Prayer can occur as praise, petition, penitence, intercession, or thanksgiving, but no matter the form it is indispensable to the work of pregnancy help.
Those serving in pregnancy help recognize that the battle to uphold the sanctity of life is both temporal and spiritual, and they know as well that life-affirming work doesn’t happen without the Lord’s blessing and providence.
Thus, prayer is a fundamental part of being Christ’s hands, feet and heart for women facing unplanned pregnancy in a culture permeated buy death through abortion.
Prayer is a deeply integral part of the mission and operations of Heartbeat International, which oversees the largest global network of pregnancy help organizations (PHOs), consisting of pregnancy resource centers and medical clinics, non-profit adoption agencies and maternity homes.
“Heartbeat prays for the pregnancy help community nearly every single time we bow our heads,” said Jor-El Godsey, president of Heartbeat International. “We pray for individual needs and organizational resources. We pray for protection and provision, confidence and creativity, as well as patience and perseverance.”
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Heartbeat, headquartered in Columbus, OH, has more than 3,000 affiliated pregnancy help locations in more than 70 countries worldwide, with about 1,800 affiliated pregnancy help organizations in the U.S. Heartbeat staff in Columbus and throughout the U.S. gather virtually for prayer daily, at times more than once per day.
“We pray that God will strengthen those who champion the Gift of Life and the Giver of Life,” Godsey said. “In such moments, it is less about our address or our distance, and more about our closeness in mission.”
“At Heartbeat we focus on practical ways to advance pregnancy help,” he said. “With that, we know that our greatest source is God, and the greatest access to His power through prayer.”
Tweet This: At Heartbeat we focus on practical ways to advance pregnancy help. Our greatest source is God & the greatest access to His power is prayer.
The emphasis is on the PHOs and the women and families that the PHOs serve, along with supporters of Heartbeat’s mission. It’s common for very specific and personal intentions involving centers, clients, and supporters to be lifted up in prayer, as these are shared in the natural process of relationship.
“We include prayer throughout Heartbeat,” Godsey added, “gathering each morning, before every shift on Option Line and the APR Network, and even in the midst of meetings and moments where appropriate or necessary.”
Heartbeat accepts prayer requests via its website every day, but there is a week each year when the prayer on behalf of Heartbeat for PHOs is ramped up.
This week is the eighth annual Pregnancy Help Appreciation Week, during which Heartbeat gives PHOs special recognition and support. The week of Nov. 8-12 also coincides with a Congressional designation of the week as "National Pregnancy Center Week."
PHOs are also specially invited to submit prayer intentions during the week.
Prayer requests come in from across the pregnancy help community, largely centering on necessities for serving clients and fulfilling the mission, and for staff and volunteer needs. But they also mention particular client needs, and PHOs also take the opportunity to express gratitude for blessings in their work, whether for a successful event or a client choosing life.
The extra prayer for PHOs during the week includes live daily devotionals via social media.
The Facebook Live feature for the week's devotionals allows for the audience to tune in at the time of the devotional or to view it after it's been posted to the Heartbeat Facebook page.
Sara Littlefield is one of the Heartbeat staff members to lead a live devotional for PHOs during the appreciation week.
“It's an honor to be able to interact with fellow pregnancy helpers and to pray with them in this way,” said Littlefield, Life Launch Grant Program Specialist for Heartbeat. “The Lord sure does love to unite His workers in the vineyard.”
“One of my favorite aspects of the Heartbeat vision and mission is its value for unity within the pregnancy help movement,” she said.
“There's something powerful about taking time to be reminded of and grateful for the One who has called us to this work and equips us for the journey,” added Littlefield. “When we align our hearts to His - that's when we can begin to see lives and communities transformed, starting with our own.”
Heartbeat Vice President of Ministry Services Betty McDowell said prayer is energizing and restorative to the pregnancy help community’s work and the mission its members are called to fulfill.
“We are a community made up of Christians,” McDowell said. “We are people of faith who have seen the power of prayer in our own lives and in the lives of those we serve.”
Scripture instructs the faithful to engage in prayer, she said, with great example given through the Lord's Prayer.
“Recognizing the ultimate authority of God, asking for His kingdom and will to be done,” stated McDowell, “which includes caring for women and children.”
“We ask for our own provision and the provision for the ministries and clients we serve,” she said. “We believe there is a spiritual battle for the lives of the unborn and we fight through prayer.”
“Bottom line,” McDowell said, “prayer works.”
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Whether during this special week of appreciation of pregnancy help organizations or not, prayer is crucial for conducting pregnancy help.
“Prayer is a very necessary component for the whole pregnancy help community, said Godsey. “We are facing God-sized tasks with her, or in our culture and community.”
“Intentionally inviting God to participate in us, and through us, to accomplish His will is a must,” he said. “Especially since there is a dark, evil nature surrounding abortion and its aftermath - personally and culturally. Such is best confronted with prayer, in prayer, and through prayer, just as the Scriptures teaches us.”