The power of your voice

Guest commentary by Jeff McLain

Too often, we underestimate the power of our voices. And this past Easter, I was reminded just how beautiful our voices can sound.

Because my wife belongs to the church choir, I was enlisted as their sound guy. I was positioned at the soundboard, adjusting the knobs and sliders, preparing for the choir to begin, when I heard the beautiful sound. Now, our church often features praise and hymns with accompanying instruments but, on Easter morning, the choir sang a capella, allowing the pure power of their voices to capture the hearts and minds of all in attendance. I had heard the choir rehearse those songs dozens of times, over and over, but it never seemed to catch my attention the way it did that day when the group really came alive—their voices louder and stronger than in any practice. They were perfectly hitting their points of balanced harmony and it just sounded amazing. Without music, their voices were powerful.

As I sit here today working on this blog, I am reminded of the powerful sound those voices made and how we all have the ability to make our voices heard. Sometimes, the most unexpected voices harbor the most impact. Unfortunately, we allow ourselves to be convinced—by negative self-talk and others—into thinking that we don’t have the calling to share our voice. Sylvester Stallone once spoke about dealing with this very self-limiting conclusion. He is probably best known for creating and starring in the iconic role of “Rocky,” a goodhearted underdog from the streets of my favorite city, Philadelphia, who becomes the world’s heavyweight champion. Stallone said, “I'm not handsome in the classical sense. The eyes droop, the mouth is crooked, the teeth aren't straight, the voice sounds like a Mafioso pallbearer, but somehow it all works.” His words are so true. You don’t have to be anything special to share your voice, and your voice is the most accessible measure to making a difference in the world.

I was reminded again of that power as I recorded the weekly Rock for Life Netcast in the studio at American Life League, our online radio show of news, pro-life music and commentary. As a grassroots organization, we not only encourage others to share their voices, but we also equip and mobilize other voices to be heard. One project I am particularly proud of is called “Tell Your Pro-Life Story,” which allows individuals, sometimes students, to share their feelings about abortion. More times than not, they talk about their personal experiences or the oppression they encountered when speaking out.  

Sometimes, the hardest challenge for people who want to begin pro-life activism is deciding where to start. ALL has a great how-to guide on its web site that will help. And if you tend to wear your heart on your sleeve, like Rocky, why not make your first foray into activism during National Pro-Life T-Shirt Week, Tuesday, April 27 through Monday, May 3? NPLTW was organized by ALL to increase awareness of the personhood of the child in the womb and the tragedy of abortion. It is only when we get our nation thinking in those terms that we will be able to restore the right to life of our preborn brothers and sisters. By wearing a pro-life T-shirt in public places, you can help to accomplish that goal. The shirt is, of course, a great conversation starter and a chance for you to then share your voice. This RFL video will tell you more about NPLTW, which also features a fun “Yo! Where’s the Shirt?” (said in my most Rocky-like voice) contest. Depending upon how daring you choose to be in this photo scavenger hunt, you could win an iPod Touch!

Proverbs 24:10-12 reminds us that we are all called to make our voices heard and work for change:

If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength! Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, "But we knew nothing about this,” does not He Who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He Who guards your life know it? Will He not repay each person according to what he has done?

There have been more stories than I can ever recall here, where people have done the simplest thing, such as putting a pro-life bumper sticker on their car or wearing a pro-life T-shirt, and it has been enough to make someone else think twice about having an abortion. In 2002, I remember talking to some kids on the street. I decided to share my feelings on the issue of abortion. Later that night, one of them came knocking on my door with tears streaming down her face. Her mom had forced her to have an abortion some years ago, and she had never been able to move past the nightmares she had or the deep-rooted pain. We talked and prayed, and I put her in touch with Rachel’s Vineyard. Because I opened up, that girl was able to put over five years of hurt, shame and isolation behind her and move on. Now, hopefully, she will share her voice and offer healing to other women out there.

God works miracles through all of us. His work is like a big orchestra—we just have to be willing to become His instrument and allow Him to use us and work through us. Please consider taking up the instrument of your voice and sharing it.

Jeff McLain is Rock For Life’s tour manager and head of artist development. Find out more by visiting