The key purposes of a praying presence of “sidewalk counselors” at an abortion facility are:
1. To offer practical, compassionate help to couples and their preborn children in the Name of Christ;
2. To obey God’s commands regarding our testimony against the unjust violence of murder;
3. To pray for the ending of abortion in our cities and the salvation of those involved.
The following guidelines have been developed by the pro-life activists of Vital Signs Ministries who have been engaged in these ministries for over 30 years. We make them available to others in order to give them a clearer understanding of what is involved in this aspect of pro-life ministry and to help them best honor our heavenly Father as we strive to serve Him together in this important witness. We want to give as effective a witness as possible to the couples coming for abortions, the abortionists, the “escorts,” and even those driving by in order that we might faithfully honor our Lord. We don’t “own the streets” and so we cannot force compliance with our guidelines but the following represent the principles we advise.
Please be in fervent prayer throughout your time there. Ask God to convict hearts and to open blind eyes. Ask Him also for the physical and the spiritual protection of all the Christians here. Being in a prayerful attitude protects us from reacting to the clinic workers or clients in any brash or unloving fashion and, of course, it gives God the opportunity to change our own hearts to what they should be. Please feel free to join with other pro-lifers in small groups for prayer or simply pray alone quietly. Conversation is not wrong, but please remember what is happening inside this terrible place. We can experience the joy of serving Christ anywhere but obviously joking and frivolous conversation are best expressed at another time and place.
Some may want to quietly sing hymns alone or in small groups. This is fine; however, please be sensitive to the potential problem of your singing interfering with the actual sidewalk counseling. Certainly you should lower the volume of the singing when the designated sidewalk counselors are attempting to speak to an abortion client. Satan is already doing everything he can to distract the preborn child’s mother and keep her from hearing the truth about abortion and our offer of loving alternatives – we don’t want our own activity to contribute to that distraction in any way.
Please be sensitive to the various doctrinal distinctives of your Christian brothers and sisters. Try by your actions, words and attitudes to insure the unity of the fundamentals of our faith. Please do not engage in activity that unnecessarily divides the group or that is otherwise distracting to your colleagues. Thank you.
There are designated sidewalk counselors who have been selected and trained to speak to the abortion clients so please allow them to counsel without interruption. Do not yell out or otherwise interfere with the counselor’s attempts to communicate with the clients. This makes it much more difficult for the counselor to effectively communicate. Every second is critical and what may sound clear to you will only be a confused noise to the women if several people are attempting to speak out at the same time. Please, let one voice speak what is on all of our hearts. Concentrate on prayers to our Father for, after all, only He is able to change hearts!
Please do not stand on any portion of the abortion mill property and do not block the entrance or exit of traffic through the driveways. We may stand on the public sidewalks in a peaceful and prayerful manner. If the sidewalks become crowded, simply spread out around the building or form a line across the street. Be sure there is room for the counselors to walk down the sidewalks while talking to the moms going in. Also, please obey any instructions of policemen or of any of the recognized pro-life leaders.
Over the years we have found that it is counter-productive to confront the workers and “escorts” when we are in the larger groups such as those found on Saturday mornings. Rest assured that most of the “escorts” and abortion workers have heard clear and repeated expositions of the gospel over these many years. Such confrontations are generally most effective when done during the week when there is a better chance to communicate one-on-one. Therefore, your peaceful, silent witness and your heartfelt prayers are the best ways to share the love of Christ with these people.
Does prayer at the abortion centers and sidewalk counseling matter? You better believe it! From testimonies received over the years (including from former abortionists), we are convinced that God is accomplishing great things by our peaceful, prayerful presence at the abortion clinics.
We’re honored and delighted to have you partner with us in this crucial outreach. Thank you.