Now, more than ever, is the time for us to pray and act.

Last summer, I joined many of you in rejoicing over the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which had granted access to abortion nationwide for nearly 50 years. Many wondered if we would ever see the day when abortion wasn’t the law of the land. The ruling was a day that we had prayed for, worked for and longed for.

While the high court’s ruling put an end to Roe, it did not put an end to abortion. Instead, it shifted the focus of abortion access to individual states.

Sadly, abortion remains legal in North Carolina up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, even as other nearby states have more restrictive laws or outright bans on the procedure. Those factors have actually made our state a destination for those seeking abortions.

Since Roe’s reversal, more and more people are traveling to North Carolina seeking abortions. In fact, according to one national report, North Carolina has experienced a 37% increase in the number of abortions performed in the state, which is one of the largest increases in the nation. These sobering facts remind us that our advocacy on behalf of vulnerable and voiceless children is far from over. Now, more than ever, is the time for us to pray and act.

It’s been said that we should pray as if everything depends on God and work as if everything depends upon us. Prayer should not be our last resort, but it should be our first response. We should also be compelled to demonstrate Christ’s love. Here are some ways you can pray and act as we long for the day when abortion is not just illegal, but it is unthinkable.

Pray for and contact our state lawmakers.

As the political fight over abortion access continues here in North Carolina, pray for our governor and elected officials. Last fall’s midterm elections saw several more individuals elected to our state Senate and House of Represenatives who hold pro-life positions. Pray for them to support and promote legislation that provides more protections to the unborn.

Additionally, I encourage you to contact your elected officials to let your voice be heard. While our ultimate hope is not in the party of the donkey or the elephant, but in the Lamb of God, it is a privilege to live in a country where we the people can participate in the political process.

Pray for churches to demonstrate compassion and care.

I recently learned that one of our churches devoted a week to praying and fasting for the unborn late last year. Shortly afterward, members of this congregation donated a car and arranged housing for a homeless expectant mother who was considering an abortion. God used this church’s love and generosity to save a pre-born baby’s life and see the mother come to faith in Christ. What can you and your church do to demonstrate compassion and care to expectant mothers and families in vulnerable situations?

Pray for our pro-life ministry partners.

In November 2021, the Baptist state convention partnered with the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina to launch the Every Child Foster and Adoption Ministry. Our God-sized dream is to see the 16,000 children in our state’s foster care system find a loving, Christ-centered home through N.C. Baptist churches. Since the launch of this initiative, numerous churches and families have received training, equipping and licensing related to foster care, fostering to adopt and adoption.

And thanks to your generosity and our partnership with the Psalm 139 Project of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, N.C. Baptists helped place two ultrasound units at pregnancy resource centers in the eastern and western parts of the state in underserved communities. God is using these units to minister to expectant mothers, and we are prayerfully seeking opportunities to help place more machines in other parts of the state.

Pray for more individuals to be involved in foster care and adoption.

Even if God is not leading you and your family to foster or adopt, ask Him how you can be involved to provide support for those who do. Adoptive families and children have unique needs that require the ongoing, long-term support of a loving community. Consider how you, your small group, Sunday School class or entire congregation can rally around foster and adoptive families as a source of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual support. And thanks to a new adoption assistance grant for members of N.C. Baptist churches, we are working to make the financial costs associated with adopting less of a burden for families.

Pray for opportunities to be salt and light to family, friends and neighbors.

Prior to the reversal of Roe v. Wade, abortion was already a controversial issue with people holding positions that are diametrically opposed. Roe’s reversal has only seemed to heighten disagreement and division over the issue. For those who have received an abortion, the topic can be deeply personal and difficult. Pray for opportunities to speak with clarity, conviction, grace and truth about the value God places on all human life and the hope that Jesus Christ offers through the gospel.