Our Only Hope for the Unborn

The news headlines about abortion are nearly too numerous to track and too bizarre to comprehend. It is becoming clear that major players in political power have completely abandoned their moral compass. Most of us would have never dreamed that conversations about infanticide, in any form, would ever be acceptable in our American society. We can’t help but wonder, “Is there any hope for the unborn in the days in which we live?”

Our Only Hope for the Unborn

Politics: Downstream From Culture

Politics is downstream from culture. Issues do not surface in political discourse out of oblivion. They are evidence of cultural trends and, in our case, major and rapid cultural shifts among voters who elect their representatives to office.

Culture: Shaped by Morality or Lack Thereof

Culture is an expression of moral persuasions and behaviors. As we observe the issues of abortion rights, sexuality, religious freedom or even integrity in public communications it is clear that we are well on our way down the slippery slope.

Morality: Based on Worldview

The rapid and radical abandonment of absolute truth, especially evidenced at every level of our public education system, has propelled a godless worldview that is perpetuating our unprecedented moral decline. The rapid predominance of a secular worldview is fueling not just an abandonment of biblical faith, but an unashamed antagonism toward people of faith.

Worldview: A Matter of the Heart

Yet, simply knowing biblical truth, even being raised in a Christian home, does not change behavior or ultimately sustain a moral foundation unless the heart is transformed. Many studies have documented a disturbing departure from the faith among the Millennial generation. What young people apparently knew in their heads they did not authentically embrace in their hearts. Hearts justify the fruit of fallen minds.

Romans 1:21–22 exposes the real issue of moral decline, “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.” A perverted mind is always accompanied by an ungrateful, darkened and spiritually dead heart.

Hearts: Transformed by the Gospel

Only the gospel of Jesus Christ, fully embraced by grace through repentance and faith, can transform a heart. True conversion is evident as a grace-oriented Christ follower “beholds the glory of the Lord” in authentic abiding communion and is “transformed from glory to glory” into the image of Christ (John 15:4-5; 2 Corinthians 3:18). A genuine believer loves God wholeheartedly and sacrificially loves others as Christ has loved them (I John 4:19-21; John 13:34-35). Loving and obeying biblical truth is not burdensome for a true Christian because the truth of the gospel has set their heart free from sin, condemnation and a self-focused life (I John 5:3; John 8:32).

Gospel Transformation: Accomplished by the Holy Spirit

Continuing life transformation is accomplished by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). The indwelling Spirit gives power to every dimension of the Christian life and produces a lifestyle of victory greater than the influences and attacks of a secular society (Romans 8:11, 1 John 4:4). The fruit of godly character and holy living is produced by the indwelling Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Bold, culture-transforming witness is the work of the Holy Spirit who demonstrates the gospel supernaturally through surrendered believers (John 15:26, Acts 1:8, 4:8, 31).

Holy Spirit Impact: Exponentially Advanced by Revival

But, let us be honest. If the New Testament norm of Holy Spirit empowerment was verified in our lives and churches, it is unlikely that politics, culture, morality, world-view and the darkness of hearts in our society would be what they are. Our problem is not the pervasiveness of the darkness but the failure of the light. Light always penetrates darkness.

Biblically, when the spiritual integrity and gospel impact of churches was waning, Jesus called them to repentance. This is abundantly clear in our Lord’s confrontation of five of the seven churches of Revelation (Revelation 2:5,16, 21,3:3,19). And to all seven churches Jesus commanded, “Him who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7,11,17,29,3:6,13,22). As Norman Grubb so succinctly declared, “Revival is essentially obedience to the Holy Spirit.” So as those called to be “the light of the world” we must admit to the advancing darkness around us and ask, “Are we repenting? Are we obeying the Holy Spirit? Are we really living surrendered to His dominating and transforming power?”

Revival: Rooted in Extraordinary United Prayer

Winston Churchill noted, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” Historically, a religious but passionless, theological but prayerless, and comfortable but timid church has always presided over all of the major eras of moral decline in the last 2,000 years. Conversely, every major revival of the church and culture-transforming spiritual awakening has been rooted in movements of extraordinary, earnest, enduring prayer. As pastor and missions expert A.T. Pierson observed, “There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.”

The Oxford-educated Christian historian, J. Edwin Orr, wrote extensively about the accounts of revival in the church and the impact on culture. In one of his summary messages (which you can listen to HERE, or watch HERE) he documents that seasons of great moral decline in our nation were powerfully counteracted by a prayer-driven revival of God’s people. It happened before. It can happen again.

Embracing Our Only Hope

Now we are at the source of our problem. The only hope for the unborn and the only antidote for a culture in moral freefall is a pervasive repentance and a return to humble, extraordinary prayer by an apathetic, prayerless and powerless church. It is an old adage, but every finger we point at the godless state of affairs also must include a recognition that three fingers are pointing back at us and our thumb, extended heavenward, calls us into accountability before a holy and all-powerful God.

Should we keep tuning in to the news and remain active in politics, advocating and voting for the things we believe? Of course. Should we be vigorous in promoting biblical morals and Judeo-Christian worldviews? No doubt. Should we teach our children the Bible and faithfully attend church? Absolutely.

Praying for the Fruits, Pursuing the Roots

But all our efforts to combat the modern moral deterioration will fall short if we fail to heed Jesus’ prescriptions of repentance and an unashamed obedience and surrender to the Holy Spirit. These prescriptions must become a significant practice in the focus and time allocation of our lives and churches.

If we are really concerned about the unborn, we must repent of our own spiritual status quo and wake up from our spiritual slumber. We must love the Lord with all our hearts and fully surrender to the indwelling Holy Spirit. We must start, or at least start showing up to, passionate prayer meetings. Our prayer meetings must become God-focused rather than self-focused. We must long for God to share His heart with us, not just that we would share our hearts with Him.

We are all heartbroken over the many evidences of moral shipwreck, not the least of which is the devaluing of human life. We are praying for the fruits of another revival. But we must earnestly pursue the fruits of that kind of revival. We will not have fruits without roots. The root system of real revival is praying Christians, supporting praying pastors, leading praying churches for the sake of supernatural gospel impact.

This article originally appeared here.

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As a lead pastor for nearly three decades, Daniel Henderson helped several congregations experience transformation and renewal through an extraordinary commitment to prayer. Daniel now serves as founder and president of Strategic Renewal and is the national director for The 6.4 Fellowship. As a “pastor to pastors,“ he leads renewal experiences in local churches, speaks in a variety of leadership conferences, and coaches pastors across North America and beyond. Daniel is the author of over a dozen books, including, Old Paths, New Power: Awakening Your Church Through Prayer and the Ministry of The Word, Transforming Prayer: How Everything Changes When You Seek God’s Face, Transforming Presence: How The Holy Spirit Changes Everything - From The Inside Out, and Glorious Finish: Keeping Your Eye on the Prize of Eternity in a Time of Pastoral Failings.