I'd like to call your attention to the upcoming fall campaign of 40 Days for Life, a wide-spread pro-life outreach. Through the combined prayerful efforts of over 200,000 people (this fall, the campaign will be present in at least 212 communities in the U.S., Canada, and Denmark) in the past 5 years, 1,561 lives have been preserved from abortion, 18 abortion clinic workers have left their jobs, and 3 abortion clinics have closed their doors completely. Through much prayer, fasting, and peaceful picketing of abortion clinics and family planning centers, many dedicated people have helped effect a wonderful beginning of change.
Would you like to be a hero and a voice for God's voiceless? Click here to find out if your community is hosting a 40 Days for Life campaign. It will start September 23 and end November 1.
What exactly is involved in participating in the campaign? You will sign up for one one-hour period a week (although signing up isn't strictly necessary - it can be difficult to know your schedule that far in advance, and for that reason you can also just show up) to pray in front of an abortion or birth control provider. You might hold signs, and if you're Catholic you will most likely pray the Rosary and perhaps the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
People can get upset about seeing picketers, even if they are just peacefully praying. They may shout and be a bit abusive - for that reason, it's often good to pray in groups and if you're by yourself, always have a cellphone handy. Just remember to always be kind and charitable to them, and redouble your praying efforts!
To avoid getting unwanted attention from the media for being "disturbers of the peace", there are a few things to keep in mind. One, stay off the grass - if you're on their property, the clinic can legally have you arrested. Two, don't put signs too near the road or in a place where they could obstruct the vision of oncoming traffic. Three, don't argue with people - it will give the completely wrong impression of our movement!
Praying outside of clinics can be an emotionally draining experience, for sure. Once last spring a man came and began shouting obscenities at our group. It was also very upsetting to read the terrible things people had written about us and the pro-life movement on the website of our local newspaper, and the biased opinions of the media. Father, forgive them - they know not what they do! Please grant us patience!
Of course, there are also the good reactions! Countless people drove past and gave us the thumbs-up sign, even some very unlikely looking ones! This has never happened to me, but several people have said that passers-by have stopped and shared some personal story with them. For example, a young man told a lady I know that his mother had almost aborted him, and had later gone on to have 2 abortions - the mother is now a mess emotionally and physically. He was very thankful to see people praying.
All in all, participating in the campaign is a wonderful thing to do. You are helping to bring about a greater respect for life, to restore some sanity to our world, to preserve beautiful innocent lives. It's worth all the rude comments, frozen fingers, and early mornings. If you're young, it's especially inspiring for others to see you out there. Let's show the world that teenagers are not selfish beings, incapable of controlling themselves. We are the future, and we will fight a good fight to save lives and bring our world back into the light of God!
To learn more about 40 Days for Life, visit their website.