Tuesday, March 25, 2014

40 Days For Life: DAY 21: Praying in the snow at the "mud den"

40 Days for Life
Dear Deacon John,

Thankfully, Steve Karlen, our North American outreach coordinator, packed warm clothing for his five campaign stops across the state of New York!

Today, he mentions the cold conditions that these campaigns have endured. But the weather has not deterred them from standing strong for the unborn.

In fact, courageously facing the cold can make your witness on the sidewalk even more profound … in the eyes of those driving by — and those entering the abortion facility.
Here's Steve's report ...
Goshen and Newburgh, New York

I spoke at a joint event for the Goshen and Newburgh campaigns. Turnout was so good they ran out of parking places!

Planned Parenthood opened its Goshen facility in a spot that’s tucked away from the street. It was supposed to be isolated from vigils; but with the new construction, a public easement was set up, allowing people to stand and pray on land that was once – but is no longer – private property.

The campaign team had to clear out a big pile of snow so they’d have a place to stand. They call it their “mud den.”

Syracuse, New York

Two mothers – Jeanie and Shannon – lead the Syracuse campaign. Between them, they have 14 children … and, of course, very supportive husbands. But in spite of busy home lives, they knew they were called to lead this campaign.

I spoke at an awesome interdenominational candlelight vigil. Pastors from several faith communities participated, including one pastor who is doing pro-life work while he’s home for a break from his missionary work in Ecuador.

Yes, snow fell throughout the whole vigil. We were all freezing! That did not dampen enthusiasm at all.

Ithaca, New York

As with Syracuse, this was a great interdenominational effort with praise music and pastors from a number of churches leading prayer.

Mary Anne, the local director, and her team have been building a pro-life movement in Ithaca almost from scratch. She has done an incredibly inspirational job building relationships with churches across faith lines and with the local pregnancy center.

Planned Parenthood escorts even came outside during the event … and appeared to give great attention to our vigil.

White Plains, New York

White Plains is in the middle of its fourth 40 Days for Life campaign now. Their efforts have been highlighted by their persistence in very difficult weather.
This event drew a bilingual crowd, as both English and Spanish speaking Christians took part. One bilingual volunteer offered to translate my talk for the Hispanic vigil participants!

Spring Valley, New York

The folks in Spring Valley reported that during the campaign, they’ve seen an unusually peaceful neighborhood — and less turmoil.

This is their 12th 40 Days for Life campaign. Over the years they have also seen the community become much less hostile to their presence. One volunteer told me that off-duty police officers even participate enthusiastically … and crime in the area actually goes down during the campaign.
Thanks again to Steve Karlen for today’s report!
Today's devotional is from Rev. J. Kirk van der Swaagh of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference.

Day 21 intention

We pray for the conversion of all those who refuse to acknowledge that human life belongs only to God.


Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."
— Jeremiah 1:4-5
Reflection by Rev. J. Kirk van der Swaagh

To be or not to be?

There is no question!

The question of "being" is something philosophers have long pondered.

What is the meaning of being and what is the source? In the passage before us, we have our answer.

We have being because we are known by God.

For God to declare that he knows and sets apart the prophet Jeremiah even before he is conceived indicates that our being rests in God's own being.

Because He is and because He wills we, therefore, are and do.

The Apostle Paul says as much when he declares before the philosophers of his day, "In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).

One of the tragedies of the abortion culture is that life in the womb has been so heartbreakingly devalued.

To embrace the arguments of the "pro-choice" crowd one must conclude that the child in the womb doesn’t exist, isn't there, has no being. But nothing could be further from the truth.

That child is known by God and, as such, has being.


Lord God, we confess that in You we live and move and have our being.

Because You are, we are.

May we find grace from You to affirm the being of every human and may we labor to make this truth known to the world around us. Amen.

Printable devotional

To download today's devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share:
For Life,
 Shawn Carney
Campaign Director
40 Days for Life
PS: As always, if you have an interesting story about your 40 Days for Life campaign, please share it! You may add a reply to today's blog entry at: