By Elizabeth O'Brien
COLLEGE STATION, Texas, July 26, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A groundbreaking, grassroots campaign has taken hold of communities throughout the United States. The mission is to storm Heaven with 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion.
David Bereit, a noted pro-life speaker from Texas who pioneered this campaign, stated in a press conference that the movement was born out of the "prayer and frustration" of pro-life activists. He said that increasingly many people have felt worn out with the pro-life battle and discouraged by the apathetic silence of their local churches. In 2004, however, a small group of volunteers banded together in College Station Texas, calling out to God to re-energize the pro-life movement. Less than three weeks later the first 40 Days for Life (40 DFL) Campaign began.
The 40 DFL are an intense time during which people pray, fast and spread the pro-life message throughout their community. The movement is a wake-up call, said Bereit, restoring a sense of urgency in the fight against the industry that claims the lives of 4000 unborn babies each day in America.
The components of the campaign are very simple, but not easy. In fact, Bereit claimed that it might be the "single probably most challenging activity I have ever participated in during my time involved in pro-life efforts." First, it starts with prayer and fasting. This means starting with God and begging him to allow the nation to repent. There is an "incredible spiritual power" in fasting, says Bereit, which not only includes food, but anything people decide to sacrifice. Throughout the entire effort, underlined Bereit, "you have to be willing to do more than you are asking anyone else to do."
Secondly, the campaign entails a 24-hour vigil. This will take place around the clock for a total of 960 hours in front of the local abortion clinic or Planned Parenthood office. It brings public attention to what is going on, sends a message to clinic employees, and helps any young women who might be considering an abortion.
Finally, a grassroots outreach movement is necessary to reach every corner of the community. Door-to-door and word of mouth invitations to join people in prayer have gained the movement tremendous media coverage, first locally, then state-wide and internationally.
Shawn Carney, host and executive producer of the new EWTN show "beingHUMAN," described the overwhelmingly positive results. After the 2004 campaign in College Station, over 1000 people in the local community got involved in the pro-life movement, and pregnancy centers saw a huge increase in visitations. Participants reached out to 25,000 homes in the area to spread the pro-life message. Most importantly, he added, abortion numbers went down by 28% that year. "Lives were saved at the end of the day," and hope was restored in the community. Other communities throughout the States joined in and reported a miraculous birth of fresh spirit and increased numbers joining the pro-life movement.
Since then, 40 DFL has proposed a nationwide Campaign that will take place this fall. Countless communities and thousands of people will join in solidarity across the United States as they pray and fast together.
From August 7-15th communities will be able to register for the National 40 Days for Life Campaign. Communities don't need big numbers; the event is tailor-made to the needs and resources of each. The bottom line requirement is that the effort must remain "peaceful, prayerful and legal" at all times.
From August 16 to 25 will be a period of training during which communities will receive weekly conference calls, planning guidelines, flyers, and other literature. Communities will also be able to set up an interactive web presence on the 40 DFL website to start networking with others. Finally, from September 26 through November 4 the actually Prayer and Fasting Campaign will take place.
Dave Bereit challenged people to join in, saying, "This is the time to make a decision to do something. I believe that this fall people of faith across our country are going to transform our nation and are going to shape history and are going to mark the beginning of the end of abortion."
He continued, "And you have a decision to make. Are you going to be on the front line being able to tell your children and your grandchildren, 'I was right there when history was being shaped.' Or are you going to sit on the sidelines and just watch as history is shaped and passes you by."
Already 400 communities in 45 states have expressed interest in the campaign, and 1600 people have downloaded the planning instructions manual. In Wisconsin alone, 40 DFL is scheduled to take place in front of every single abortion clinic in the state this fall.
Downloadable 40 Days for Life Report:
40 Days for Life Sign-Up:
See previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
'40 Days for Life' Vigil outside Houston Planned Parenthood Clinic
40 Days for Life - Praying and Fasting Outside Planned Parenthood for All of Lent