Nebraska’s Governor Pete Ricketts has declared the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, January 22, as a Statewide Day of Prayer.
In his proclamation, Governor Ricketts said, “Since Roe v. Wade, over 50 million unborn children have been killed by abortion in the United States; and Nebraska state law states that it is ‘the will of the people of the State of Nebraska and the members of the Legislature to provide protection for the life of the unborn child whenever possible…’
“Nebraska is a pro-life state that respects the dignity of human life, no matter how small, and Nebraskans display our pro-life values in a multitude of ways from the crisis pregnancy centers that provide free care for expecting parents to the prayer vigils held across the state every year; and it seems right and fitting that the citizens of the State of Nebraska are urged to pray for an end to abortion and for our fellow citizens who need our love and support.”
Karen Bowling, the Executive Director of the Nebraska Family Alliance, in a statement to The Daily Citizen said, “Nebraska Family Alliance is grateful to Governor Ricketts for his unwavering commitment to protecting the dignity of every human life. Declaring the anniversary of Roe v. Wade as a Statewide Day of Prayer to end abortion is a faithful and courageous act that will unite our state in prayer and deepen our respect for the humanity of unborn children. There is no cause more worthwhile than uniting in prayer to make abortion unthinkable and providing loving care for mothers and their children.”
This is a great step and hopefully one that Americans across the country can emulate, whether you are a Nebraska citizen or not.
Prayer is a powerful tool for change, and it is something that Governor Ricketts has used a couple of times during his tenure. In April 2019, the Gov. Ricketts used a statewide declaration of prayer to lift up those that were the victims of recent flooding.
Here are two other encouraging examples of how prayer has been used to change the course of history:
Father James O’Neill, an army Chaplain serving in World War II, was called upon by General George Patton to create a prayer for the Third Army asking for better weather so that the troops could advance and support those fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, one of the most decisive and critical in the eventual Allied victory.
The prayer said, “Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen.”
Miraculously, the rains cleared and the men advanced. O’Neill received a Bronze star for that prayer.
In another instance, during the early days of the Second World War, Allied troops, mostly British, Belgian and French, were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, France with no means of escaping the advancing German forces. In response to this dire situation, King George VI called for a National Day of Prayer in Britain. He called for the citizens to “turn back to God in a spirit of repentance and plead for divine help.” Thousands of Brits across the country lined up outside churches to pray that the soldiers trapped would be saved.
Some still call it miraculous, but C.S. Lewis considered it a “Providential answer to prayer.” Either way, the seas calmed, the German Luftwaffe were grounded, 800 boats volunteered to help with the evacuation, and the German troops, for some inexplicable reason, let the Allied forces leave without attempting to destroy the remaining troops. To this day, historians still debate why Adolf Hitler and other senior Nazi leadership didn’t go in for the kill when they had every advantage.
At times, it can feel like prayer is insufficient for some of the problems facing our world. But that’s not the case. Prayer is perhaps the most powerful weapon that we have, and prayer can truly change the course of history.
So, on January 22, if you and your family have a chance, lift up the plight of abortion in this country. Pray that babies and mothers will be saved from the clutches of abortionists, that women, men and families will be healed from the trauma of abortion, and that lives will be changed. Also, pray that there will be a case that comes before the Supreme Court that may overturn Roe v. Wade, and that the power to determine abortion regulation will be returned to the state legislatures.
Finally, pray that one day abortion will not just be illegal but unthinkable.