Today’s post is a reflection from our ongoing series of responses to Faith Aloud’s Forty Days for Prayer. This post on the 21st prayer is from Karen, who is an intern for Faith Aloud through Eden Theological Seminary while concurrently pursuing a Master of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Karen’s wise words about praying for everyone’s choices show thoughtfulness, kindness, and love in a conversation that is often fraught with anger. Karen shows us that being pro-choice involves so many shades of understanding.
I am pro-choice and I pray. People who identify as pro-choice are often people of nuance. Contrary to the polarizing images presented in the media or society’s tendency to put people in boxes, to be pro-choice is to recognize that everyone has different contexts: family structures, friends, support networks, economic resources, educational backgrounds, physical conditions, mental health issues, spiritualities… the list goes on. We who are pro-choice recognize that all of the factors that make up who we are affect the decisions we all make.
As one of many pro-choice voices, I aim to understand others with compassion, recognizing that others’ choices may not be my own. Even when people make decisions that differ from what I would have chosen, I know everyone is just as worthy of compassion, dignity, and respect. I am confident that everyone is capable of making the choices that are best for them, within their situations.
At Faith Aloud, where I work, we are devoted to ensuring that people integrate their faith traditions and spirituality into their reproductive decisions, rather than believing that in order to consider all of their reproductive options, they must leave their faith and spirituality at the door. We believe that no one should feel alone when seeking faith guidance on reproductive decisions, and everyone deserves to feel whole and loved.
Today, the prayer from Forty Days for Prayer is mindful of those in developing nations, whose choices and decisions might be different from my own. Today’s prayer recognizes that economic need and the lack of supportive political structures can press down upon a lack of employment and educational opportunities to make people feel trapped within their situations.
As nuanced voices for choice, we are attentive to the ways in which lack of access to birth control and safe abortion procedures may occur on economic, political, and personal levels. Nonetheless, we believe that all people have the power of self-determination, to make choices of their own, even when those choices may be limited by external forces or by internal struggle.
When I pray for self-determination, through the prayers of Faith Aloud, I pray for all people to be empowered to find the best way to make life better for themselves, their families, and their communities. This is a prayer for people to courageously and creatively make decisions that bring peace to their souls and well-being to their lives. This prayer is based on hope, the hope that things can and will be better. I pray that all people will remember that even when their circumstances press down around them, they are not defined by their circumstances, and they are not alone. I pray that they have choices.