Sunday, October 12, 2014

From 40 Days For Life: DAY 19: They're praying in Oklahoma

40 Days for Life
Dear Deacon John,
Steve Karlen is our 40 Days for Life outreach coordinator for North America … and he’s on the road meeting – and praying with – volunteers at many 40 Days for Life vigils as the campaign continues.

Here’s Steve’s report on three recent stops in Oklahoma. The people certainly made an impression on him – and so did the weather. It was cooling off quite a bit in Steve’s native Wisconsin ... but not when he was in Oklahoma.
Norman, Oklahoma

The folks in Norman are working hard on their campaign. They pray directly in front of the abortion facility—where I’m told the abortionist is responsible for half the abortions in the state.
But it is difficult for some of the participants (some of the older folks in particular) to be in the hot sun. The weather during my visit was in the 90s—unseasonably warm even by Oklahoma standards!

Some of the vigil participants tried praying across the street on the sidewalks. Another local business manager called the police. But when the police came, they noted that the public sidewalk is ... public! Unable to use the law to stop a peaceful vigil, the business manager turned on the sprinklers.
Tulsa, Oklahoma

It was quite warm in Tulsa as well. As a Northerner who is used to bringing out my warmest, thickest wool socks for cold hours out at 40 Days for Life vigils, you can imagine my surprise to see that the Tulsa campaign needs a big tent to keep the hot sun off the volunteers.

Pro-lifers bought property across the street from the abortion center where they hoped to build a pregnancy center. But zoning rules made that impossible. Instead they built a “Garden of Hope,” where the volunteers can pray, and launched a mobile ultrasound initiative.
Timothy, the Tulsa leader, said the people behind this life-saving effort were 40 Days for Life volunteers who wanted to do more.

Right before I spoke, Timothy announced that a sidewalk counselor was able to successfully encourage a client of the abortion center to leave.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City hosts a 24-hour vigil. Debby, the leader, showed me a chapel next door to the abortion facility, which serves as the home base of the campaign.

The close proximity to the abortion center gives participants access to pray closer to the site than they otherwise would. They are able to counsel women and lead them to a nearby pregnancy center. A dry erase board on the front desk of the chapel had a message that reads “33 saves!”

A number of abortion-minded women have come to the chapel accidentally, providing further opportunity for counseling and witness.

Prayer volunteers also have an opportunity to offer a powerful witness on a busy public street. Debby said the community has warmed up to their presence. A school bus stop is right across the street, and the teens on that bus have responded favorably to the 40 Days for Life message.

Thanks again to Steve Karlen for today’s update!

Here's today's devotional from Rev. Rob Schenck, President of Faith and Action and National Clergy Council.
Day 19 intention

We pray for a renewal of our zeal to offer generous help to the unborn and their families.

If I have despised the cause of my male or female servant When they complained against me, What then shall I do when God rises up? When He punishes, how shall I answer Him? Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?

— Job 31:13-15


The ground is level as we stand before God.

Job lived with an awe provoking sense of God's expectation of him, particularly regarding his obligation to care for the weak and needy. He knew that in God's economy everyone stands on level ground when it comes to our status as God's creatures. Because of that central truth, we must take care of each other.

Job also knew that he didn't deserve any of the good things God gave to him. Instead, those blessings came to Job from God's benevolent heart. As an extension of that knowledge, Job instinctively linked his obligation to be generous to others to God's kindness toward him.

As in Jesus' parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:23-35), Job knew that it is an egregious sin to deny to others what we enjoy ourselves. He actually calls down on his own head severe condemnation and even punishment should he fail to share with others out of his own abundance (see verses 16-23).

Proverbs 3:27 reads, "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so." Some things are so obvious that we don't even need to pray except to ask of God forgiveness and the power to do what so obviously needs doing.

God, forgive us when we try to explain away the obligation we have to help others who need help. Enable us to not devalue them because they are in the circumstance that they are in, but to see them for what they are, those, who like us, were formed by your hand in their mother's womb. Amen.
Printable devotional

To download today's devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends: 
For Life,
 Shawn Carney
Campaign Director
40 Days for Life