Written by Renee Boucher
Before heading to New York with our mission team last month, I wrote the following question in my journal. What if?
What if NYC could become the place of welcoming the stranger & setting the captives free; the place that breaks the chains of oppression & champions the value of life, dignity &
equality among all of humanity? This is the sort of central question that could impact the entirety of a nation. The “what ifs” in any place are just the beginning of imagining with God the impact particular geographical locations have on the people who not only dwell there in that specific space, but also the ones that come & go, & where their influence passes through. New York City moves & breathes, even pulsates, with the very expectation &
anticipation of the rising of the sons of God.
There is a Holy calling on this land to be not only a melting pot of cultures in the earthly sense, but to truly represent every tongue and every tribe as we one day will be around the throne; captured up in glory as One Bride. It is only together that we are complete. Yet how is it that our identity here feels so broken? Why in NYC are laws such as full-term abortion being passed, & how does someone with great power & privilege get to use their position to cover up the abuse of young girls in a trafficking ring for years unnoticed? How does a black man die in the streets at the hand of a white man in blue with no justice being served, over and over again? And why do low income housing apartment landlords fail to provide heat & hot water in the winter for some of the city’s most
When did we forget our own humanity & fail to see others as created in the image of God? These were the questions we brought to the table in prayer as we walked the streets, met with church leaders, & listened, discerned & learned about the historic roots & spiritual condition of NYC. And, while feeling like we’ve moved ahead in some of our understanding, there is still much left to be found.
For now, here are some insights we had regarding the fight against abortion (one of our main focuses on this “prayer as mission” trip):
1. This is not only a female issue; it is also a male issue. We have failed to understand biblical manhood & are in desperate need of true fathers in this generation. 2. The decisions people make are complicated & we can not pray in legalistic terms. We must pray to see the whole picture in order to pray into all of the layers with compassion. 3. If abortion ceases, who will take care of the babies that are still unwanted? We need an infrastructure that can provide for fostering, adoptions, & wrap around care for single mothers. 4. The roots of abortion are the same roots as racism & other systemic injustices we see in our country today. There is a devaluing of human life, we are able to place people into categories & see them as “other”. This denies the truth that all people are made in the image of God & we are meant to be completed by our differences. There are truths about God that we will only learn when we embrace those who are not like us. When we separate ourselves and view others as “different”, we begin to dehumanize them which leads to division, mistreatment, violence and death.
When you pray about abortion in our country, remember to pray for the following:
1. For godly men to take their place as fathers who will mentor the next generation into a true biblical understanding of manhood. (this does not need to include only traditional gender roles or descriptions. - Jesus himself was so much more than that as a man)
2. That women making decisions regarding the unborn child in their womb would be surrounded by compassionate friends, family & acquaintances who can help direct them to appropriate services and care & who will be committed to walk with them throughout their journey.
3. For the church to rise up in this season to provide safe foster homes, adoptive families and be an authentic community for parents in need.
4. For people in all places to begin to recognize our common humanity; for believers to be the first to act with kindness; and for laws to reflect the value of human life in all areas, not just in regard to abortion.
Renee Boucher resides in Portland, Oregon & is the USA National Team facilitator for Prayer as Mission.