“Abortion is a substitute for prayer.”
-John Piper

I ask you to consider this quote from John Piper.

  • What does Piper mean when he describes abortion as “a substitute for prayer”?
  • Where does this idea come from?
  • Why might it be helpful for us to remember this as we press forward together as givers and goers to bring the Gospel of Life to hard places like China, Cuba, and India?

If you ask a scientist “Why is the water boiling?” you will learn about how heat turns the water molecules to gas to explain why the water is boiling. If you ask a historian the same question, you will hear about sequential events like the pot being filled, the burner turned on, and the length of time that has passed to explain the boiling water. If you ask my mom “Why is the water boiling?” she will answer, “Because I want some tea.”

Mom’s answer gets to the heart of the matter. She’s explaining the purpose of the water boiling. In the same way, abortion can be looked at from different perspectives. The political perspective involves law and human rights. The practical perspective points to affordability or career goals or saving one’s reputation. But the perspective offered in the Bible cuts to the heart of the matter: why do people kill?

Pray for Impact  Join in prayer with these hundreds of Colombian leaders as they dedicate themselves to train a million people this year in the Gospel of Life using PassionLife’s 4 Questions.

James 4:2-3 reads:
“You desire and do not have, so you murder…You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

The motive of murder according to James is frustrated, unfulfilled desires. Abortion, the intentional killing of an innocent human being, is what people do because they desire something that they perceive that the unborn baby will take from them. They will lose their reputation. The unborn will rob them of their career goals. They want to obtain things that the expenses of child-raising will prohibit.

To have life and career goals, even financial goals, is not wrong. What is condemnable is turning to murder or other evil schemes to get what one wants. The alternative is to ask; “you do not have, because you do not ask [God].”

Pray for Impact  Please pray as PassionLife goes to Uganda, Ethiopia and Namibia this fall, where pastors and churches are just beginning to study our 4 Questions and rescue mothers and babies.

For this reason, Piper concludes, abortion is what we do when we want something, but do not look to and wait upon God to supply it. Abortion becomes a substitute for asking God… a substitute for prayer. There’s more to it, perhaps, but that is at the heart of the matter.

Some desires, like stealing my neighbor’s car, are sinful so asking God to fulfill those desires will not help. But looking to God as both Creator and Provider during a pregnancy crisis is a challenge of faith and one He is ready to reward. For 30 years I’ve heard, “I cannot afford this baby.” I may offer some practical help, but I always ask, “Do you want to know how I fed my babies?” As they nod, I fold my hands, and tell them, “I prayed, ‘Father, give me today my daily bread’” (Mt. 6:11).

Pray for Impact  Jeanne Pernia asks for prayer as she will be in Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, sharing her abortion story, proclaiming God’s redemption and organizing crisis intervention.

At the heart of human crisis there is always a crisis of faith. Who shall we turn to in times of trouble? Who can deliver us? In a pregnancy crisis, the abortionist proclaims himself the savior. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy burdened, I will deliver you!”

Where better for the people of faith to be than with people in a crisis of faith; to say, “No! Trust in God. If he can create your baby, surely he has a plan to feed your baby. Let me help you find God’s provision.”

Pray for Impact  Dr. Annia (left) works out strategic plans to set up pregnancy help clinics across Cuba with Dr. Yahima, once an abortion doctor, but now converted and helping to rescue the unborn.

As a partner with PassionLife, you are training up an army of such people where they are most needed—people ready to provide life-saving help and do it in a life-changing way. This is what you and I want. It our heart’s desire. So, let us ask God for it. There is no substitute for prayer.

Pray for Impact  PassionLife’s Dave Waters (right) has worked in Vietnam for 26 years and is now working to see every church in the country stand for life and rescue mothers and babies under the name BẢO VỆ MẦM SỐNG.

Cross-bearing with you,

Rev. John Ensor