Wednesday, February 20, 2013

40 Days For Life: DAY 8: Our presence matters


Dear Deacon,

The first time I was invited to pray outside of an
abortion facility, I didn't really want to do it.

Like me, many people's initial reaction is to find
the most heartfelt and sincere excuse. However, when
we overcome that first natural hesitation and just
do it, we don't regret it. And it's never what we
thought it would be like.

When you pray outside an abortion facility at a
40 Days for Life vigil, you may affect women going
into the building ... the people driving by ... the
people who work there.

But there's one other person your prayer experience
can affect -- YOU!

Here are just a few examples from the sidewalk.


"Today I prayed for three hours in front of the
Planned Parenthood in Chapel Hill," a volunteer wrote
on the 40 Days for Life blog. "The steady stream of
people going in and out, the sometimes packed parking
lot, other people walking in from nearby parking lots
and streets, was heartbreaking."

People outside the building generally ignored him,
he said -- except for two men holding babies. Whenever
he looked their way, he could tell they had been
looking at them. But they would quickly glance away,
trying to avoid making eye contact. Why were they
there? What were they thinking?

The volunteer just continued to pray. "I prayed for
babies to be saved, for mothers and family members to
have a change of heart and find real help elsewhere,
for workers to be convicted and quit" -- anything to
stop what was going on inside.

"I prayed with a small stone cross in my hand, the
word 'hope' written on it," he said. "I pray that
those considering abortion will find real hope, real
help and real life in Christ."


Another volunteer, praying at the 40 Days for Life vigil
in Sacramento, was also seeking signs of hope.

"The clinic faces two streets," she wrote in a 40 Days
for Life blog posting. "One is a very busy -- Alta
Arden Way -- with many cars whizzing by in both
directions. The other is Wright Street, which is a
far more quiet street. Our opportunity to witness is
greater on the Wright Street."

As she and others were praying together, they
noticed the abortion center's sign was in "utter
disrepair. I hoped that it meant that as the clinic
was losing business and ... that this battered sign
meant hope that soon no preborn babies would lose
their lives at this location."


"It was an abortion day in Kalamazoo," a third prayer
volunteer wrote. "I was new to the sidewalk."

She had prayed at home during several campaigns, but
she said the daily 40 Days for Life emails -- plus
God's prompting -- convinced her she had to do more.

As she and several others prayed outside Planned
Parenthood, a large truck pulled up and a man got
out. "He thanked us for being there and for praying,"
she said. "He explained that his oldest child was
aborted. All these years later he still carried that
pain and loss. He lived the tragedy."

He thanked the volunteers again, then drove away.

"If I had any doubts of my need to be there, they
were instantly gone," she wrote. "God sent the
guy in the big truck to tell me that my presence
mattered. God keeps showing me that our presence
on the sidewalk matters."

Today's devotional is from Rev. Rob Schenck, president
of Faith and Action.


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

-- Job 31:13-15

REFLECTION by Rev. Rob Schenck, Faith and Action

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

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.


To download today's devotional as a formatted,
printable PDF to share with friends:


As we begin the second week of this 40 Days for Life,
let's pray that God continues to pour out His rich
blessings on everyone involved!

Yours for Life,

Shawn Carney
Campaign Director
40 Days for Life

PS: If you have good news to report about 40 Days
for Life in your community, please post a comment on
today's blog entry:

40 Days for Life

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Suite 102229
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