Contending for Life Continues in 2023
At IFA’s Policy & Prayer Summit, in late October, Dr. Ralph Reed and Dr. Alveda King, both seasoned veterans of the fight for life, encouraged intercessors to persevere in the battle. Reed, founder and chairman of Faith & Freedom Coalition; and King, founder of Alveda King Ministries, spoke on a panel moderated by Mark Zelden, senior adviser of the Center for American Values at the America First Policy Institute.
Reed thanked the intercessors:
First of all, I want to thank all of you, and, frankly, the tens of millions of people that you represent. Because I know I’m preaching to the choir here. But this was, is, and will remain a spiritual battle. And the victory over Roe, which is one of the darkest chapters in American history — on the level of Dred Scott, on the level of Plessy v. Ferguson — is a black mark on the history of this country. But praise God, He was faithful. And we labored over 50 years on our knees, and with our hands and feet. And God had mercy on us. And He answered our prayers.
But the battle is far from over. According to Reed:
And in that respect, I want to speak very honestly, among friends, and encourage you but also challenge you that we should not make the same mistake the left did and think the Supreme Court is going to do our job for us. A Supreme Court decision simply gave us the license for the first time in 50 years to go and defend the unborn. It did not win the battle. Far from it.
Reed cited a lesson that Pat Robertson had shared from his time in the Korean War: not to celebrate when a hill was won, but to dig a foxhole, because the enemy was sure to come. King concurred: [Watch] that backlash — binding those retaliatory spirits when they retaliate — that thing comes back around with his tail — be ready to chop it off with action; prayer and action.
Reed described a strategy taken from the centuries-old writings of Sun Tzu, a Chinese general and philosopher: Sun Tzu said, do not take the hill. That is the most well defended, because all you will do is spill the blood of your soldiers. If the mountain is occupied, take the valley. If the valley is occupied, take the mountain. Take the ground that is not defended. Then once you have done that, and you’ve become strong, then you can go charge the castle.
Applying this strategy to the pro-life movement, Reed, King, and others are working to protect life in the red states first, where pro-life politicians are already in place. Said Reed:
Once you’re stronger, and you occupy all the undefended [land], then we’re going to go to California, then we’re going to go to Illinois, then we’re going to go to New York, and we’re not going to stop until every unborn child in every state and every community in America is safe in their mother’s womb. Amen.
Guess who else is in the valley: the school boards. And we think Virginia showed us that model and that pattern. … In the Bible, God said He was looking for a person to stand in the gap. As you stand in the gap … you have to do it with faith, hope, and love — not anger, not bitterness. Amen. And that will win the day — it really will.
The AFPI is in the fight, too. Said Zelden: We are mobilizing our assets for some of the things that Dr. Reed’s talking about to take advantage of certain things in a state like Wisconsin.
The political future could be bleak, said Reed. He pointed to some of the moves the far left is attempting now, including trying to codify legal abortion through state and federal laws and by promoting abortion tourism. Said Reed: There’s no way…to fully describe the level of the evil… they’ll go to, to take the life of an innocent unborn child.
If you do those two things, you codify Roe into federal law, and you pay for abortion under Medicaid, there will be a minimum of 100,000 and as many as 300,000 additional abortions every year in America [according to Planned Parenthood’s research arm]. Because if the federal government offers to pay for it, there’s going to be more. Right? So we’re gonna go from a million abortions a year to 1.1 to 1.3. … So we have to understand, in some ways, we jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. We are in a real fight. And it’s a spiritual battle.
Prayer is the critical factor. Said King: Don’t take your prayers lightly.
The battle is winnable, Reed asserted:
And let me tell you how I believe we’re going to win it. And there’s a lot of people who miss this. Everybody wants to be able to put a problem in a microwave and hit 30 seconds or a minute and solve the problem, right? We just want the eastern sky to split, the trumpet to blow, Jesus to come back, and we win. But if you study the kingdom, if you understand the kingdom, that is not how God operates. … Jesus has already won the battle. That’s true. So when God promised the Promised Land to the Israelites, the battle was won in a spiritual sense, but they still had to … win it one city at a time. How did we get Roe overturned? We went state by state, and passed restrictions, and kept going back to the Court. Right? It was one state at a time. When Jesus founded the Church and gave the Great Commission … He told them to go out in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, city by city, town by town, province by province. Why? Because when we do that, two things happen. First of all, it builds character in us because we … learn perseverance, and faith, and reliance on God, and our… faith muscles get stronger. … The second thing that happens is the victory becomes more durable. Because when we take it one city at a time, one state at a time, one legislature at a time, one governor’s race at a time, we build an infrastructure that is like a house built upon a rock … So Dobbs is a critical moment. But it’s not the final victory.
King closed with a discussion of the intercessor’s role:
We are commissioned, and … we can go to the court of heaven, and make the high appeal, and the judge is our father. … So, once we do that, you have to find out state by state, what is actually happening in your state, who’s already elected, and … who’s for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in every area of America. … Take a look at that, share that information with your friends, be a poll worker, be a poll watcher. Pregnancy care centers exist in almost every state … and we outnumber the abortion mills now, amen.… And those should be right in the middle of your cities. … So, we have to pay attention with the character that’s been referred to. People who have character, people who’ve been through the fire. People who know how to humble ourselves and say, “Lord, I’m wrong; I repent.” … If you’re leading a church, don’t be afraid to tell your congregation the truth. Now, don’t … have a political zoo at church; God’s not gonna honor that. But tell the people the truth. Be engaged and involved, be present in every aspect. And as we do that, the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you, and give you peace. You need faith, hope, love, peace, strength, wisdom. Faith without works is dead.
Unity in the Church’s efforts for life is also key, said King: We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools. So, we have a beautiful garden, but we have to learn how to do it together.
That beautiful garden of unity was evident in the closing prayer. When Susie MacAskill, IFA prayer leader for Massachusetts, began to weep for those babies murdered through abortion, King led the group in a cappella worship and gently kissed MacAskill on the head.
Lord, refine our character so that we are the picture of unity and character that can stand before You in Your heavenly court to intercede for the babies. Give us resilience to stand in this battle until every unborn child in every state and every community in America is safe in his or her mother’s womb. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
If you have not already joined your state prayer group, you may join here.
In case you missed staff reactions the day after the summit, click here.
More articles about specific Policy & Prayer Summit sessions are on the way. Search for IFAsummit on IFApray.org to find any you may have missed. Photos are available at www.RichDrama.com/IFASummitPhotos.
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New York City–based Joyce Swingle is an intercessor and a contributing writer for IFA. With her husband, Rich, also a contributing writer for IFA, Joyce shares the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world through theater, speaking, writing, and film. Prior to going into full-time ministry, Joyce worked for about 20 major magazines and now works in pastoral ministry and Christian counseling. Photo Credit: Intercessors for America.
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