Sunday, October 5, 2014

From 40 Days For Life: DAY 12: By the numbers

40 Days for Life
Dear Deacon John,
When prayers go up, abortions often go down. When you commit to a leap of faith and pray for an end to abortion — outside the places where the abortions take place — you won't always see the results. But God uses your presence to save lives.
If you look at the numbers, you can often see the direct impact of the Holy Spirit. Several former abortion workers have told us that the no-show rate for abortion appointments skyrockets when people are outside praying.
Today, we look at two cities where multiple 40 Days for Life prayer vigils have been conducted ... through the prayers and courage of volunteers ... and the decrease in abortions that followed.

Madison, Wisconsin
I had an opportunity to meet with the Madison team recently. The first 40 Days for Life vigil came to Madison the year this coordinated outreach began – 2007. Here are the area's abortion numbers for each year since 2006:

For 2007 and 2008, the abortion numbers were exactly the same – that’s not a mistake! As the chart above shows ... in each year since, the total number of abortions in Dane County, Wisconsin – where Madison is located – has come down.
With the economy in recession in 2009, statewide abortion numbers in Wisconsin went up. But not in Madison.
Starting in 2011, an expanded prayer presence on the sidewalk began year-round, with people peacefully holding vigil every hour the Planned Parenthood abortion center was open. Abortion numbers declined again.
In 2012, Women’s Care Center, offering positive pregnancy help, opened up right across the street from Planned Parenthood. And again, abortion numbers went down.
The bottom line is that abortions in Madison have decreased by 37% since 2006, which just so happens to have been the last year before 40 Days for Life began.
Columbus, Ohio

Beth in Columbus is encouraged by the latest abortion update from the Ohio health department. “The statistics paint a wonderful story that abortions continue to decline in central Ohio,” she said.
In Franklin County, where Columbus is located, the number fell from 5,698 abortions in 2012 to 4,966 in 2013 – a number Beth described as a record low.
Columbus is another community where the history of 40 Days for Life dates back to that first national campaign seven years ago. People there saw the value of prayer outside the abortion center … and wanted to do more.
“Greater Columbus Right to Life significantly increased our sidewalk presence in 2013 and through 2014,” she said. “We believed that a loving, effective and faithful presence on the sidewalks was needed here in central Ohio. It hasn't always been easy, but it certainly has been worth it.”
There’s still work to do, she said, noting the abortion total was still close to 5,000. “But the momentum is clearly on the side of life … thank you for all that you do to build a culture of life in our community.”
Here's today's devotional from Kevin Burke, executive director of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries.
Day 12 intention

May the King of the Universe, who entered this world as a helpless infant, give us the humility to be healed.

My power is made perfect in weakness.

—2 Corinthians 12:9

The great mystery of the Humility of God is very near and dear to the mission of those serving in pro life and in a special way, post abortion ministries across this nation.

For those wounded by their participation in abortion, the door to healing often feels like crossing an abyss of great fear: fear of judgment, fear of being torn apart by the pain, by self hatred and rage at those who hurt and abandoned you, and manipulated you in your time of temptation.

For men in particular, entering the unknown waters of emotional vulnerability, so necessary to healing calls for a different kind of courage that feels deceptively like weakness.

The door to healing is humility. It is born in the inability to no longer control the pain, to live with the consequences of that tragic decision to reject life. The hearts cries out, "I have committed a grave offense against my Creator and I am consumed by regret, grief and sorrow!"

During these forty days let us pray for all who have participated in abortion and with love call them to healing and reconciliation. With healing these women and men can become as John Paul II proclaimed in the Gospel of Life, "the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life."

Jesus proclaimed, "I am the Vine, you are the branches" (John 15:5). To bear the greatest fruit, the branches must be pruned. Each level of pruning of the vine requires a deeper level of humility so that we can abandon ourselves to His will.

This is not a lofty theological concept as much as it is an earthy experience of pulling weeds, tilling rocky soil, pruning and healing the vines. "If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in my footsteps" (Matthew 16:24).

Lord, during these forty days, we ask that with each day of this sacred vigil, everything in us that separates us from your perfect will would be pruned from our hearts and souls.

In this blessed freedom may we experience a powerful anointing of your Holy Spirit. Filled with confidence and trust may we proclaim with the mother of Jesus, "Let it be done to me, according to your Word."
Printable devotional

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For Life,
 Shawn Carney
Campaign Director
40 Days for Life