NASHVILLE (BP) – Southern Baptist leaders asked God Tuesday (May 3) to help Christians recognize that the overturning of Roe v. Wade, if it occurs this term, will be not only a reason to rejoice but to renew Gospel-based ministry to those in need.
The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) hosted an online prayer gathering one day after the publication of a leaked U. S. Supreme Court draft opinion that, if it becomes final, would strike down the 1973 Roe decision. Four other members of the high court have joined Associate Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the draft opinion, in support of reversing the nearly 50-year-old ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, according to Politico, the news organization that published the leaked document.
Before it adjourns in late June or early July, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision that will determine the fate of Roe, at least for now, in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which regards a Mississippi ban on abortion after 15 weeks’ gestation.
Brent Leatherwood, the ERLC’s acting president, told the audience for the quickly arranged, virtual event “it is totally appropriate that we would enter into a time of prayer together as cooperating Southern Baptists who realize that this is a big moment.”
During the prayer session, Adam Greenway, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said even if Roe is overturned in the Dobbs ruling, “it does not mean that the pro-life cause can celebrate and retire. It means the challenge continues, state by state, location by location, conversation by conversation, Lord, literally person to person.”
He prayed that God “would give us the spirit of endurance to go the distance, to realize that the cause of truth and justice and life never ends [in this world], that even as great of a victory as we may experience through the Dobbs case and the overturning of Roe v. Wade, there is still much, much work for the church of the Lord Jesus Christ to do.”
SBC President Ed Litton asked God to “help us to see this potential as not being an opportunity to celebrate but an opportunity to press forward, because girls will still need someone to help them in a very difficult time of decision, young men will need help becoming responsible adults and fathers, and, Lord, the communities will need adoption, will need foster care. Lord, we will still need the hope of Jesus Christ and the hope that the Gospel brings.”
“We do pray, Lord, that You would bring this scourge to a close, but Lord help us to see the opening of a great new opportunity for the Gospel and … for our people to engage,” Litton prayed.
Columnist Dana McCain, vice chair of the 2022 SBC Resolutions Committee, asked the Lord “to equip us to love the vulnerable in our midst in this moment. Lord, help us to see those women and preborn children with the eyes of Christ. Help us to love them with the love of Christ. And help us, God, to see them … with the same kind of grace and mercy that you have lavished on us, Lord.”
“Lord, equip us to offer them real alternatives to abortion, to offer them pathways where You can work in Your sovereignty and in Your power to create families through adoption and provide a way forward where there looks like there is no way forward,” McCain prayed.
She also asked God to “empower us to speak with holy conviction on behalf of preborn children, speaking for them because they depend on us, they have no voice outside of us.”
In introducing the prayer session, Leatherwood encouraged Southern Baptists to pray for the Supreme Court’s justices and clerks, including “for this seeming majority of the court to hold fast for life, for them all to be safe and secure as they continue these deliberations. The fact is [those who so far agree with overruling Roe] are going to come under a torrent of criticism, and we need to be praying for them to have the fortitude to withstand that. “