To those of you who didn't know this is going on... we are in the midst of the "40 Days for Life" campaign, a worldwide prayer vigil and volunteer anti-abortion event that continues for over a month.
It is day 20 of the campaign today, and so far there have been 241 stories of women who, either because of speaking with prayerful people outside abortion facilities, or upon simply seeing the volunteers at those clinics have chosen to reconsider aborting their children.
No child is born into an ideal circumstance, though many are clearly at an advantage having two parents present, loving extended families and sacrificial mindsets within all those people. Children born with diseases or physical abnormalities are difficult as babies, and are a hardship to their parents in some way, little to large. Young mothers, especially those who are single, face unique problems of their own when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
Some may say that abortion is "for the good of the child" when the child imminently faces one of these challenges...
An unplanned pregnancy does bring to light a person's self-deficiencies. As opposed to those in a loving, married relationship where both people plan to be parents one day, those who face the certainty of having (and maybe raising) a baby by themselves should not be without sympathy. There are many reasons a person might end up in that spot, and it's hard to be there alone.
I know a girl who had an abortion. She isn't a whore, or stupid, or a misguided secular humanist. It was the hardest thing she ever had to decide (she has told me), and she hated that she had to do it alone (the father was already gone when she found out). She also regrets that there was no one who knew, to talk her out of it (she and I were not in touch then), and that she didn't think she could make the decision to keep the baby by herself. Abortion is the biggest regret she has, she still thinks of that baby and wishes to God she could go back and decide differently. Forgiveness has been hard for her to receive - for many things - since then.
Women like her need our help, either tangible or prayerful (tangible being just as much needed in those situations). This is where the 40 Days campaign steps in. They offer support to mothers and fathers who decide to keep their babies, they provide supplies and support structures for anyone who needs them, both during and after the babies are born. Many come out in public - both as individuals and in groups - to pray. They don't approach women, men or clinic workers. They simply show up, love God and honor His command to protect children.
And they have some amazing stories to tell. Here is one of them, coming from a Nevada 40 Days group member:
"Last week I showed you pictures of the 40 Days for Life vigil in Reno, Nevada — where the abortionist uses a sprinkler system to soak the people praying outside his fence. Despite this aggressive hostility, we just received an incredible report from that location.
A woman driving out of the abortion center’s parking lot stopped to ask one of the local volunteer for her phone number. Shortly after, the volunteer received a text message. This text sums up what 40 Days for Life is about — and the impact a local vigil can have. Here is the exact text message:
'I just wanted to send you guys a text to let you know that what you do out there does make a difference.
When I went to that abortion clinic last week to drop off my money to terminate my pregnancy, I saw people standing out there with signs. I didn’t expect to see that and part of me felt ashamed.
I drove through the gates anyway and went inside, gave them my money and made an appointment for 2:30pm today.
As I was driving away I couldn’t help but think that maybe there was another way. All this week I thought and prayed about it and I realized in my heart what the right thing to do was.
I can’t help but think, that had you guys not been there that day to remind me that I had another choice, that maybe one more baby would have died today.
Don’t stop what you’re doing. It matters. It did to me. From the blonde lady in the white SUV who picked up her money instead of aborting her baby today.' "
In Fargo, ND (right next to my home town of Moorhead, MN), there is a prominant abortion clinic right downtown. It is the yearly meeting site for the 40 Days volunteers. Here is a report from this year:
* One woman stated that when she and her husband went to the sidewalk to pray they were greeted by 18 college men praying in unison. “How powerful to see these men praying out there,” she stated, “They looked like a football team!”
* One college student made a personal goal for himself…100 hours of prayer on the sidewalk during this campaign.
* David Bereit joined the prayer volunteers Friday evening and was joined by students from Shanley High School. Someone brought song sheets and the singing began…Over an hour of music and prayer ensued.
* Calls are going out and people are responding. Another man goes by daily to pray while others thank us for calling them and are delighted to join in this campaign.
* One woman goes out to the sidewalk to pray whenever we call her – even at the last minute.
How can one know that they won't be able to love and provide guidance for their baby? How can someone predict what they can handle, what wellspring (or even just a trickle) might spring up to nourish the child with what he needs? How can we say we "can't" be parents; are we saying that because we don't think we're ready?
Please pray for those faced with the difficult reality of raising a child they did not plan for. Many of them do not know God, or His grace, or that His people are so willing to reach out to them without judgment. That last piece is critical.
Please pray that they would keep their babies, and that they would all come to know the Lord.