by Mary Szoch
February 18, 2021
Yesterday around the country, 40 Days for Life campaigns will kick-off. Started in Byran/College Station, Texas, 40 Days for Life is a prayer and fasting campaign with the goal of bringing about the end to the atrocity of abortion.
Throughout biblical history, God has used the timeframe of 40 days and 40 nights to change the hearts of people. In Genesis, Noah spent 40 days and 40 nights in the ark. In Exodus, Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights on Mount Sinai where he received the Ten Commandments. In the Book of Jonah, Jonah proclaims to the Ninevites that in 40 days Nineveh will be overthrown. In Matthew, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. Over and over again, God uses the timeframe of 40 days and 40 nights. Inspired by this, 40 Days for Life was founded.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus casts a demon out of a child. The disciples come to Jesus and ask why they could not cast out the demon. Jesus replies, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21). Led by these words, 40 Days for Life’s mission of prayer, fasting, constant vigil, and community outreach arose. During the 40 days, volunteers keep peaceful, prayerful, round-the-clock vigil outside abortion businesses across the country. Churches, families, and friends agree to pray together for an end to abortion, and people of faith are invited to fast as a sacrifice to bring about the end to abortion.
Since 2007, over 18,000 lives have been saved. Over 100 abortion businesses have closed, and over 200 abortion workers have quit as the result of the 40 Days for Life campaign. Clearly, God is still using the timeframe of 40 days to change hearts. To find a 40 Days for Life campaign in your area, go to the Find a 40 Days for Life Vigil page.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when joining a 40 Days for Life campaign.
1. This is a peaceful, prayerful vigil. It seems in 2020 our nation has forgotten how powerful peace and prayerful protests can be. It is especially important that people praying outside abortion businesses remain peaceful and prayerful. As someone is passing the clinic, your witness can either promote deeper thought about abortion, or it can entrench someone more deeply in their belief. Be peaceful and prayerful and let the Lord use you.
2. Bring a buddy. Invite a friend or family member to join you as you pray outside the clinic. Jesus tells us, “Where two or three gather in my name, there I am among them” (Matthew 18:20). In addition to the spiritual help a friend provides, having a second person with you also ensures your safety outside the abortion business.
3. Bring a sign. A well worded sign can touch the hearts of both the women entering the abortion business and the people driving past. If you do not have a pro-life sign, consider making your own. Some great phrases are “Choose Love, Choose Life!”, “Abortion Stops One Heart and Breaks Another”, “God Loves You and Your Baby!”, “Want to Choose Life? I Can Help!”
4. Be open to the Holy Spirit’s promptings. Perhaps as you are praying outside the abortion business, you will be prompted by the Holy Spirit to speak to a man or woman entering the business. If so, do not be afraid! Remember, a woman about to have an abortion is likely terrified. Speak lovingly to her. Perhaps say, “If you’d like to talk about choosing life, I can help you!” Make sure not to yell or say anything hurtful to the woman.
5. Bring the number of your local pregnancy resource center. Always make certain you have the number of your local pregnancy resource center with you when you are praying outside a clinic. If a woman turns to you for help, the pregnancy resource center in your community is the best place to send her. The pregnancy resource center will provide her with the support and resources she needs to choose life and plan to parent or place her child for adoption.
During these next 40 days, prayerfully consider joining 40 Days for Life. Your presence outside the abortion business might just be the sign a woman needs to choose life.