Contraception Through Faith Alone

Some Christian couples choose to rely entirely on prayer to limit the size of their family. This can take two forms. One way is not to use any kind of contraception and simply to trust God that whatever children he gives are his will for that couple. The other way is to decide prayerfully how many children you want, and then to trust God to give you that number in his timing. The issue seems to me to be a little akin to healing. There is no doubt that God can heal miraculously in answer to prayer. There is also no doubt that at times he doesn’t. At times he directs us to use the medical wisdom of doctors and specialists who are able to achieve healing through drugs or surgery. And sometimes there is no healing.

God has given us many methods of contraception, of which contraception through prayer alone is only one. For some couples it has undoubtedly worked; that does not necessarily mean that it is the right method for you. Contraception through prayer is not any more or less worthy, or more or less ‘Christian’ than contraception by conventional methods. It is important that couples who feel they want to use this method are specifically called to it by God — otherwise they are almost certain to find themselves with a baby disturbingly early in their marriage, or with more children than they can afford or handle. In these cases, their faith may take a tumble from which it will be difficult to recover, and they may blame God for their own carelessness.

Joyce Huggett, in Growing into Love, says that shifting the responsibility for contraception onto God’s shoulders is ‘rather like walking into the middle of the road in front of oncoming traffic, trusting God for protection. God delights to protect his children. He also expects adults to behave as adults, to use their common sense and to exercise the freedom of choice with which he invested them.’ Believing that God can limit families by prayer is not enough. If you use this method, you need to be totally convinced that God is specifically calling you to limit your family by prayer. You cannot just casually throw caution to the wind and expect God to take on a responsibility that he may be expecting you to take on.