It happened inside a mostly empty Culver’s Restaurant, back in the corner booth on a cold and sunny February afternoon.

Never before had any of my prayers been answered so quickly and dramatically.

My wife and I were in this midwestern town visiting with Christina, a woman whom we had been introduced to via a mutual friend. Christina was considering the possibility of making an adoption plan for her newborn.

Every adoption is different because every person has a unique story. Christina was agonizing over a variety of issues, and while she had expressed a desire to place her newborn son in a family with a mother and father, she was conflicted. Sitting there with her, looking at her beautiful baby, there were dozens of thoughts racing through my mind. The Lord had placed some thoughts on my heart, but I didn’t feel it was my place to offer unsolicited advice.

As our time wore on, though, Christina became increasingly weary. I began praying silently for her and her baby. I also asked the Lord if He might provide us with an opportunity to speak into her life. It was only a matter of seconds later when this tender-hearted woman turned to me and said, “I just don’t know. What would you do?”

By “do” she wasn’t referring to her decision to make an adoption plan, but instead how to deal with a series of issues that would help her determine whether or not adoption was the best option for her.

I took a big deep breath and proceeded to share what was on my heart. Christina did decide to make an adoption plan. Our son’s eleventh birthday will be at the end of this month.

I was thinking about this silent prayer earlier today when I heard about the latest case of a Christian being persecuted for praying silently in the United Kingdom. A Catholic priest has been criminally charged for talking privately with the Lord outside an abortion clinic in Birmingham, England.

His name is Sean Gough, and local police report that he infringed on a “censorship zone” by praying silently and holding a sign that read “Praying for Free Speech” near the abortion facility.

Late last year, Isabel Vaugh-Spruce was arrested for doing the same thing in Birmingham. Similarly, Adam Smith-Connor was arrested for standing near an abortion mill in Bournemouth, England. When police asked him what he was doing, he said he was praying for his son. It was later revealed that his son had been aborted at the clinic.

Our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom’s UK office are representing each of these individuals. Setting aside the problem of a so-called “censorship zone,” it’s still unfathomable that you’d get arrested for unspoken thoughts.

George Orwell’s “Thought Police” in search of “Thought Criminals” in “1984” come to mind. You’ll recall that in the book, “vaporization” was the punishment for “thoughtcrime.” In other words, the offenders just disappeared.

Americans are not yet being arrested or fined for their thought or praying silently, but silent prayer has nevertheless been a hot button topic in this country for decades. Back in 1985, the United States Supreme Court struck down an Alabama law that allowed for a “moment of silence” for “meditation or voluntary prayer” in public schools.

But penalized and prosecuted for praying silently or just thinking?

As Christians citizens, we cannot and must not back down from praying all the time (1 Thess. 5:6). Despite the heavy hand of some governments, nobody can tell you what to think – and nobody can ever stop you from praying. It was the late evangelist F.B. Meyer who once noted, “The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, buy unoffered prayer.”

So, pray without ceasing – and pray for those being persecuted and prosecuted for following God’s command.

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