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Archive for the ‘2010 Spring Campaign’ Category

DAY 33: ‘They only cared about my money’

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Even though 40 Days for Life involves a lot of hard work, it’s always worth it — especially when faithful people are determined to carry out the mission despite hardships and challenges.

That’s certainly the case in Toms River, New Jersey … a community that’s currently conducting its fourth 40 Days for Life campaign.

“Over 460 people have signed up for at least an hour to participate in this spring’s vigil,” said Sandy in Toms River. “This year is well over double the number of commitments from our very first campaign in the fall of 2008.”

And that number does NOT include many more people who are praying and fasting on their own, or helping the local effort in other ways.

Vigil participants have seen firsthand what “choice” is all about. They recently met a woman who was arriving for an abortion appointment — in tears.

She already had a 15-month-old baby. She and her husband were having financial problems. She’d had mental health issues after the birth of her last child and “could not handle another baby.”

As the group was assuring her that all the necessary resources would be available, she admitted she didn’t want to have the abortion. But as she started to walk toward the parking lot, one of the abortion center workers intercepted her and steered her towards the building.

Vigil participants prayed even more intensely, some even dropping to their knees.

One of the prayer volunteers then found the woman behind the abortion center. She assured him that she was just calling her husband to have him pick her up.

She said, “Those people in there do not care about me. They only care about my money and taking my baby from me.” She said she would be back to show the abortion center workers her new baby — and to join the vigil.

As a testimony to the fact that 40 Days for Life is making a huge impact in Toms River, vigil participants have recently been joined by two women with “keep abortion legal” signs.

“It is so difficult to understand how they could possibly rationalize and justify the taking of a totally defenseless life, let alone promote this killing so passionately,” Sandy noted. “It becomes even more apparent the spiritual battle we are up against.”

It’s also telling that these two have only been on the sidewalk on warmer, sunny days. “Not surprisingly,” said Sandy, “they decided not to join us on a cold and rainy day while at least 30 people sacrificed their comfort for the cause of life.”

Yes, it’s a sacrifice. It’s hard. But it’s important. It’s necessary. And it works! Thank you for all you’re doing in response to God’s call.

Today’s devotional is from Fr. Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life.

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DAY 33 INTENTION
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Let us affirm the unborn children by our language.

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SCRIPTURE
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Anyone who says to his brother, “Raca,” is answerable to the Sanhedrin… anyone who says, “You fool!” will be in danger of the fire of hell.

– Matthew 5:22

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REFLECTION by Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life
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Before the schoolyard bully beats up his victim, he calls him names. This is a way to dehumanize the victim, and therefore make it easier to justify attacking him.

In this verse from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that using dehumanizing language is sinful. “Raca” was an Aramaic term of contempt.

The respect and love we are called to have for other human lives is not limited to action alone; it also has to manifest itself in language.

Professor William Brennan, in his book “Dehumanizing the Vulnerable: When Word Games Take Lives,” traces the dehumanizing language used to oppress various groups of people in history, such as our African-American brothers and sisters, or our Jewish brothers and sisters in the Holocaust.

He then shows that the same kind of dehumanizing language is used against the unborn, who have been called “parasites,” “tissue,” and “medical waste,” among other things.

What are we to do instead? We are to affirm one another, including the unborn, with ennobling language that inspires respect and love.

The unborn are precious children, they are our brothers and sisters, they are the image of God. Let us multiply the language of affirmation, as we hasten to the day of their protection!

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PRAYER
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Lord, we ask your forgiveness for any times our words have dehumanized our brothers and sisters.

We also ask you to send your grace to those who speak and write in degrading terms about the children in the womb. Convert those who do not see the dignity of these children.

Loosen the tongues of those who do not know how to acknowledge the humanity and sacredness of these tiny lives.

Keep us all aware of the power of language, and help us to use it rightly in the cause of life and justice. We pray through Christ our Lord, Amen.

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PRINTABLE DEVOTIONAL
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To download today’s devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends:

http://40daysforlife.com/docs/spring2010day33print.pdf

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Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Director
40 Days for Life

PS: Are you a first-time participant in 40 Days for Life? If so, thanks for joining the campaign! Please share your impressions by replying below.

DAY 32: Pray for Planned Parenthood

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Planned Parenthood often receives special focus during a 40 Days for Life campaign. It is the largest abortion chain in the United States, and according to its most recent annual report, it performed 305,310 abortions during a 12-month period.

During this 40 Days for Life campaign alone, there are vigils being conducted at 76 Planned Parenthood locations.

Two of those sites are in Houston, Texas. One is an office building that’s being refurbished into one of the largest abortion centers in the Western Hemisphere.

No abortions have been performed there yet — but already, a baby has been saved.

Fr. Carlos in Houston tells of a 17-year-old who showed up recently, telling vigil participants she was there for an abortion. “She didn’t realize the clinic was not open ‘for business’ yet,” he said.

Her boyfriend was pressuring her into an abortion. “She was going to go through with it,” Fr. Carlos said, “because she didn’t know what else to do.”

The Gabriel Project quickly rounded up support for this young mother and her child.

Members of a local church have already placed a billboard near the new Planned Parenthood mega-center. It reads, “Take my hand, not my life.”

Here’s a photo of that billboard:

The second 40 Days for Life location in Houston is a Planned Parenthood abortion center. It was there that Mikel Fair, a local video director, said he was inspired to put together a short feature on the 40 Days for Life campaign.

“It was a rewarding experience,” he said, “and I hope that this video will encourage other pro-lifers like myself to take a peaceful stand against abortion centers throughout the world, in a kind and loving way through prayer.”

There’s a 40 Days for Life vigil going on at another reported Planned Parenthood construction site in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The local newspaper reported on this campaign’s midpoint rally.

“Planned Parenthood makes teens believe that sex is recreational,” local volunteer Charles Gorski said. “They’re basically saying if you get pregnant by accident, just take care of it by killing your baby.”

Click here to read the full story:

http://tinyurl.com/ylrahzl

The 40 Days for Life vigil in Canton, Ohio is at a Planned Parenthood center that does not perform surgical abortions. And that raises many questions.

A young woman, who was waiting outside the building, asked the prayer volunteers, “How much do you guys get paid to stand out here?”

“We do not get paid,” the vigil participant answered. “We stand out here in the cold and snow to save the lives of unborn babies.”

The woman responded, “They don’t do that here, do they?”

“This Planned Parenthood refers, suggests and counsels women to abort their baby,” the volunteer explained, “and a portion of every dollar spent for services in this facility helps to kill the unborn.”

“She was shocked and disgusted,” said Linda in Canton. “She thanked us and went back to the building to wait. A seed was planted.”

Here’s a picture of the vigil in Canton:

Today’s devotional is from Rev. Paul Stallsworth, president of Lifewatch (United Methodist Church).

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DAY 32 INTENTION
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May we come to know that divine life, in relationship, creates human life.

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SCRIPTURE
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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

– John 1:1-3

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REFLECTION by Rev. Paul Stallsworth, Lifewatch
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“In the beginning” was God.

Always, before all times, there was God.

This particular God — the God of the Bible, the God of St. John’s Gospel — is different from all other gods. This God is alive and full of life.

This God is not the picture of deadness and death, aloneness and isolation.

This God is the picture of life, relationship, and unity. For within this God, within this one God, there are three divine persons who live, who love, and who work — together. This is the glorious mystery of the Trinity.

The Trinity means divine life. The Trinity means three, living Persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — who relate to each other. The Trinity means mutual love and service among three Persons.

The Word was always with God the Father. This Word was, is, and will be the Trinity’s second person. The Word is also the Son of God or, as revealed in time, Jesus Christ.

God the Father and God the Son live, love, and work for each other. As one, they create “all things” together: the Father creates all things, including all human life, through the Son.

So the Father, through the Son, creates all human lives. The little one swimming in his mother’s womb, the infant smiling in his father’s arms, the child crying in pain in a hospital bed, the energetic teen running another mile, the old man gasping for his last breath — all were created, at their beginning, by the Father through the Son.

No exceptions. Divine life creates human life.

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PRAYER
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O God, may we always be quick to call you Father. And when we call you father, let your Spirit remind us that we, and all people, from their beginning to their last day, are your children.

We praise you, Father, that you sent your Son to reveal to the world that all people are His brothers and sisters, that all people are your children. Through Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

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PRINTABLE DEVOTIONAL
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To download today’s devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends:

http://40daysforlife.com/docs/spring2010day32print.pdf

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Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Director
40 Days for Life

PS: How is 40 Days for Life changing your community? Your church? How is it changing YOU? Please reply below with your good news.

DAY 31: Outnumbered by love

Friday, March 19th, 2010

For a day when abortions are typically scheduled, last Saturday was, by usual standards, not very busy at the abortion center in Raleigh, North Carolina where a 40 Days for Life prayer vigil is taking place. One vigil participant noted there were only six clients. In fact, the facility had more employees on hand than clients.

The day before, it appeared that there was a staff meeting in progress at the abortion center and the number of clients was — ZERO!

“Fridays and Saturdays are typically their busiest days,” said Mary in Raleigh. “To have maybe six clients on Saturday and zero on Friday is very interesting to me and makes me wonder if the dynamics are changing.”

It is very clear, however, that the dynamics OUTSIDE are changing. Two area churches had adopted the day last Saturday.

Thanks to these two churches …

… 213 people turned out to pray on the sidewalk …

… on this one day alone!

“After four campaigns — this one being the fifth — the increase of prayer warriors has been phenomenal,” Mary said. More vigil hours are being covered, and the number of full days adopted by churches has increased by 40 percent.

“For this I thank you,” she said. “Your prayers are working. We don’t always see them, but they are working. I can say this with confidence because God desires this from each of us.”

God indeed desires this from each of us. That is what is drawing people to the 40 Days for Life vigils. And He responds with His grace to let you know you’re making a difference — even if the only creatures that seem to notice are the animals.

“There is a large yellow or orange cat that keeps vigil with me on the sidewalk at nights,” said a man who frequently prays from midnight to 6 a.m. at the 40 Days for Life site in Reno, Nevada.

“An owl perches himself on the power pole across the street and hoots at me every pass I make in front of the clinic,” he said. “I pace while I pray — and he continues to hoot, as if in agreement. I want to report to you that it is very powerful at night.”

Praying at the very doorstep of the places where innocent lives are destroyed is indeed very powerful. 40 Days for Life taps into the spiritual value of covering these abortion centers in prayer — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When you make that sort of sacrifice, it DOES make a difference!

God hears your prayers — and answers them when, where and how they’re needed most.

Have you had an opportunity to pray at a 40 Days for Life vigil yet? There’s still plenty of time!

Please click here to find the location nearest you:

http://40daysforlife.com/location.cfm

Today’s devotional is from Carmen Pate, a member of the 40 Days for Life board of directors.

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DAY 31 INTENTION
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Pray for opportunities to share with an abortion-minded woman that the newness of life she is seeking is found only in Christ.

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SCRIPTURE
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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.

– 2 Corinthians 5:17

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REFLECTION by Carmen Pate, 40 Days for Life
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An unexpected pregnancy is perceived by many young women as the end of their life as they know it. News of an unexpected pregnancy pulls the rug from under her well laid plans.

Sadly, these women may choose abortion as a matter of self-preservation, believing that an abortion will help return life to normal and give them opportunity to start anew.

They don’t see abortion as killing a child, but rather as saving their own life. Of course, abortion will not bring the newness of life they are seeking, but instead will bring death to their child, lifelong regret, and unexpected — possibly devastating — consequences to their own life.

Abortion will be the choice made if we don’t meet them at the crossroad between life and death with a better way.

Almost without exception, these young women are looking for love, acceptance, and to be valued.

In their efforts to have those needs met, they have become promiscuous. Most, if honest, will admit the needs were only met momentarily, if at all, during their brief encounter, and afterward the needs returned unmet.

The truth is, only Christ loves them unconditionally with an everlasting love. Only Christ will accept them as they are, and only Christ sees them for their true value in Him.

He has a perfect plan for each woman and her child if only she will allow Christ to transform her life as she surrenders to Him.

No, an unexpected pregnancy is not the end of life, but rather can be the beginning of two beautiful lives if God’s plan for them is given opportunity to unfold.

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PRAYER
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Heavenly Father, you give us a new song, a new purpose, a new direction, a new perspective.

You remind us that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Christ came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly.

Give us boldness to share this Good News with those at the crossroads. May they choose life for their children and enjoy newness of life in You. Because of Christ we pray, Amen.

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PRINTABLE DEVOTIONAL
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To download today’s devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends:

http://40daysforlife.com/docs/spring2010day31print.pdf

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Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Director
40 Days for Life

PS: How have you been personally — and spiritually — affected by 40 Days for Life? Please reply below if you have a story to share.

DAY 30: Guided by the Holy Spirit

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Last Saturday’s message dealt with the presence of children at 40 Days for Life prayer vigils, and how some people question the idea of having children pray outside the abortion centers. As always, the Holy Spirit has provided the final word: Bring the kids!

Ernie and Mary Beth are the coordinators of 40 Days for Life in Pensacola, Florida. And wherever you see Ernie and Mary Beth, you see their four children. And of course, they were at the abortion facility this past Saturday — the day that our e-mail message was about children praying at the vigils.

The first good sign on this very windy day in Pensacola was the fact that the abortion center’s parking lot was half empty. It’s usually jam-packed. So that means fewer abortion appointments.

Before the day was over, FIVE MOTHERS decided to reject abortion and spare their children!

In one instance, a group of women drove up in two cars. One got out, turned towards the vigil participants and asked, “Why do you have children out here?”

Ernie replied, “They are here praying for you and to remind everyone that children are a wonderful gift.” She stomped away.

Just a minute later, one of the women from this group drove away — very angry. The others from the first car came out the front door with a woman who had been inside the abortion facility. Ernie said that’s another good sign. “Anyone that comes out the front door has NOT had an abortion.”

The same woman who questioned the presence of the children did so again: “Why don’t you get these kids away from here?”

Ernie answered, “We love you! We are here praying for you and your friends.”

As they drove out, the young woman who had left the abortion facility gave a big thumbs-up outside her open window. She had indeed chosen life!

“This spring, my four children, who have been with us every day during all four 40 Days for Life campaigns in Pensacola, have begun to understand the importance of prayer in front of the abortion facility,” Ernie said. “My two oldest — 8 and 6 — have really been praying a lot this spring with us.”

It was Ernie’s children that the angry woman was complaining about. And it’s no wonder. The children’s prayers may have made a world of difference to that young mother who left the abortion center, determined to let her own child live.

“I believe my children were used by the Holy Spirit to change this woman’s mind,” he said. “Children do have a tremendous impact on the mothers and fathers that enter abortion facilities. Thank you, God, for the wonderful gifts you have given me in my life — my wonderful children and wife. I am so proud of them all!”

Today’s devotional is from Rev. Clenard Childress of Life Education and Resources Network.

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DAY 30 INTENTION
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Let us pray that pastors may not be distracted from the priority of caring for human lives.

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SCRIPTURE
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In those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.

– Acts 6:1

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REFLECTION
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More folks learning left some yearning.

It is the dawning of a new day. There is much excitement in Jerusalem. Many who dedicated themselves to the faith became disciples (the word disciple means “learner”).

The unprecedented church growth was miraculous and undoubtedly brought much satisfaction to the new leadership. The apostles, however, were about to experience growing pains in their master plan of evangelism.

Projects that engage the community, especially those that are evangelistic in nature, are high on the list of priorities for every duty-bound pastor.

Church attendance is a constant concern for every pastor and often his or her worth is measured by it. Unfortunately, just as the original twelve pastors in Acts, they can be so focused on getting people in that they inadvertently end up pushing some people out.

Murmuring is a deplorable deterrent to a harmonious fellowship, yet God used it to get the disciples attention. Those that needed daily attention due to their age and social status were being neglected.

This neglect of the Hellenist widows during the daily distribution of food was causing undue grief and needed to be corrected by the leadership. By God’s grace the problem was dealt with, but the lesson remains.

And during these 40 days, let us pray that today’s church not make the same mistake of forgetting the contributions of our seniors, or the needs of the weakest among us, the unborn.

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PRAYER
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Father, in the Church’s desire to engage our communities with the Gospel let her not disengage from those who need their care and company the most.

Let us gain wisdom from those who have gone before us and cherish their experiences and perspectives. Help us to appreciate every soul in the body of Christ and minister properly to everybody. Amen.

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PRINTABLE DEVOTIONAL
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To download today’s devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends:

http://40daysforlife.com/docs/spring2010day30print.pdf

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Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Director
40 Days for Life

PS: Have children made an impact at 40 Days for Life in your community? Please share your story by replying below.

DAY 29: Courageous and charitable witness

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Outside abortion centers, faithful volunteers are praying for God to protect women and their babies from the tragedy that awaits inside. Inside these facilities, staffers are scrambling to find volunteers to shield their clients from people they refer to as “anti-life zealots,” who are peacefully standing in prayer.

It seems to be happening more during this current 40 Days for Life campaign than it has at any time in the past — and that’s a credit to the success of your prayerful efforts.

Nancy says she’s seen it at the 40 Days for Life vigil in Plattsburgh, New York.

Here’s a picture of volunteers praying in Plattsburgh:

“Planned Parenthood employees call in ‘escorts’ when they see us appear,” she said. “Escorts — in their minds — are needed to ’safely’ bring in the clients, as they feel the need to ‘protect’ them from the peaceful pro-life prayers! It’s quite a show on their part.”

Mary has seen it as well. When she went to take part in the 40 Days for Life vigil in Canton, Ohio recently, she and the other vigil participants “were joined by two young men carrying signs of hate.”

The men were trying to stand in the way of the people praying, all the while laughing and saying hateful things. “I told one young man that I would pray for him — but he didn’t seem to hear me or to care,” Mary said. “I tried to keep getting around them with my sign but they were relentless and it almost became a game — a circus act, if you will.”

Mary said it’s best to ignore protesters — just pray silently and “stand firm in the truth of what we are doing together — saving lives.”

Here’s a picture of 40 Days for Life volunteers in Canton:

At the 40 Days for Life vigil in Providence, Rhode Island, Joanne said a Planned Parenthood worker confronted a prayer volunteer who was carrying an “I regret my abortion” sign. The employee argued that this woman had no “right” to regret her abortion!

“The employee joined the escorts near me to ridicule her for having had eight children,” Joanne said, “even saying vulgar things against her motherhood.”

As the worker and the escorts continued to mock the woman with the sign, Joanne pulled her aside “to assure her that God was blessing her greatly.”

Just at that moment, one of the women that the escorts had been trying to “protect” came bursting out of the abortion center.

“It’s so scary in there,” she said. “This is the second time I’ve come for an abortion and couldn’t do it. I was in the room and on the table, and I couldn’t do it — so I left. Thank you for being here. God bless you!”

“What would we do without the courageous and charitable witness of faithful volunteers?” asked Joanne. “I am always awed to stand with you who are sent by the Lord for this work!”

Today’s devotional is from Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life.

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DAY 29 INTENTION
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We pray for the grace to be strong when others ridicule or oppose us.

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SCRIPTURE
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Anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

–Luke 14:27

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REFLECTION by Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life
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To stand up for what is right means we stand against what is wrong, and that means that those who love what is wrong will oppose us, just as they opposed Christ. Taking up the cross means we continue speaking and standing for the right even when that opposition comes.

We experience this, in particular, when we are out on the streets, where people are not expecting the pro-life message and where they did not go to hear it. We must remember to never take the opposition personally.

When people ridicule or yell at us, we might get a guilty feeling or be tempted to think we did something wrong. We did not.

The insults are not being hurled at us personally, but rather at the truth of what we are standing for, and at the demands of the moral law.

There are many who are trying to run away from those demands, or who have managed to tuck the abortion problem away into a distant corner of their minds where it can no longer disturb them.

By standing publicly for the cause of life, we have short-circuited that denial and frustrated those efforts to ignore the issue. Therefore, some will be angry, perhaps not fully realizing why.

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PRAYER
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Lord, thank you for the grace of being pro-life, and of standing strong when others may ridicule or oppose me.

During this 40 Day campaign, may your peace fill my soul, especially when I may endure the opposition of others, and may I become more like your crucified and risen Son. Amen.

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PRINTABLE DEVOTIONAL
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To download today’s devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends:

http://40daysforlife.com/docs/spring2010day29print.pdf

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Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Director
40 Days for Life

PS: What’s new with 40 Days for Life in your city? Please share the good news by leaving a comment below.

DAY 28: Meet two saved babies!

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Over the last few days, I was on a whirlwind tour of Southern California — from Fresno down to San Diego. In addition to speaking at two pregnancy center banquets, I was able to visit numerous 40 Days for Life sites and meet for dinner with several dozen local 40 Days for Life campaign leaders. It was a very hope-filled trip!

I brought along my pocket camcorder and shot footage all along the way — and just posted a highlight video for you.

During the short video, you will see:

  • Photos of two baby boys saved during a previous 40 Days for Life campaign who were born a week ago — on the same day
  • A 40 Days for Life location where 22 babies have been saved and the abortionist resigned
  • A small group of faithful volunteers who had two women change their minds and choose life shortly after I left their vigil site
  • A campaign that has seen 7 lives saved thus far
  • And much, much more!

I really think you will be blessed by this video.

As you can see, there are miracles taking place in many, many places were people are joining together to pray and fast for an end to abortion.

As they pray outside the abortion centers, people are beginning to understand that the woman who seeks an abortion is often a woman who has simply run out of hope.

One such woman saw people praying at the 40 Days for Life vigil recently in Indianapolis, Indiana. She got out of her car, walked up to them at a rapid pace … then hugged one of the vigil participants and started to cry.

This prayer volunteer — Kathy — called Eileen, the local coordinator, for help. At Eileen’s suggestion, Kathy then handed her phone to the sobbing woman.

“She then started telling me that she had done something terrible,” Eileen said, “and that the father of the baby — her daughter’s boyfriend — told her that she must get an abortion.”

Eileen told her that if she did, she would feel even worse and would regret it forever. “I tried to encourage her that at this point,” she said. “She could still do the right thing — the thing her heart was telling her to do — and that God would take care of her and the baby.”

After lunch with Kathy, the woman went home. She called Kathy later to thank her — and to say she was not going to abort her twins!

“I have never met a woman who WANTED to have an abortion,” said Eileen.

The volunteers didn’t know it at the time, but this woman had sat alone in her car outside of Planned Parenthood for two hours — crying.

When Kathy drove up, the woman saw a sign on Kathy’s car that said, “Pregnant? Need help?”

“It gave her hope,” said Eileen. “She jumped out of her car to run to Kathy for help. We never know what God will use to reach out to us.”

Today’s devotional is from Carmen Pate, a member of the 40 Days for Life board of directors.

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DAY 28 INTENTION
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Pray that those standing in peaceful vigil will extend mercy and grace to others as they remember that Christ did not treat us as our sins deserve.

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SCRIPTURE
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“You have heard it was said, ‘you shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

– Matthew 5:43-44

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REFLECTION by Carmen Pate, 40 Days for Life
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Perhaps it is obvious by now that not everyone thinks this campaign is a great idea! In fact, those on the front lines standing in peaceful vigil are perhaps being cursed and hated for what God has called you to do.

Because we are all fallen creatures, our natural response may not be as Christ-like as we would hope it would be.

So, how do we keep our natural response in check, while allowing the Holy Spirit to empower us to love, bless, do good, and pray for those who hate us or would do us harm?

Consider first the Holiness of God.

It seems that sin has clouded our ability to think clearly about God’s nature. We simply don’t have a clue of how outraged God is by our sin, what an insult sin is to His person, or how sin fires the flames of His wrath.

Praise God that He didn’t leave us in our depravity destined for His divine wrath!

Ephesians 2:4-5 says, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sin, made us alive together with Christ; by grace you have been saved.”

Because of God’s mercy and grace towards us, we who receive Him receive eternal Hope.

Those who curse you, hate you, spitefully mistreat you and persecute you need that same Hope.

That is the only way we can ever expect them to behave differently.

Ask the Holy Spirit to love them — through you — so they are drawn to the Hope that is in you, that is Christ Jesus.

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PRAYER
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Heavenly Father, may we reflect your character of grace and kindness to those who hate us and curse us.

Guard our hearts and our tongues as we respond in love to words and actions meant to rile us or cause us harm.

Let others see the Hope that is Christ in all we say and do. In His precious name we pray, Amen.

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PRINTABLE DEVOTIONAL
——————————————————

To download today’s devotional as a formatted,
printable PDF to share with friends:

http://40daysforlife.com/docs/spring2010day28print.pdf

——————————————————

Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Director
40 Days for Life

PS: What’s new with the 40 Days for Life campaign in your home town? Please share your updates by replying below.

DAY 27: Your prayers have saved 298 lives

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Every day, we update a number on the 40 Days for Life web page. Every day, that number gets larger and larger. Every day, I am humbled and amazed at what God is doing during this campaign of prayer and fasting.

As of today, that number has grown to …

… 298 babies … and their mothers …

… spared from abortion — that we know of!

People praying at a 40 Days for Life vigil outside an abortion center in Mission Hills, California watched as a woman arrived for an abortion appointment. Volunteers spoke to her briefly as she walked toward the building.

“The woman seemed upset with what she was about to do,” said Patti, “but went in anyway.”

When she came out a bit later, a pro-life counselor asked if she had changed her mind. “No,” she said. “I forgot my Medicare card at home and I have to go get it. The counselor responded, “You know, that’s just God telling you that you’re not supposed to be here.

“The woman acknowledged the comment,” Patti said,” and left crying. She did not return!”

Here’s a photo of the Mission Hills vigil:

“A young lady came up to ask what I thought about abortion,” said Shannon, who coordinates the 40 Days for Life campaign in Memphis, Tennessee.

Shannon asked if she was pregnant, and she said “yes.”

The woman then asked Shannon how long she would be out on the sidewalk. “I told her as long as she needed me to be there.”

The young woman went into the facility … and later walked back out.

Shannon then gave her information about pro-life options. She said she had nowhere to go. “She actually seemed relieved,” Shannon said, “like a big weight was taken off of her to know there was another alternative.”

Here’s a look at the 40 Days for Life vigil in Memphis:

“Part of our community outreach this campaign is focusing on getting the word out about the disproportionate amount of abortions performed on minority women,” said Jeanie, one of the leaders of the 40 Days for Life effort in Syracuse, New York.

She was able to speak to a couple of women who were on their way into the Planned Parenthood abortion center. “I explained that abortion is the leading cause of death for African-Americans,” said Jeanie. “They were obviously surprised by this information and readily decided to seek the help offered at the crisis pregnancy center next door.”

One of them walked by a little while later and simply said “thank you” as a big smile came across her face.

“Yes, there is help and hope,” Jeanie said, “and we can offer this hope to women in very desperate situations.”

Here’s a photo of the vigil in Syracuse:

Thank you for everything you’re doing to support this outreach of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion. It’s working — one life at a time.

Today’s devotional is from Rev. Ben Sheldon, president emeritus of Presbyterians for Life.

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DAY 27 INTENTION
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We pray for the gift of openness to children.

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SCRIPTURE
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Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”

– Genesis 4:8-10

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REFLECTION by Rev. Ben Sheldon, Presbyterians Pro-Life
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God’s intention is that we multiply and fill the earth.

One of the most pernicious lies that sociologists have foisted off on the public is that the earth is becoming overpopulated.

What kind of a sadistic god would create the earth and human creatures on it, only to have them literally reproduce themselves into oblivion?

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our divine Creator, has commanded us to multiply and fill the earth and far from letting the population get out of control, He has, in fact given his human creatures a dominical role over all the lesser creatures.

The “birth control” movement, which had its beginnings with Margaret Sanger in the early years of the last century, has led, in many parts of the world, to a birthrate that is drastically below the normal replacement rate.

God’s Word assures us that children are a blessing, that they are a reward of faithfully trusting and serving God and that they are the crown of their parents’ old age.

The spread of the contraception mentality that has so permeated our culture is, undoubtedly, a factor in the ready acceptance of abortion.

God’s commandment to multiply and fill the earth has never been withdrawn. May He help us to accept the gift of children and give him thanks for every baby who is born into the world.

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PRAYER
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Father of mercy and grace, we thank you for the gift of our children.

Grant that every fiber of our being may rejoice when a new baby, our own or any else’s, is born into the world.

Help us to welcome them as we would welcome you, for whenever a new baby is conceived, another life to bear your image and another voice to praise and worship you, is beginning.

In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

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PRINTABLE DEVOTIONAL
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To download today’s devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends:

http://40daysforlife.com/docs/spring2010day27print.pdf

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Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Director
40 Days for Life

PS: Have you witnessed any lives saved from abortion at the 40 Days for Life vigil in your community? If you have, please DO share your story by responding below.

DAY 26: Love is the way

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

The 40 Days for Life team in El Paso, Texas recently shared Cristina’s story about a very special woman. Simply put, Cristina said her friend Espy “is one of the best sidewalk counselors that I have ever met. I have seen miracles happen through Espy’s work outside of the abortion clinic.”

In 12 years of serving as a sidewalk counselor, Espy always seemed to have exactly the right thing to say in any situation … whether she was speaking to a woman seeking an abortion, to someone suffering in the wake of an abortion — or to a member of the abortion center staff.

In regard to the abortion workers, Espy learned how powerful love is. “Love is the way,” she would say.

“She has given a smile to abortion clinic workers and even hugs,” Cristina said. “Not just that, but she has been there to listen to the clinic workers as they shared their personal problems.” These people know that Espy loves them and prays for them. “She has given her life to the pro-life ministry,” Cristina said.

But Espy hadn’t been seen on the sidewalk for quite a while. About a year ago, she had a stroke. She uses a wheel chair and has difficulty speaking now, but in spite of the challenges she will tell you, “God is good.”

Staff members at the facility have noticed Espy’s absence and have told prayer vigil participants that they were worried about her. Just last week, Espy asked Cristina to take her to the abortion center so she could say hi.

“I called the clinic administrator and let her know that Espy was outside waiting to see all of them,” said Cristina. “To my surprise, the workers walked outside to meet us! Espy with all her heart wanted to give them a hug and a kiss, so she did — and they did, too! Espy was crying — and they were crying, too.”

They gave her many hugs of love and respect. The director, the one that used to confront Espy and the one that used to tell her, “Go home!” now told her, “Espy we miss you. When are we going to see you outside again?”

“This was a miracle,” said Cristina; “a miracle of love. Espy is still working; God is still using Espy to show His love, His mercy, His power. Espy is an example to all of us that want to follow God’s plan.

“She is an example that God is working. God is teaching. God is transforming. God is converting. God is alive inside those places of death. God is alive in Espy! May God bless Espy and the abortion providers that they together with us see Jesus one day, face to face!”

By the way, Espy’s full name is Esperanza. The English translation of this beautiful Spanish name — Hope!

Today’s devotional is from Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life.

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DAY 26 INTENTION
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Pray that we fully recognize in the unborn child our brother, our sister, and we recommit ourselves to care for them.

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SCRIPTURE
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Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”

– Genesis 4:8-10

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REFLECTION
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After Cain committed the first murder in human history, God asked him, “Where is your brother?”

He replied by saying, “I don’t know.”

In 1973, the Supreme Court was asked the same question, and gave the same answer.

Unable to admit that the unborn children are our brothers and sisters, the Supreme Court said in its Roe v. Wade ruling, “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins.”

Boil all that down to three words, and it’s, “I don’t know.”

The question, “Where is your brother?” will be asked at the final judgment. Each person will answer it and be judged by it. May we be judged to have recognized and loved all our brothers and sisters, born and unborn.

By participating in the 40 Days for Life, we have been answering that question each day, going to where our brothers and sisters are killed, and proclaiming that we have a responsibility to them.

By all the pro-life work we will continue to do, we likewise answer that question which reaches from one end of human history to the other.

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PRAYER
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Father, today we hear your voice, and we respond to the question you ask each of us: “Where is your brother?”

We recognize in the unborn child our brother, our sister, and we recommit ourselves today to care for them.

Yes, Father, you have entrusted us to the care of one another. We rejoice that you have given us the grace to respond.

As we work to renew our culture, we look forward to the great day of the coming of your Son, when every eye will see him, even of those who pierced him, and every knee shall bend, and every tongue confess, to the glory of God the Father, that Jesus Christ is Lord! Amen.

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PRINTABLE DEVOTIONAL
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To download today’s devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends:

http://40daysforlife.com/docs/spring2010day26print.pdf

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Have a blessed Sunday, and know how much I appreciate you!

Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Director
40 Days for Life

PS: Are there special people in your town who are making a difference with your 40 Days for Life campaign? Please share the good news by replying below.

DAY 25: What incredible teaching is going on

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Volunteers frequently ask if children should be brought to 40 Days for Life prayer vigils at abortion centers. People sometimes wonder if the horror of abortion is too much for children to handle. But it seems the presence of children is a blessing — to everyone.

A local pastor took his 8-year-old daughter to pray with her teacher and classmates at the 40 Days for Life vigil in Lake Havasu City, Arizona — then listened as she talked about her experience.

“What incredible teaching is going on,” he said.

Joe in Pensacola, Florida shared a similar story on his blog. It was a Saturday, and the abortion facility was packed when he and his 10-year-old son went to pray at the 40 Days for Life vigil.

“I try to use events like this to teach him, but I didn’t have to say too much,” he said. His son understood what was happening.

“He connected the abortions with his 2-year old sister, Anna. He said that our family would be a sad family if Anna had been aborted, because she brings so much joy,” Joe said. “All I could do was agree with him.”

Young adults are delivering a powerful message as well. In Canton, Ohio, a woman drove past the 40 Days for Life vigil with a sign that read, “What about the rape victims?”

Christian, who was praying at the vigil, thought to herself, “What about them?”

She, after all, should know.

“As an 18-year-old,” she said, “I was a victim of date rape. My life changed forever. A lot of what-ifs went through my head, and my first thought was abortion. I did not know what else to do.”

She soon rejected that option … and gave birth to her son in June 2008.

A year later, Christian thought she was pregnant again. Her fiance’s mother advised an abortion — or else “life as you know it will be over.” She went to Planned Parenthood for a pregnancy test — with her fiance and one-year-old son. “And yet the first thing that the nurse asked me when we walked in was, ‘If you are pregnant, do you want an abortion?’”

Of course, the answer was “No!” She now has a daughter in addition to her son.

“I may have had two kids before the age of 20,” Christian said. “I may have started out as a teen mom and didn’t go to college. But I am now working and going back to school to broaden my career.”

Contrary to the advice she was given, her life is certainly not over. “And if you feel it would be, there are other options to provide your children with happy healthy lives,” she said. “With the power of God’s grace, you can make the right choices, and He will guide you every step of the way.”

As the pastor in Arizona said — what incredible teaching is going on!

Today’s devotional is from Carmen Pate, a member of the 40 Days for Life board of directors.

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DAY 25 INTENTION
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Pray that God will bless us with His gift of strength as we respond in obedience to His call.

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SCRIPTURE
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Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.

If you say, “surely we did not know this,” does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?

And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?

– Proverbs 24:11-12

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REFLECTION by Carmen Pate, 40 Days for Life
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In this age of technologically advanced communication, ignorance of human rights abuses is no excuse.

We know there are persecuted Christians in China, there is genocide in Darfur, and there are babies aborted and women and families devastated right in our own communities.

“But I can’t save them all,” you say.

God isn’t asking you to. He has equipped each of us with time, talent, and treasure to do what we can when He provides the opportunity.

He has given us His Holy Spirit to empower us as we abide in Him. He is asking us to be on His side in speaking out and protecting those who can’t protect themselves.

When we are obedient to His calling to get in on the work He is doing, we will experience intimacy with Him in a whole new way.

Our faith will increase as we see God at work! You have responded to His call during this 40 Days for Life campaign.

Let your efforts be for His pleasure and His purposes. Pray without ceasing!

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PRAYER
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God Almighty, we pray for continued guidance and strength as we intercede on behalf of the young women and their babies who are stumbling to the slaughter.

Open the eyes of the mother’s heart to see her child as you do – a precious gift to be treasured.

Let her feel Your loving arms around her and may she be assured that you have a plan and a future for her and her child.

Give her reason not to enter the abortion clinic.

Give her wisdom and discernment to find life options through a local pregnancy care center and may she boldly choose life.

Thank you, Lord, for hearing our prayer. Because of Your Son’s sacrifice we pray, Amen.

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PRINTABLE DEVOTIONAL
——————————————————

To download today’s devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends:

http://40daysforlife.com/docs/spring2010day25print.pdf

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Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Director
40 Days for Life

PS: How has your community been blessed during 40 Days for Life? Please let me know! You may share your reply below.

DAY 24: Wherever you are … thank you!

Friday, March 12th, 2010

I’m truly amazed at the many expressions of encouragement we are hearing from people who are joining this 40 Days for Life effort and praying for an end to abortion — not only at the abortion centers, but also at home, in church, at school, at work.

There are THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of you who are making 40 Days for Life a special time of prayer and fasting

Laura wrote to say that every day, she sits and quietly prays with the 40 Days for Life devotionals. “I must say how powerful the devotions are,” she said. “I have been praying through tears. Thank you, dear Lord, for giving me the opportunity to be a small part of this great ministry for life.”

“I can’t get out for very long periods of time due to an illness,” said Ross, “but I’m offering up my cross these days for the 40 Days for Life campaign and an end to abortion. God bless all of you who stand up for Jesus and for life.”

Les said he lives far from the nearest abortion facility and does not have an opportunity to participate in the sidewalk vigils. “But please know that my wife and I are observing the 40-day fast and are praying daily for the success of this campaign.

“Your stories of success are heart-warming and encouraging,” he said, “and we pray that many more of these scenarios will be played out during the remainder of the campaign and beyond.”

Betty said her husband is in the hospital, so she naturally spends most of her time with him. “So with limited time to appear — and the bad back of an 86-year-old woman — I can only do so much. I pray that you keep up your good work,” she said. “God bless you all!”

God bless you too, Betty — and your husband as well. Your prayers are much appreciated.

Michelle is praying that students at a school in her area will be able to join the 40 Days for Life vigil at the local Planned Parenthood. “They already pray at school,” she said, “but would like to be present for those going in as a witness for life.”

Isn’t it amazing that people WORLDWIDE are praying with you — and for you?

“Just to let you all know, your efforts greatly encourage us here in Brazil,” said Mary. “We are facing a law to make abortion legal in this great country. Please pray that this law will NOT get passed here. We are praying to that end and also praying for all of you there are who are the frontlines of LIFE.”

To each of you, no matter where you are or where you’re praying, I simply say …

… THANK YOU!

Today’s devotional is from Rev. Ben Sheldon, president emeritus of Presbyterians for Life.

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DAY 24 INTENTION
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Pray that we may realize the generational impact of abortion.

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SCRIPTURE
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Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer and Rebekah his wife conceived.

The children struggled together within her, and she said,” If it is thus, why do I live?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.

And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples, born of you, shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger.”

– Genesis 25:21-23

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REFLECTION by by Rev. Ben Sheldon
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What an answer to prayer!

Who dares to say that the unborn are not human, with distinct personality and character right from the moment of conception?

This account emphasizes the vitality and uniqueness of the twins who, because of Isaac’s prayer for his wife, were conceived in Rebekah’s womb.

When Rebekah was told by the Lord that the older would serve the younger twin, God already knew that Jacob and Esau would lead turbulent and conflicted lives.

God knows us and knows all about us, including our personality and disposition long before we are actually born, indeed, from the moment we are conceived in our mother’s womb.

What a tragedy of gargantuan proportions that babies, planned and endowed by the Creator, with distinct and unique personalities and with, perhaps, a future and destiny intended for greatness, have their lives snuffed out by cruel abortionists before they ever see the light of day!

May our prayers that the dreadful scourge of abortion in our land may vanish be as fervent as Isaac’s were for Rebekah.

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PRAYER
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O, God, you formed us in our mother’s womb and planned a unique and special life and purpose for each of us, and we do thank you.

Grant that we may pray and work for an end to abortion, especially in these 40 days, so that no unborn baby you have made may fail to achieve your divine intention for him or her because of intentional abortion.

We pray this for the sake of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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PRINTABLE DEVOTIONAL
——————————————————

To download today’s devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends:

http://40daysforlife.com/docs/spring2010day24print.pdf

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Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Director
40 Days for Life

PS: So how has 40 Days for Life affected you and your community these past few weeks? Please share the good news below.

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