and
powerful that the Son of God, the Messiah, the one foretold by the prophets, the
‘King of the Jews,’ was born and raised as a simple peasant.
During His thirty-three years on earth, He
sought no riches, claimed no secular power and gathered no possessions.
Yet, His short time on earth changed more lives, softened more hearts, and gave
hope to more people, than all the rich and powerful human ‘kings’ combined.
And, at the end of His life on earth, by dying on the cross, He opened the door
to eternal life for those who heed his words and follow in his footsteps.
O Lord, help us follow in the footsteps of
Jesus. Let us humbly and diligently work to restore legal protection for
the unborn, the disabled, the medically dependent, and all innocent children of
God whose lives are threatened. Let us remember the old adage that ‘He can
never lead who has not first learned to obey’ And, Lord, grant us a peaceful
heart as we labor in your name. Amen.
Mr. Ernest Ohlhoff
Chapter 6: Life in the Womb- Known by
Your eyes saw my substance,
being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned
for me, When as yet there were none of them.
As creatures, we are completely dependent upon
Society uses the word “reproduction” for the
process of having children. Eliminate the prefix and you are left with the word
“production.” This encourages us to think of children as “products” that
we can create, or dispose of, at will. This stubborn attempt to live independent
of our Creator only repeats Adam and Eve’s sin of pride; sin, which leads
only to death, destruction and separation from God.
Thankfully, God, too, is blessedly stubborn.
He orchestrated an amazing gesture to show us how precious we really are.
In today’s scripture we glimpse into our loving creator’s mind. We see
that our lives are not “products” from an assembly line, but individual designs
that have been personally created and redeemed.
His plan of redemption took a human shape the
moment He conceived Jesus as an embryo in the womb of Mary. God’s Son took
on flesh and bones – a human body. God’s love now has a face. A face
that grew up as a man and stubbornly walked directly to the cross for our sins.
As creatures, we are completely dependent upon
our Creator who gives and sustains all earthly life. This same God -- who
personally created man in Eden -- is still deliberately at work creating and
restoring life today.
Dear Father, thank you for creating me, and
all creatures, and for your divine plan to redeem your children. Please
make me mindful of your stubborn love for me as I look to the death and
resurrection of Jesus for my complete salvation. In the name of Christ, amen.
Ms. Maggie Karner
Then the word of the LORD
came to me, saying: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were
born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
To be or not to be? There is no question!
The question of “being” is something
philosophers have long pondered. What is the meaning of being and what is the
source? In the passage before us, we have our answer. We have being because we
are known by God.
For God to declare that he knows and sets
apart the prophet Jeremiah even before he is conceived indicates that our being
rests in God’s own being. Because He is and because He wills, we are and do. The
Apostle Paul says as much when he declares before the philosophers of his day,
“In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
One of the tragedies of the abortion culture
is that life in the womb has been so heartbreakingly devalued. To embrace the
arguments of the “pro-choice” crowd one must conclude that the child in the womb
doesn’t exist, isn’t there, has no being. But nothing could be further from the
truth. That child is known by God and, as such, has being.
Lord God, we confess that in You we live and
move and have our being. Because You are, we are. May we find grace from You to
affirm the being of every human and may we labor to make this truth known to the
world around us. Amen.
Rev. J. Kirk van der Swaagh
Your eyes saw my substance,
being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned
for me, when as yet there were none of them."
Human beings -- God’s tapestries
Psalm 139 is a psalm that reveals the enormity
and otherness of God. His divine attributes are on display: omniscience (2-4),
omnipresence (7-12), loving-kindness (17-18), justice (19-20), righteousness
(23-24), and omnipotence. Yet, when it came to express this last attribute, what
example did the psalmist use – God’s creation of mountains, seas, or far-flung
galaxies? No, he used none of these. To express the wonder of God’s unparalleled
creative power the writer mentions the fashioning of the human in the womb
The Hebrew word used to express God’s forming
of us in the womb, raqam, is the same term for needlework or embroidery. In
other words, we are a tapestry that displays God’s artistic mastery. And, like
the artist who knows his creation down to the last detail, God intimately knows
us. This reality provokes the writer to awe and wonder. He proclaims, “I am
fearfully and wonderfully made.”
What is true for this psalmist is true for
every human being. Each is fashioned by God and known by him and we can proclaim
on behalf of each, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Gracious God, help us to appreciate the wonder
and beauty of Your creation. Help us proclaim on behalf of every one of our
fellow human beings, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” May the knowledge
that we are intimately known by You shape our lives and actions. Amen.
Rev. J. Kirk van der Swaagh
Chapter 7: Life in the Womb - Vital and
Luke 1: 41-44
And it happened, when
Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary that the babe leaped in her womb; and
Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice
and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For
indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe
leaped in my womb for joy.
Jesus not only loves unborn children -- He was
Think about this for a moment.
We often hear people speak of a pregnant
mother by saying, “She’s expecting a child..” Now if one is expecting a package,
the package is not yet there. As reflected in our verse for today, however, this
is not the case with the mother. Her gift is already there. The pregnant
woman, a mother already, does not have a child “on the way,” but has a child,
already present and in full possession of his or her human rights, starting with
the right to life.
Jesus, open my eyes to your presence in the
life of every child. Open my heart to joy in the birth of every child, a birth
that reflects the joy of your own birth in Bethlehem. As you shared life in the
womb of Mary, so now send your protection upon every child still in the womb,
and grant to their mothers the strength and joy that comes from welcoming the
gift of life.
Fr. Frank Pavone
Isaac prayed to the Lord for
his wife because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer and Rebekah his
wife conceived. The children struggled together within her, and she said,”
If it is thus, why do I live?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.
And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples, born
of you, shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder
shall serve the younger.
What an answer to prayer!
Who dares to say that the unborn are not
human, with distinct personality and character right from the moment of
conception? This account emphasizes the vitality and uniqueness of the
twins who, because of Isaac’s prayer for his wife, were conceived in Rebekah’s
When Rebekah was told by the Lord that the
older would serve the younger twin, God already knew that Jacob and Esau would
lead turbulent and conflicted lives. God knows each one of us and knows
all about us, including our personality and disposition long before we are
actually born, indeed, from the moment we are conceived in our mother’s womb.
What a tragedy of gargantuan proportions that babies, planned and endowed by the
Creator, with distinct and unique personalities and with, perhaps, a future and
destiny intended for greatness, have their lives snuffed out by cruel
abortionists before they ever see the light of day! May our prayers that
the dreadful scourge of abortion may vanish from our land be as fervent as
Isaac’s were for Rebekah.ß
O, God, you formed us in our mother’s womb and
planned a unique and special life and purpose for each of us, and we do thank
you. Grant that we may pray and work for an end to abortion so that no
unborn baby you have made may fail to achieve your divine intention for him or
her because of intentional abortion. We pray this for the sake of your
Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Rev. Ben Sheldon
Chapter 8: Children are a Blessing from
God created man in His own
image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.
And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue
it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and
over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
God’s intention is that we multiply and fill
One of the most pernicious lies that
sociologists have foisted upon the public is that the earth is becoming
overpopulated. What kind of a sadistic god would create the earth and
human creatures on it, only to have them literally reproduce themselves into
oblivion? The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our divine
Creator, has commanded us to multiply and fill the earth and far from letting
the population get out of control, He has, in fact given his human creatures a
dominical role over all the lesser creatures. The “birth control”
movement, which had its beginnings with Margaret Sanger in the early years of
the last century, has led, in many parts of the world, to a birthrate that is
drastically below the normal replacement rate.
God’s Word assures us that children are a
blessing, that they are a reward of faithfully trusting and serving God and that
they are the crown of their parents’ old age. The spread of the
contraception mentality that has so permeated our culture is, undoubtedly, a
factor in the ready acceptance of abortion. God’s commandment to multiply
and fill the earth has never been withdrawn. May He help us to accept the
gift of children and give him thanks for every baby who is born into the world.
Father of mercy and grace, we thank you for
the gift of our children. Grant that every fiber of our being may rejoice
when a new baby, our own or anyone else’s, is born into the world. Help us to
welcome them as we would welcome you, for whenever a new baby is conceived,
another life to bear your image and another voice to praise and worship you, is
beginning. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Rev. Ben Sheldon
Behold, children are a
heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the
hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man
who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with
their enemies in the gate.
God’s heritage entrusted to us
I still vividly remember the day my first
child was born. As she came into the world I gazed upon the most beautiful
little baby I’d ever seen. Later, I was driving home from the hospital for a
shower and a fresh change of clothes when a song came on the radio, “The Men in
My Little Girl’s Life.”.” For those who don’t remember, this is Mike Douglas’
ballad about being a father as he watches his daughter grow through childhood to
womanhood. I wept as I listened, knowing those years would go by very fast… and
Because I am a father, whenever I read the
Psalm quoted above I’m always captivated by one word – “heritage.” It basically
means “something passed down from a preceding generation.” That little girl I
watched being born and wept for is not mine to give to God like a product of our
fertility, but rather His, which he has entrusted to us. So are all her
siblings. My wife and I share a great treasure: precious lives, which are placed
in our lineage that His life with us might be perpetuated. To the psalmist, this
was a blessing from the Lawgiver, God Himself, who blessed Israel with another
generation intended to continue their covenantal promise. For us in Christ, it
is his gift of succeeding generations for His Church and her families.
These days I’m looking upon my grandchildren
and rejoicing that my children and their spouses will pass on the greatness of
Christ’s gospel to them and thus will continue the work of God in the world.
What a blessing. What a heritage!
Heavenly Father, please keep me from taking
for granted the gift of children, mine and those of other families. Help us to
remember this heritage that you have given us. Make us faithful stewards of
these precious lives, that each generation might be raised in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Archbishop Randolph Sly
Children’s children are the
crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father.
“A chip off the old block”
One day my grandson, Alex, corrected one of
his friends who had referred to me as a grandfather. “He is not,” Alex
responded, “he’s papaw!” He understands that we have a special relationship, and
with that I carry a special title. “Nana” and “Papaw” were chosen years ago and
have stayed with us ever since.
While I resist the idea of being classified an
“old man,” I’m supremely blessed to have such a crown as Alex, along with his
brothers and cousins. Wherever I go, I don’t show pictures of my ministry but my
grandchildren. Whatever impact I have made in the world, these precious little
lives eclipse it all. Why is that? Surely I have a special love for them and a
unique connection; they are bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. But is there
Perhaps part of the answer to that little
question lies in the second half of the proverb: “the glory of the children is
their father.” The word “glory” can also be translated “beauty” or “jewel.” In
other words, my grandchildren wear an adornment as well – it is the imprint of
their father’s (which implies both parents) life on theirs. They are, as the
cliché goes, “a chip off the old block.” Part of my reward as a parent is seeing
the way that those we have raised pass on their values, principles, and
particularly their Christian faith, to their offspring. There is a true crown!
My wife and I are able to witness a continuity of the relationship with the Lord
Jesus Christ through which we have lived our lives and which we desired our
children to embrace. Those same principles are being imparted again to a
Heavenly Father, you have given us the gift of
children and grandchildren. They are truly a joy and a crown. Cause our hearts
to shine with delight as we see your hand upon the coming generations. Help us
to focus our lives and labor on sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with each
child that comes within the reach of our embrace and as they are raised for such
a time as this. We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Archbishop Randolph Sly
Chapter 9: Respect and Care for the
Honor your father and your
mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is
Extended care will extend your days
The Fifth Commandment comes with the promise
of extended days here on earth. It is the first of the Ten with a promise
What then shall we do to receive this reward?
The commandment (not a suggestion) tells us to always remember to give high
regard and respect to your mother and father.
Normally, it is when we start raising our own
family that we truly begin to appreciate our parent’s sacrificial service. The
old saying about “walking a mile in their shoes” is an understatement. It
doesn’t take a mile to recognize how their devotion to family wasn’t easy.
It’s in the latter years of our first mentor’s
lives that your respect and honor will be the greatest gift you can offer. No
one feels revered when they have been discarded and made to feel useless. Our
honorable mention and commendation for their meticulous care during the days of
our youth not only fulfills the command, but also expresses our love and
gratitude to those who most certainly deserve it.
Let us remember the Fifth Commandment so we
won’t have to “plead the fifth” when asked of our stewardship towards our
Father, we thank you for the priceless
contribution our parents have made into our lives. Now, in the season when we
can reciprocate their faithfulness and love, let us not be found negligent.
May we show our thanks not in word only but with deeds that will make them to
feel honored and loved continually. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Rev. Clenard Childress
Now in those days, when the
number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the
Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily
More folks learning, left some yearning
It is the dawning of a new day. There is much
excitement in Jerusalem. Many who dedicated themselves to the faith became
disciples (the word disciple means “learner”). The unprecedented church growth
was miraculous and undoubtedly brought much satisfaction to the new leadership.
The apostles, however, were about to experience growing pains in their master
plan of evangelism.
Projects that engage the community, especially
those that are evangelistic in nature, are high on the list of priorities for
every duty bound pastor. Church attendance is a constant concern for every
pastor and often his or her worth is measured by it. Unfortunately, just as the
original twelve pastors in Acts, they can be so focused on getting people in
that they inadvertently end up pushing some people out.
Murmuring is a deplorable deterrent to a
harmonious fellowship, yet God used it to get the disciples attention. Those
that needed daily attention due to their age and social status were being
neglected. This neglect of the Hellenist widows during the daily distribution of
food was causing undue grief and needed to be corrected by the leadership. By
God’s grace the problem was dealt with, but the lesson remains.
Today’s church should be careful to not make
the same mistake: forgetting the contributions of our seniors.
Father, in the Church’s desire to engage our
communities with the gospel let her not disengage from those who need their care
and company the most. Let us gain wisdom from those who have gone before us and
cherish their experiences and perspectives. Help us to appreciate every soul in
the body of Christ and minister properly to everybody. Amen.
Rev. Clenard Childress
Day 10: The Obligation to Care for Our
Fellow Human Beings
Now Cain talked with Abel
his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up
against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is
Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” And He
said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me
from the ground.”
“Methinks he doth protest too much . . .”
The Bible is filled with passages that speak
to our obligation to care for our fellow human beings. From the many commands in
the Books of Moses enjoining love of family, neighbors and even strangers, to
Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, the injunction to care for others is
In this account, the guilt-stricken Cain tries
to shrug off his obligation to his own kin by dismissing it as an unreasonable
duty. A la Shakespeare, though, “methinks he doth protest too much.” Cain’s
objection doesn’t stem from his sense of proper boundaries of responsibility,
but from his own self-centered sense of self-preservation.
Christ said, “Greater love has no one than
this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). This is the
standard of divine love. It required God to sacrifice what was most precious to
Him for the temporal and eternal well being of all humankind (see John 3:16).
Though on a much-reduced scale, he expects us to do the same.
Trying to duck our obligation to others is
futile. We can’t get away with simply dismissing others, especially the most
vulnerable among us: the pre-born, the disabled, the sick and the aged. As with
Cain, God sees and hears their suffering and will call us to account for what we
do - or do not do - for them.
Father, help us to embrace the fact that we
are our “brother’s keeper.” When, due to selfish motives, we try to cast off
this responsibility, please call to us to account. We would be pleasing to you
and to our “brother.” Through the help and grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus
Rev. Rob Schenck
"If I have despised the
cause of my male or female servant When they complained against me, What then
shall I do when God rises up? When He punishes, how shall I answer Him? Did not
He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the
The ground is level as we stand before God
Job lived with an awe provoking sense of God’s
expectation of him, particularly regarding his obligation to care for the weak
and needy. He knew that in God’s economy everyone stands on level ground when it
comes to our status as God’s creatures. Because of that central truth, we must
take care of each other.
Job also knew that he didn’t deserve any of
the good things God gave to him. Instead, those blessings came to Job from God’s
benevolent heart. As an extension of that knowledge, Job instinctively linked
his obligation to be generous to others to God’s kindness toward him.
As in Jesus’ parable of the unmerciful servant
(Matthew 18:23-35), Job knew that it is an egregious sin to deny to others what
we enjoy ourselves. He actually calls down on his own head severe condemnation
and even punishment should he fail to share with others out of his own abundance
(see verses 16-23).
Proverbs 3:27 reads, “Withhold not good from
them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.” Some
things are so obvious that we don’t even need to pray except to ask of God
forgiveness and the power to do what so obviously needs doing.
God, forgive us when we try to explain away
the obligation we have to help others who need help. Enable us to not devalue
them because they are in the circumstance that they are in, but to see them for
what they are, those, who like us, were formed by your hand in their mother’s
Rev. Rob Schenck
Isaiah 1:16, 17
"Wash yourselves, make
yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to
do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the
fatherless, Plead for the widow."
God is just
Inscribed around the inside of the Jefferson
Memorial in Washington, DC, are the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson: “I
tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.” If the deist,
Jefferson, knew in the depths of his being that God is just, how much more ought
we Christians to reflect on this profound truth? The justice of God, like
his holiness and his purity, encourages us to seek justice for all people.
It is the evil deeds and wrong, selfish attitudes of our modern society that
have led to the cavalier acceptance of abortion and euthanasia. But, as
Jefferson also said, “his justice will not sleep forever.”
God is calling us today to seek justice, to
encourage the oppressed, and to defend the orphans and widows of our society.
It is a noble calling! It is one which every true believer, every
God-fearing man and woman, should heed with no hesitation and no reluctance.
To follow the God of justice and truth is to stand unequivocally for the right
to life of everyone, especially the unborn, the physically disabled, and the
terminally ill. God’s word through the prophet Isaiah is as relevant in today’s
21st century world as it was in Isaiah’s 8th century BC world. May God’s
grace help us to defend the unborn’s right to life as well as that of the
O God, our heavenly Father, give us courage
and wisdom as we seek to eradicate the evil in our society. Help us to
realize that your divine Spirit alone can change hearts and minds so that all
your human creatures may enjoy the fullness of life you intended for them.
I pray this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen
Rev. Ben Sheldon
The King will answer and say
to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of
these my brethren, you did it to me.”
Caring for others is not optional
Jesus’ picture of the final judgment concludes
with this sobering word: the wicked, who failed to care for others in
their various needs (e.g., the hungry, the thirsty, the aliens, the naked, the
sick, the imprisoned) will go away into everlasting punishment, but the
righteous who did seek to meet those needs will end up with him, enjoying
eternal life. We know that this was no parable! Jesus has given us
fair warning! Everything in God’s Word points to the truth that
compassionate concern and practical care for all people, especially for the
poor, the destitute, the weak and needy is required of us, if indeed we hope to
escape the punishment of the fire of hell.
And who are the poor and needy, if not
helpless, unborn babies, as well as the aged and infirm at the other end of
life? Surely the “least of these” embraces not only those at both ends of
the continuum of life, but all others in between. Just how we, as Christ’s
true followers, respond to his admonition “inasmuch as you did it to the least
of these, you did it to me” will determine whether we enjoy eternal bliss in his
presence or the bleak and dreadful reality of eternal punishment in hell.
Nothing in God’ s Word could be clearer!
Gracious and merciful Father, we gladly
embrace your Word that counsels us to care for the least of your children, and
we renew our dedication to defending the unborn and all whose right to life is
compromised by our godless society’s selfish lack of concern. Free us from our
own failures and sins so that we will be truly pro-life in every area of our
lives. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.
Rev. Ben Sheldon
Thank you for persevering in prayer on behalf
of life. We know that God has been at work in your soul, as well as in the
world, creating a culture of life where unborn children are welcome, mothers in
crisis are helped, the elderly are prized and the disabled are protected.
Please continue to intercede on behalf of life
and -- be prepared to act!
Contributors: Rev. John Brown, Pastor Clenard Howard Childress, Jr., Rev. Dennis Di Mauro, Deacon Georgette Forney, Day Gardner, Fr. Terry Gensemer, Maggie Karner, Vera Faith Lord, Ernest Ohlhoff, Fr. Frank Pavone, Rev. Rob Schenck, Rev. Benjamin Sheldon, Rev. Randolph Sly, Rev. Paul T. Stallsworth and Rev. J. Kirk van der Swaagh