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40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life campaign with a vision to access God’s power through prayer, fasting, and peaceful vigil to end abortion. The mission of the campaign is to bring together the body of Christ in a spirit of unity during a focused 40 day campaign of prayer, fasting, and peaceful activism, with the purpose of repentance, to seek God’s favor to turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life, thus bringing an end to abortion.
40 Days for Life focuses on the spiritual aspects of the battle to end abortion. We frequently cite 2 Chronicles 7:14: “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 will heal their land.” We have the opportunity to cooperate with God in carrying out His work. We put our faith in His will and prayerfully discern how He wishes us to respond.
While the directors, employees and key volunteers are all Christians, there is no denominational affiliation. Persons of all faiths are invited and welcome to participate in 40 Days for Life activities.
40 Days for Life began as a one-time effort in Bryan/College Station, Texas in 2004. Local Christians organized a 40-day campaign designed to revitalize pro-life efforts in their community. A number of other cities heard about the campaign and conducted similar programs. The first nationwide, coordinated 40 Days for Life effort was launched in the fall of 2007. The project has since expanded internationally.
The campaign is a 40-day time frame in which people in local communities pledge to pray and fast for an end to abortion. They also commit to a 40-day prayer vigil outside an abortion center or Planned Parenthood facility (Planned Parenthood does not perform abortions at all of its locations, but it refers women to its abortion centers and is the largest abortion business in the United States). In many cases, those vigils are conducted 24 hours a day. Additionally, some form of community outreach accompanies the vigils.
The headquarters team provides guidance, training and access to resource materials. Volunteer local campaign leaders and their associates do all the planning at the community level and carry out the various components of the 40 Days for Life campaign.
The first 40 Days for Life campaign each year takes place during the Christian season of Lent—starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on Palm Sunday. The second campaign of the year always begins the fourth Wednesday of September.
We encourage a positive, prayerful presence outside abortion facilities to show God’s love and mercy to those who visit and work at the abortion centers. This approach avoids shouting, confrontation with patients and employees, and the use of graphic abortion images. This is the approach that we have been led to embrace through our own prayer, fasting and spiritual discernment. In campaigns in more than 700 cities on six continents, this effort has produced positive, measurable results.
Internationally, 40 Days for Life has a volunteer board of directors and several employees. Other tasks are handled by contract workers and volunteers. That is the extent of the formal organization. Local campaigns are independently conducted by volunteers in each participating community, who have no formal affiliation with the main organization and are not part of the corporate entity of 40 Days for Life.
The effort is funded through a combination of donor contributions and application fees. Each local campaign pays a nominal fee to apply for the campaign. This fee defrays part of the costs the headquarters team incurs in producing training and resource material. 40 Days for Life’s generous benefactors cover the remainder of the costs.
No. 40 Days for Life has official status as a non-profit organization under section 501c3 of the United States tax code. As such, it is not permitted to participate in political campaigns. This was a conscious decision by the board of directors, who have been called to rely on prayer and fasting, rather than political action, to end abortion.