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Archive for September, 2008

DAY 7: A star appears…

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Over these last 48 hours, the Bereit family has been to four more 40 Days for Life locations: in Vallejo, Napa, Sacramento, and Lake Tahoe, California (I know — it’s a tough job, but somebody has to visit these beautiful places…)

Here are some short audio interviews with each of the local 40 Days for Life leaders who shared amazing and inspirational stories of how God has been working through their efforts as well as photos of the heroic people we’ve met during these stops:

Listen to the Audio Online (click “Play” button to start audio):

Download MP3 (click to play, right-click to save to your computer):

http://www.40daysforlife.com/blog/audio/california2.mp3

Vallejo, CA 40 Days for Life

Vallejo, CA 40 Days for Life

Napa, CA 40 Days for Life

Napa, CA 40 Days for Life

Sacramento, CA 40 Days for Life

Sacramento, CA 40 Days for Life

Reno/Tahoe 40 Days for Life

Reno/Tahoe 40 Days for Life

In addition to the inspiring people we’ve met, we’ve also learned that a little star treatment can help work miracles!

John Anthony is helping lead the 40 Days for Life vigil at Family Planning Associates, the busiest abortion facility in Los Angeles. He knew Saturday would be a difficult day, and was praying as many volunteers as possible would be on hand to stand witness.

Those prayers were answered — and then some — with the arrival of actor Eduardo Verastegui, the star of the movie Bella, and several of his friends.

“Eduardo arrived a little after 8 am and did not stop counseling, praying and encouraging women to choose life for their babies — with love, tenderness, humility and compassion — until a little after noon,” John Anthony said. “God is good — five babies were saved that morning!”

But that isn’t the end of the story. John Anthony said it wasn’t just abortion-minded mothers that caught Eduardo’s attention. “The day had a dramatic ending when eight nurses from the clinic came outside to meet Eduardo!” He spoke with the nurses and gave them copies of his new Spanish language pro-life video, “Dura Realidad.”

“Please pray for these precious turnarounds,” John Anthony asked, “and for the conversion of all clinic workers and for Eduardo — what a courageous witness and backer of courageous words with action!”

Here’s a photo of Eduardo at that 40 Days for Life outside the abortion center on Saturday morning:

Eduardo Verastegui (center) at 40 Days for Life

Eduardo Verastegui (center) at 40 Days for Life

In Los Angeles, lives were saved because a well-known actor answered the Holy Spirit’s call…

…That same day in Little Rock, lives were saved because no one showed up!

Marti says that at the abortion facility in Arkansas’ capital city — one of only two remaining abortion centers in the state — Saturday is usually the deadliest day of the week. But not this week.

“We had quite a surprise on Saturday,” Marti reports, “the clinic never opened. Quite a few of us assembled to pray and it was so odd and so wonderful to see the hours tick by and have no staff or women arriving.”

The clinic’s parking lot was empty. The typical Saturday finds it full. But this Saturday, no one arrived to open the building. No appointments were kept. No abortionist arrived. No babies died!

“We don’t know the reason it did not open, but regardless of the official reason, we are claiming it as an answered prayer,” said Marti. “Clearly, babies’ lives were saved that day. I truly believe that some of the women that would have had an abortion on Saturday will change their minds and not schedule an abortion.”

“Thank you for all that you are doing to bring 40 Days for Life to 179 cities,” she added. “We have truly been blessed in Little Rock, Arkansas.”

Here’s today’s devotional from Fr. Terry Gensemer, the National Director of the Charismatic Episcopal Church for Life…

DAY 7 INTENTION:

May we have a heart and a zeal to save the poor and release the oppressed.

SCRIPTURE:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.

– Luke 4:18-19

REFLECTION by Fr. Terry Gensemer:

This passage is a very familiar one. It has been preached on many occasions, even made popular in books and songs. Though the quote is about Jesus, all Christians take this commission seriously as a directive on how to reach the world with the gospel.

We, like our Savior, are to bring the good news to the poor, the broken hearted, those in captivity, those who cannot see, and the oppressed.

The commission given to us in this passage is clearly a charge to care for those for whom God cares the most. I wonder though, whom do we look for to be touched by the Holy Spirit as we go out into the world?

Who are the poor, if not those unborn children who have been abandoned by their parents before they ever leave the womb?

Who are the broken hearted, if not those unborn children whose only example of love is having their mother take them to an abortion clinic to be destroyed, or the mother of a child who has been deceived by everyone around her into believing that what she is doing is best for her and her child?

Who are the captives, if not those unborn children who are bound over to death by the “choice” of abortion?

Who is more blind than an unborn child in the darkness of a womb that has become a waiting room for their death?

And who is more oppressed than those unborn children whose oppression has been legitimized by their government, their church and even their family and loved ones?

PRAYER:

Lord, You empower us with Your Spirit to do your will in the earth. Send us to the poorest, the most broken, the most captive, the most blind and the most oppressed in the world, the innocent pre-born children in their mother’s wombs that are scheduled for destruction. Help us to bring them healing, liberty, sight and justice through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

We are now one week into 40 Days for Life, and God is already making a powerful impact. Let’s commit to do even more — and save even more lives — in week two!

Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Campaign Director
40 Days for Life

DAY 6: 48 and counting…

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Want to hear some great news this Monday morning?

Thus far, local 40 Days for Life coordinators have reported 48 babies saved from abortion! And reports are still coming in. It’s awesome!

Karen in Oklahoma City tells of a young woman who approached sidewalk counselors outside the clinic. “They could tell she was conflicted and open to their words,” she said.

This young woman was the victim of sexual assault. “She was afraid of carrying a child she did not really want,” said Karen, “but she was also afraid that she might fall in love with her baby if she chose life.”

After the counselors described the free resources available, she asked if she could choose an adoptive family for her baby. The answer was a resounding yes. “The counselors hugged her and thanked her for choosing life for her unborn child,” Karen said. “She left smiling and happy. Praise God!”

Michele in Colorado Springs reports a car drove up to the clinic and two young women got out — a woman scheduled for an abortion and her friend. The friend called out to the people praying outside the clinic, “I’m with you! Pray for her!” And of course they did just that. The two women went inside the clinic, then came back out and talked. They went back in again, and came back out and talked again.

This time, someone shared a scripture verse with them — Isaiah 49:15: “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” After reading this together, the two young women went home. The baby was saved!

Carol in Toms River, New Jersey was praying with a small group outside the clinic when a young couple walked out, quietly talking to one another. “She was crying,” Carol noticed. “He hugged her and then she began to walk down the steps with a smile on her face and tears in her eyes.”

The young woman looked at the vigil volunteers and said, “I could not do it. I just could not do it.” Still, she was afraid of her mother’s reaction, because it was her mother who was pushing the abortion. She also had concerns that her boyfriend might not be able to finish college. “But she took the first step in conquering those fears,” Carol said, “and God will bless her.”

Carol added, “There is much to be said when you realize that our prayers really make a difference. There is much to be said when you know in your heart you are part of God’s plan. If you have not yet gotten involved in 40 Days for Life, I cannot tell you the blessings you will experience and the wonderful people you will meet — all for the glory of God.”

Here’s today’s devotional from Rev. Paul Stallsworth, President of Lifewatch (United Methodist Church)…

DAY 6 INTENTION:

That knowing the shortness of life, all may value it more deeply.

SCRIPTURE:

Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

– Ecclesiastes 12:6-7

REFLECTION by Rev. Paul Stallsworth, Lifewatch:

God is giver of all life. Short lived or long lived, human lives are lived out in this world. The metaphors for death are many. But their meaning is clear and singular: all will die. Even so, death is not the absolute end. It is not the end of the story. For as certainly as God gave life, at death the life or spirit that God gave returns to God.

By God, we are created. For God, we live our given days. To God, we return at the end of our earthly days. And with God, we live through eternity. Clearly, all along the way, this gracious, loving God is with us. No human life is random or alone. No human life was created without purpose. Not one human life is without destiny.

All human lives, acknowledged or not, are related to God — from beginning, to end, throughout eternity. Therefore, in this world, all human lives are to be respected and protected, for their lives are signs of God’s sovereignty.

PRAYER:

O God, we too often try to live in ways that ignore our coming death. We forget that our days are numbered by You, that at the end of our days your judgment awaits, that You are the Lord of our destiny.

Help us to repent daily, and then to live each day in joyful obedience. Lead us to live in the light and promise of eternity. Prepare us to live fully and sacrificially. Prepare us to die faithfully and hopefully, so that we might live forever with You. Through Jesus Christ, who has gone before us, we trust and hope and love and pray, Amen.

Today’s 40 Days for Life devotional can also be downloaded at:
http://40daysforlife.com/docs/fall2008day06print.pdf

If YOU have experienced blessings as a result of your 40 Days for Life involvement this fall, please take a moment to post them as a reply at the bottom of today’s blog posting.

Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Campaign Director
40 Days for Life

DAY 5: God is at work!

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

DAY 5: 

The past two days on the West Coast have been amazing as my family and I have prayed and visited with many faithful 40 Days for Life volunteers in Bakersfield, Fresno, and Monterey, California. 

To help you get a feel for how God is at work in cities like these across the country, I have posted photos from our visits as well as an audio recording of short, inspiring interviews with each of the local campaign leaders here:

Listen to the Audio Online (click “Play” button to start audio):

Download MP3 (click to play, right-click to save to your computer):
http://www.40daysforlife.com/blog/audio/california1.mp3

Bakersfield, CA 40 Days for Life

Bakersfield, CA 40 Days for Life

Fresno, CA 40 Days for Life

Fresno, CA 40 Days for Life

Monterey, CA 40 Days for Life

Monterey, CA 40 Days for Life

Monterey, CA 40 Days for Life

More from Monterey 40 Days for Life

One of the many inspiring stories I heard while out here was from Josh Brahm, the dynamic young man who is coordinating the 40 Days for Life campaign in Fresno, California. Josh shared a story with me that I’d like to share with you.

Here it is in his own words…

I stood outside of Planned Parenthood for about 6 and a half hours today, most of those hours alongside my wife, who is 9 months pregnant. A young, attractive girl started walking toward me from the Planned Parenthood driveway. I smiled at her thinking she was a Planned Parenthood employee. 

The young woman said she wanted to ask me some questions, and I told her that I’d be glad to answer any questions she could think of. She asked why we were out here. At that point I knew she wasn’t a Planned Parenthood employee, because she would have known exactly why we’re out here! I told her that we were there to peacefully pray for an end to abortion. I introduced myself and asked for her name, and she shook my hand saying her name was Ashley.

Then she said, “Well, I changed my mind.” I figured maybe she had become pro-life, so I asked her what she meant by that. Ashley responded, “I was going to have an abortion, but I’m not going to now.” My eyes widened, I gave her a huge smile and told her that she was my new favorite person! (Except for my wife, of course!)

Ashley explained further that she saw a news story on TV about us this morning and knew she couldn’t have an abortion. I hadn’t seen that coverage yet, so I asked her what it was about the story that changed her mind. She said that she saw men and women praying and holding signs and Bibles, and she knew that she couldn’t go through with the abortion. 

Ashley is 16 years old and 5 weeks pregnant. Her parents wanted her to have the abortion and have now kicked her out of their house and taken her cell phone. She’s living with a friend now. I began to tell Ashley about the local pregnancy care center and how much help we personally can offer her as well. I told her, “You’re not alone.”

Josh, thanks to you and your wife for faithfully leading this effort in Fresno, and Ashley — I was so honored to get to meet you while there. Your courage is truly inspiring.

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad!

Here’s today’s devotional from Rev. Ben Sheldon, President Emeritus, Presbyterians Pro-Life…

DAY 5 INTENTION:

May the truth of the final judgment shape our thoughts, priorities, and choices here on earth.

SCRIPTURE:

The King will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”

– Matthew 25:31-46

REFLECTION by Rev. Ben Sheldon:

Caring for others is not optional.

Jesus’ picture of the final judgment concludes with this sobering word: the wicked, who failed to care for others in their various needs (e.g., the hungry, the thirsty, the aliens, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned) will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous who did seek to meet those needs will end up with him, enjoying eternal life.

We know that this was no parable! Jesus has given us fair warning! Everything in God’s Word points to the truth that compassionate concern and practical care for all people, especially for the poor, the destitute, the weak and needy is required of us, if indeed we hope to escape the punishment of the fire of hell.

And who are the poor and needy, if not helpless, unborn babies, as well as the aged and infirm at the other end of life? Surely the “least of these” embraces not only those at both ends of the continuum of life, but all others in between. 

Just how we, as Christ’s true followers, respond to his admonition “inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me” will determine whether we enjoy eternal bliss in his presence or the bleak and dreadful reality of eternal punishment in hell. Nothing in God’s Word could be clearer!

PRAYER:

Gracious and merciful Father, we gladly embrace your Word that counsels us to care for the least of your children, and we renew our dedication to defending the unborn and all whose right to life is compromised by our godless society’s selfish lack of concern. Free us from our own failures and sins so that we will be truly pro-life in every area of our lives. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Have a blessed Sunday!

Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Campaign Director
40 Days for Life

DAY 4: ACTION NEEDED- NYC tries to thwart 40 Days

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

This fall’s 40 Days for Life campaign in New York City has already documented 7 children saved from abortion due to the peaceful vigils…

…And the abortion industry is furious.

On the first day of 40 Days for Life, the pro-abortion Speaker of the New York City Council held a news conference outside city hall with executives from Planned Parenthood, NARAL, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and one of the city’s largest abortion chains (which is currently the focus of a 40 Days for Life vigil.)

The purpose of the press event — to attempt to silence pro-life prayer and free speech outside abortion facilities by proposing a restrictive 15-foot “buffer zone” around all abortion centers in New York City.

The proposed bill would also allow abortion workers to file harassment charges against pro-lifers as well as “ease the burden of proof” currently necessary to prosecute on harassment charges, according to the press release issued by the New York City Council.

This measure flies in the face of both freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

The proposal also appears to target Chris Slattery, who directs 40 Days for Life campaigns in the Bronx and Queens and has a history of effective pro-life activism as president of Expectant Mother Care-EMC FrontLine Pregnancy Centers.

Slattery said, “Volunteer street counselors often hurt abortion businesses by successfully and peacefully dissuading abortion patients from entering their sites when offered free help, education, medical care and housing.”

Chris Slattery has fought similar battles before and is well known for refusing to back down from abortion industry attacks, and he certainly isn’t backing down in this case, either.

Slattery told the media he will vigorously oppose the legislation. “Within minutes of learning of this new proposed bill on Wednesday, I contacted David Bereit, and we have begun assembling a crack legal team and activist support network for a full scale counter-attack against this unfair, biased and blatantly unconstitutional bill,” he said.

ACTION NEEDED:

Please contact the New York City Council immediately at (212) 788-7116 or use the online form posted at: http://snipurl.com/3vsoy 

Ask them to stop the proposed “clinic access” bill that attempts to silence 40 Days for Life and other pro-life efforts.

LEARN MORE…

We’re honored to stand with Chris and his NYC 40 Days for Life team, and hope you will also stand with them by making the call or sending the e-mail today.

Here’s today’s devotional from Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life…

DAY 4 INTENTION:

We ask God that we may understand the concept of justice, as a gift he gives and as a responsibility that shapes our work.

SCRIPTURE:

Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

– Amos 5:24

REFLECTION by Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life:

Justice, a key theme of the Scriptures, is something God does and that we too must do.

When God intervenes to save his people when they are helpless and in slavery in Egypt, he “does justice.” He manifested his justice in the plagues that were sent upon Egypt, whereby Pharaoh was convinced that he must let the people go. Justice is manifested as, in awe and wonder, God’s people see the Red Sea open before them, allow them to pass without even getting their feet wet, and then close again to drown their powerful enemies.

God is a God of Justice; he rescues us when we cannot save ourselves. His justice, above all, is seen in Jesus Christ, who, when we could not save ourselves, rescued us from the kingdom of sin, Satan, death, and hell. The mighty work of Christ on the cross and in the resurrection is the perfect manifestation of God as the God of justice.

We, then, are to be the people of justice; we are to “do justice” by intervening to save the helpless in the name and by the power of the God who saves us who are helpless ourselves. That’s why we have a pro-life movement; that’s why we have a 40 Days for Life Campaign; that’s why saving the unborn is our business.

PRAYER:

God of Justice, you heard the cry of your people when they were being oppressed in Egypt, and you proved yourself to be the God of justice, who rescues the helpless. You likewise rescued us from the kingdom of darkness, and brought us into the Kingdom of your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who saves us from the power of Satan, sin, death, and hell.

Make us people of justice, ready to intervene to save the helpless. Indeed, as your prophets have announced, let justice roll on like a mighty river, to save all who are in need, especially the unborn. We pray through Christ our Lord, Amen.

PRINTABLE DEVOTIONAL:

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

http://40daysforlife.com/docs/fall2008day04print.pdf

Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Campaign Director
40 Days for Life

DAY 3: It takes strength…

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Great reports are still flowing in from Wednesday’s 40 Days for Life kick-off events around the country, and we are receiving many, many stories of lives that have already been spared in the first two days of this fall’s campaign.

To experience some of the excitement of a 40 Days for Life launch, listen to this audio recording from Wednesday night’s kick-off event in South Bend, Indiana, that was attended by more than 300 people:

Listen Online Now (click “Play” button to start audio):

Download MP3 (click to play, right-click to save to your computer):

http://www.40daysforlife.com/blog/audio/southbend.mp3

“I am so encouraged by this campaign,” writes Angie. “I have always been pro-life but this is the first time I have done something other than slap a couple bumper stickers on my van! I know God will bless those involved for their sacrifice during the next 40 days.”

Thousands of people just like Angie are stepping out in faith…

…But we must all pray for God’s strength to prepare you for what you might experience.

Susan tells of the truck that arrived at the abortion center while she was praying. “The driver got out and we exchanged hellos. Then I watched him take out a biohazard box from the truck and walk up the stairs into the clinic. A few minutes later he came back down with another biohazard box. This time he didn’t even look at me. As soon as he took the box out of the truck, I started crying knowing he was going to bring back aborted babies.”

But through her tears, Susan recognized the hand of Christ bringing her strength. “Thank you for this opportunity to pray for these people and start my day focused on God’s will for me.”

Jennifer reports seeing a woman leaving the abortion center crying hysterically. She learned the woman was five months pregnant “and they injected the heart of her baby with a medication to make it die.” She has to return tomorrow to complete the abortion. “She asked for a priest, but a man came and yanked her away before my mom and her friend could get her to a priest. Her name is April. I hope someone will be there when she comes back. Please pray for her.”

Please pray, indeed, and please participate in a peaceful vigil at an abortion facility whenever you can. You may never know how much of a difference you can make — even if your presence cannot prevent an abortion. Just being there could be the key to someone’s healing and salvation.

“I know firsthand of the tragedy of abortion as I aborted my child,” said Darlene. “Although I felt it was wrong at the time, pressures due to already being a single parent and from family had me go through with it.” But as she left the abortion facility that day, she took note of the people outside who were praying.

“I truly believe in God’s mercy, healing and providence,” Darlene said, describing how she eventually found forgiveness after a long journey of searching and listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. “The people of God do make a difference with their prayers and commitment to the end of abortion. I am silent no more!”

We can do all things through Jesus Christ, who gives us strength.

Here’s today’s devotional from Dennis DiMauro, of Lutherans for Life…

DAY 3 INTENTION:

We pray for God’s gift of strength as we strive to protect human life during these 40 Days for Life.

SCRIPTURE:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

– Matthew 6:25-26

REFLECTION by Dennis DiMauro, Lutherans for Life:

Billions of dollars are spent each year on diet plans. But Jesus tells us to stop worrying so much about our bodies, and instead to trust in God’s care for our physical needs.

What would happen if the people who had started on a low-carb diet this year had instead gone on a diet of heavenly food? For non-believers that diet would include trusting in Christ for their salvation, and for believers it would include a renewed prayer life, a new Bible study, or even a spiritual fast. This diet doesn’t include giving up on certain kinds of foods. What this diet includes is giving up on anxiety by resting in the loving arms of Christ, trusting that He will provide.

Such a spiritual diet also frees us from our worries, and allows us to freely praise Him and serve others. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

This promised provision teaches us the inestimable worth of our lives. He will not allow us to go without. This intimate knowledge and care for human life on the part of our gracious God is what motivates us to seek for the preservation of human life in all its stages.

PRAYER:

Loving heavenly Father, help us to see the worth of all human beings by the way in which you provide for us. We would ask that you provide also the faith, grace and courage to enable us to protect that which is so precious to you. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

PRINTABLE DEVOTIONAL:

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

http://40daysforlife.com/docs/fall2008day03print.pdf

Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Campaign Director
40 Days for Life

P.S.- Can I ask you to please keep our family in your prayers? This morning we are flying out to the West Coast, where we will be visiting 17 of the 40 Days for Life locations in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington over the next week. We sure appreciate it!

DAY 2: “We saved our first baby!”

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

What a way to start the day!

The fall 40 Days for Life campaign was barely hours old when we received an e-mail from Jennifer in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. She and a few others had arrived at 6:30 Wednesday morning to pray at the abortion center.

A couple arrived in the parking lot, got out of their car and walked towards the building. “Joe gave them a flyer,” said Jennifer, “and she brought it into the clinic. About 10 minutes later they came out of the clinic and went to the car.”

The woman argued with the man for a time, but then they got in the car and left. “This lady looked at us praying and blessed herself with the sign of the cross,” Jennifer said. “We saved our first baby!”

Shortly thereafter, a text message appeared on my phone from Chris, the campaign director from New York City: “David! 1st 40 Days turnaround!” Later in the day, another life was saved at the same location.

Nance, organizer of the Grimes and Waller county, Texas, 40 Days for Life efforts e-mailed, “a BABY SAVED from Planned Parenthood in Houston!!!”

While driving to the 40 Days for Life kickoff event in South Bend, Indiana tonight, I received an excited call from the Indianapolis campaign leader. A first time 40 Days for Life volunteer was praying outside the Planned Parenthood abortion facility this morning when a car leaving the center pulled over and the occupants beckoned for her to come near. The volunteer nervously approached and was told by the mother in the vehicle, “Your prayers are working. My daughter just decided to not have an abortion.”

We are hearing amazing success stories like this from all across North America…

…So let’s spread the news!

In addition to prayer, fasting and constant vigil, the other component of 40 Days for Life is grassroots community outreach.

Prayer and fasting allow us to humble ourselves before God and ask for his grace and mercy. Constant vigil allows us to bring Christ’s love to the locations where lives are on the line and people need to know that others are concerned about their well being. Community outreach allows us to tell the story to entire neighborhoods, entire cities.

Some people might say, “Abortion doesn’t affect me; I wouldn’t have one — or encourage anyone else to have one — but it’s none of my business.”

Well, it is everyone’s business when the rights of the most helpless in our midst are being trampled — and we need to say so.

Others in our communities may have simply given up on ever changing the abortion status quo. They need someone to rekindle that fire — and that someone may be you!

Whether the outreach is manning a booth in the mall, engaging the local media, speaking to church or civic groups, conducting a door-to-door campaign, or simply spreading the word to friends, family, co-workers, and fellow believers, it’s important to reach people who don’t ever think about abortion — and don’t ever drive by the clinic — with the reality of how abortion negatively affects the community.

Ernie and Mary Beth in Pensacola, Florida report that their campaign, which is holding vigils at two abortion facilities, received an enthusiastic and appropriate send-off from Rev. John Licari.

“He talked about how abortion hurts women and families,” they said. “His theme was: Don’t hide your light under a bushel basket. We need to bring the light of Christ into a world so desperately in need of His love and mercy, especially at the abortion clinics. He reminded us to ‘be not afraid.’”

We are the light of the world. Let’s go forth and shine!

Here’s today’s devotional from Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life…

DAY 2 INTENTION:

Pray for those who work in the abortion industry, and for those who have repented of committing abortions and have resolved to defend life.

SCRIPTURE:

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”

– Luke 23:46-47

REFLECTION by Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life:

“Those of us who have participated in the killing of unborn children are the Centurions of today. We have dropped our swords against the unborn child. Now we must recognize the depth of our guilt and deal with the ramifications… To revitalize our humanity we need to forgive and be forgiven, to reconcile and be healed.”

These words come from a brochure of the Society of Centurions, an organization for former abortion providers. These words convey in a beautiful and moving way what is happening across the nation as hundreds of abortionists and their staff members experience repentance, conversion, and healing.

How does this conversion begin? Dr. Philip Ney writes, “The factors that changed their opinion on performing abortions, in the following order of frequency, were: evidence of the infant’s humanity, a spiritual experience, personal distress, evidence of the mother’s distress, scientific articles, being accepted as a person, a personal relationship with a pro-lifer, pro-life pickets.” (The Centurion’s Pathway, p. 77).

The journey is not easy. But the Jesus who heals us calls us to face the truth of what we’ve done, make restitution where possible, and engage in the hard work of mending relationships. Let’s pray for the Centurions; may their numbers increase!

PRAYER:

Lord, we thank you for those who have repented of committing abortions and have resolved to defend life. We too repent and resolve.

We repent of every instance in which fear has made us silent when we should have spoken. We repent of the ongoing bloodshed in our land, and for thinking that we can deprive the unborn of protection but keep it for ourselves.

We resolve that we will advance the cause of righteous candidates for public office, and that we will be more afraid of offending you by our silence than of offending others by our speech. We resolve that we will proclaim your name to the nations, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

PRINTABLE DEVOTIONAL:

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

http://40daysforlife.com/docs/fall2008day02print.pdf

Help spread the word about 40 Days for Life!

Encourage others to get involved at:

http://www.40DaysForLife.com

Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Campaign Director
40 Days for Life

P.S.- The second half of that in-depth interview about 40 Days for Life from international news agency ZENIT was just posted online at:

http://www.zenit.org/article-23701?l=english

DAY 1: We need to be there…

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

It begins!

Today is the first day of the fall 2008 40 Days for Life campaign, when people from coast-to-coast — and around the globe — are beginning to fervently pray and fast for an end to abortion.

Additionally, thousands of people across America are leaving the comfort of their homes and offices today to pray at abortion facilities and Planned Parenthood centers as part of peaceful 40 Days for Life vigils.

Tens of thousands more will join these vigils over the next 39 days.

It’s fairly easy to agree to pray — and even to fast — for 40 days, but when asked to stand vigil outside an abortion center or Planned Parenthood facility, it can be much more difficult to say “yes.”

To be totally honest, I never wanted to go pray outside an abortion facility.

But there are good reasons why any 40 Days for Life campaign must include a constant vigil outside the places where innocent human beings are put to death.

That one fact is reason enough — children are dying inside those buildings, which are often innocent looking store fronts or locations well hidden in otherwise innocuous office parks.

Many people do not know that abortions are being done in their communities. The vigil brings attention to this, and as people begin to gain knowledge about the existence of abortion in their neighborhoods, they become increasingly uncomfortable.

The abortion industry does not like publicity. They become very uncomfortable as word spreads of what they had been doing in relative secret.

And they know that the presence of people peacefully praying outside their doors is bad for business.

In a press release about 40 Days for Life, Chris Charbonneau, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Western Washington admitted, “We know from past experience that these rallies and prayer vigils create barriers that deter our patients.”

Two abortion facilities have shut down and gone out of business following 40 Days for Life campaigns outside their doors — in Dallas, Texas, and Rockland County, New York.

The most important reason, however, to stand in vigil outside the abortion facilities is to show the women entering the clinics, the family members and friends who accompany them — and yes, even the people who work there — that people care about them and are praying for them.

Women contemplating abortion often feel abandoned — by the fathers of their children, by their families, even by their friends. They resort to abortion because they feel they have no one to support them.

When they see people quietly, peacefully praying outside the clinic, they come to realize that they’re not alone.

When they first began thinking about abortion, it was because they had no hope. The vigil can help restore that hope.

More than 500 abortion-bound women have had a change of heart and chosen life as a result of 40 Days for Life vigils.

The people who work at the abortion centers may think of what they do as only a job. They too may have lost hope of finding a better occupation. The sight of people outside praying — all day, every day — makes them take a second look at what they’re doing.

We know of at least five former abortion workers who, because of the 40 Days for Life vigils, quit the abortion industry.

None of this would have happened if everyone took the “easy” path and decided just to pray at home or at church.

It’s the example of Christ Himself that we follow.

When people went to Jesus with stories of those who were suffering, He didn’t just say a prayer or two and walk on. He went to those people. He went to their homes. He gave of Himself to comfort them and offer them hope.

So must we.

Here’s today’s devotional from David Brandao, the communications director for 40 Days for Life…

DAY 1 INTENTION:

That we may use these 40 Days for Life to plead for God’s mercy and grace upon all those involved in the sin of abortion.

SCRIPTURE:

Blow the trumpet in Zion! Proclaim a fast, call an assembly. Gather the people, notify the congregation. Assemble the elders; gather the children and the infants at the breast… Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep and say, “Spare, O Lord, your people.”

– Joel 2:15-17

REFLECTION by David Brandao, 40 Days for Life:

The toll of abortion cannot be measured. We hear estimates of almost 50 million innocent victims, but that’s only one aspect of the harm that has unfolded in abortion’s wake. There are also the mothers and fathers of these millions, as well as the grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins. Unborn lives destroyed. Lives of the living shattered.

It’s overwhelming and depressing, but even in the midst of such unfathomable darkness, the church teaches us to have hope. Yes, it was indeed Calvary that followed Christ’s 40 days in the desert, but without Calvary there would have been no Resurrection — His victory over death that opened the gates of heaven to those who believe in and follow Him.

The psalmist encourages us to go humbly before God as we seek His will: “A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me… Give me back the joy of your salvation and a willing spirit sustain in me… O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise” (Psalm 51:12, 14, 17).

We are called to be God’s messengers; or as the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians: “We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).

That is the true message to all we encounter at the abortion centers and in our communities who have been deceived by the Culture of Death. We don’t bring condemnation; we bring God’s good news.

PRAYER:

Lord, we ask for the strength, courage, wisdom, determination and stamina to carry out this mission according to Your will.

Guide us, we pray, as we go forth and proclaim Your truth, always doing so with a spirit of love and compassion, as was demonstrated to us by Your Son, Jesus Christ. In His name we pray, Amen.

PRINTABLE DEVOTIONAL:

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

http://40daysforlife.com/docs/fall2008day01print.pdf

To participate in the 40 Days for Life vigil nearest to you, visit:

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

During these 40 days, let’s turn out at these sites in record numbers!

Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Campaign Director
40 Days for Life

P.S.- International news agency ZENIT just posted the first half of a thorough interview about 40 Days for Life and the second part will be out tomorrow. Enjoy:

http://www.zenit.org/article-23696?l=english

Are we prepared to pray, fast, and sacrifice?

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 24, simultaneous 40 Days for Life campaigns begin in 179 cities in 47 American states, two Canadian provinces, the District of Columbia and American Samoa.

The kickoff of this 40 Days for Life campaign marks the beginning of the largest and longest coordinated pro-life mobilization in history.

While there is much excitement and enthusiasm about the many good things God may provide as a result of this fall’s efforts, an important question we all have to ask ourselves on the eve of this campaign is: “What am I prepared to give?”

The scripture verse most often cited in relation to 40 Days for Life offers a classic if/then statement. IF we humble ourselves and pray, God tells us in 2 Chronicles 7:14, THEN He will hear from heaven and heal our land.

There is a reward, but there is also a price. If we focus on the reward, but neglect to pay the price… well, in the end there is no reward.

God has promised to heal our land, but FIRST we must humble ourselves and pray.

That is the primary focus of 40 Days for Life — prayer, coupled with fasting.

Prayer, because with God all things are possible. And fasting because scripture tells us that some demons can only be driven out through prayer AND fasting.

Prayer and fasting can be humbling experiences — especially prayer offered in a public location such as the sidewalk on a busy street in front of an abortion facility.

But it’s worth it!

It was worth it for the volunteer who had no car, but who regularly took public transit to pray at the abortion facility — a route that required transfers to four different trains and finally a bus — because he was called to action on behalf of those who couldn’t help themselves.

It was worth it to the man who lost his job right before a 40 Days for Life campaign, and took it as his duty to stand vigil at the abortion center for 19 hours a day to challenge the evil taking place in his community.

It was worth it to the campaign director whose family lost their home to foreclosure during a 40 Days for Life campaign. However, she kept her commitment to keep speaking out for the unborn and was able to help save many lives.

At the center of the call to participate in 40 Days for Life is a call to sacrifice. It’s hard. But it’s necessary — and it’s worth it. God has promised victory… IF we will humble ourselves and pray.

For each of the next 40 days, we will share a daily devotional to help unify our prayers. Here is a first devotional written by Carmen Pate from the “Point of View” national talk radio show in preparation for what we are about to begin tomorrow…

PRE-KICKOFF INTENTION:

For God’s blessing upon all participating in the fall 2008 40 Days for Life campaign.

SCRIPTURE:

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.”

– 2 Chronicles 7:14

REFLECTION by Carmen Pate, Co-host, Point of View:

Not unlike God’s chosen people of Israel, we must humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways, if we expect God to hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land. The need for repentance has not been greater since the Supreme Court decision of Roe vs. Wade in 1973. The number one cause of death in America is the needless sacrifice of our children at the altar of convenience called abortion. Conservative estimates put the number of deaths at nearly 48 million.

And lest we think this is an issue outside the church walls, 43 percent of women obtaining abortions identify themselves as Protestant, and 27 percent identify themselves as Catholic. One in four women has at least one abortion by the age of 45 — both non-Christian and Christian alike. Where was the voice of Truth — the church?

Mary Comm of In Our Midst Ministries, Inc. sums up the issue best as she writes, “We (the church) have been an unintentional accomplice to the millions of lives lost and to the multiplied millions of lives devastated by abortion. We didn’t want them to abort. We didn’t mean for them to abort. But, because of our lack of knowledge, because of our fear, we have continued to stand by and do nothing. We, God’s hands and feet in this dark and hurting world, have been unintentional, unknowledgeable accomplice, but an accomplice nonetheless.”

May today mark the beginning of change within the church, as God’s people, in unity, seek His forgiveness.

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, we have turned our backs on you and your principles in your Word. We have allowed man to usurp Your role as God over life and the number of our days. But we come to you in brokenness and repentance over our sin.

We cry out for Your mercy and ask you to remove the scourge of abortion from our land.

Use us as your vessels, Lord, to bring the light of Your Truth to our nation once again. Because of Christ we pray, Amen.

PRINTABLE DEVOTIONAL:

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

http://40daysforlife.com/docs/fall2008day00print.pdf

Let’s pray, fast, and shape history together starting tomorrow!

Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Campaign Director
40 Days for Life

P.S.- Watch the compelling video that tells the story of 40 Days for Life, the campaign’s profound impact across America, and the exciting plans for this fall: http://40daysforlife.com/savelives.cfm

P.P.S.- Yesterday, so many people were trying to post encouragement and prayer requests for the local campaign leaders that our web server got overloaded and many were unable to share their comments. Sorry about that! We have updated the server, and if you wish, you can join the 160+ people who have posted replies at: http://40daysforlife.com/blog/?p=129

Early impact, and a prayer request

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

I have an important prayer request for you, but first let me share some of the impact 40 Days for Life is already having before it even begins.

40 Days for Life doesn’t officially start until this Wednesday, September 24, and yet thousands of people have already begun to get involved at kick-off events around the country.

Yesterday afternoon, I was blessed to join more than 200 people at the 40 Days for Life kick-off in Indianapolis — which concluded with a two-mile procession to the Planned Parenthood abortion center where the campaign will be focused.

I then drove up to Fort Wayne where 300 people packed a Lutheran school gymnasium for an electrifying kick-off event. At the end of the rally, the attendees collectively committed to hundreds of hours of participation in their local 40 Days for Life vigil.

We’re getting similar reports from other cities across North America — and many locations are still gearing up for their kick-off events which will be held over the next three days.

People are coming out in far greater numbers than we have ever seen before, setting the stage for a powerful — and world-changing — campaign!

Even before this 40 Days for Life has started, we are already hearing reports of many blessings.

When Shawn Carney was in Jackson, MS, he learned about a local woman who had heard about 40 Days for Life in her church the previous Sunday and signed up for an hour. Not realizing that the campaign had not officially started, she went out to the abortion facility the next day…

…and God used her faithful stand that hour to save a life and protect a mother from abortion.

Here’s a message I received from Sue, the campaign leader of the Birmingham, Alabama 40 Days for Life campaign:

“Last week, I received an e-message from Candy, that she planned to make an announcement at her church on Sunday about the 40 Days for Life. So, this Wednesday, I emailed to learn how everything had played out. Candy responded with this message:

‘A lot of prayer went up the week before our Sunday service. It was important that those attending would embrace the 40 Days for Life prayer. I did not anticipate how God would use just an announcement to touch the people sitting in the service who had experienced an abortion or who had been involved in an abortion. 

A man visiting (he felt led to attend our church that Sunday and was not a church going person) came forward right after the announcement asking for prayer. He had arranged for his girlfriend to have an abortion 20 years ago. He accepted Christ as his savior and healing for the abortion. 

I am now helping a young woman in our church who received an abortion when she was 16 and has kept it a secret all these years. I also had many people ask to go with me to the prayer vigils. I am praying and believing more will come forward to go to the prayer vigils…’ 

“So, as you can see, fruits are ALREADY coming forth in Birmingham from the 40 Days for Life, before it even begins!!”

Listen here to a short, 4-minute audio where a few of the other local campaign leaders as they share blessings they have already experienced in the build-up to this 40 Days for Life:

Listen Online Now (click “Play” button to start audio):

Download MP3 (click to play, right-click to save to your computer):

http://www.40daysforlife.com/blog/audio/kickoff.mp3

Now here’s the…

IMPORTANT PRAYER REQUEST!

The leaders of the 179 different 40 Days for Life campaigns are my heroes.

These dedicated and faithful people have invested an enormous amount of time and energy to prepare for their local campaigns and many of them are feeling a bit stressed or overwhelmed.

I also realize that 40 Days for Life is upsetting one of Satan’ strongholds — the abortion industry — and he isn’t going to take that lightly.

These local leaders urgently need our prayers today and each day throughout 40 Days for Life.

As a personal favor to me, would you please do two simple things:

  1. Pray for the local 40 Days for Life campaign leaders daily from September 24 – November 2
  2. Share words of encouragement and your prayers with these heroic individuals by taking one minute to post your words as a reply below.

I’ll make sure they see your comments, and I know that your prayers and encouragement will mean the world to them.

We’re about to shape history together, and I’m proud to be running with you!

Yours For Life,

David Bereit
National Campaign Director
40 Days for Life

The stakes have NEVER been higher!

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Two weeks from today, 40 Days for Life kicks off all across America, and the tide is FINALLY turning in our favor.

Here’s what abortion advocate and former mayor of New York City, Ed Koch, had to say — just eight days ago — about what’s at stake this fall:

“I predict that the outcome of the presidential election will depend not on the economy, not on the Iraq war, not on the price of gasoline or the issue of national health insurance, but on the issue of the right to abortion.”

The abortion industry is shifting into panic mode.

Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, said about pro-life developments of the last few weeks, “I’m still having trouble expressing the depth of my anger.”

Planned Parenthood is also now aware that more than 75 of its facilities will be the focus of 40 Days for Life campaigns this fall — and the abortion giant has already announced that it will be launching a campaign in an attempt to counter the impact of 40 Days for Life!

In a fundraising pitch to abortion advocates around the country, Richards said, “I recognize that everything for us is at stake.”

You know what? She is absolutely RIGHT.

As more than 170 cities across 45 states prepare to launch focused 40 Days for Life campaigns, abortion numbers are down nationwide and abortion is at the top of the news and in the forefront of the political debate…

…But there’s even more breaking news that is coming to light!

Numerous states are now on the verge of becoming abortion-free:

  • Abortion numbers have dropped so significantly that eight states are now down to only one or two remaining abortion centers
  • This fall, 40 Days for Life vigils will take place at the last remaining abortion centers in NORTH DAKOTA and MISSISSIPPI, states which each have only ONE remaining abortion facility
  • This fall, 40 Days for Life vigils will also be held outside the doors of the last two abortion facilities in NEBRASKA and the last two in KENTUCKY
  • In Nebraska, abortions are down 50 percent since their peak in 1990, according to a new report from the University of Nebraska.
  • Immediately following the 40 Days for Life campaigns held outside their doors this past spring, the Lincoln, Nebraska Planned Parenthood facility stopped performing abortions for eight consecutive weeks and the Council Bluffs, Iowa Planned Parenthood — which targets the metropolitan Omaha area — ceased abortions and has not resumed them for more than 22 weeks.

And here’s one more exciting development…

SOUTH DAKOTA, another state with only ONE remaining abortion facility — and the state that was able to temporarily halt abortions in July following the passage of its strong informed consent law — is right now in the midst of an effort to virtually ban abortion!

If passed, this would be the first law of its type that has a very real chance of overturning the unjust Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that imposed abortion on America in 1973.

Which will be the first abortion-free state in America?

Only God knows, but it sure is shaping up to be an amazing fall!

Blessings,

David Bereit
National Campaign Director
40 Days for Life

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