|SAINT PAUL — For the past five years, pro-life supporters and activists across the country—and now around the world—have spent two coordinated time periods each year in fasting and prayer against abortion. The campaign 40 Days for Life has spread from one small community in Texas to more than 400 cities across the U.S. and Canada and cities in more than a dozen countries.
According to the 40 Days for Life website, in 2004 a small pro-life group was discouraged about the number of abortions in the Bryan/College Station, Texas area. After praying about what God would have them do, the group believes He gave them the 40 Days for Life campaign.
The idea soon gained life, and the initiative began to grow slowly. After a few years, however, it caught on as others around the country heard about the effort—and it went national in 2007. The several-weeks long campaign takes place twice a year: in the spring during Lent and during the fall.
More than 15,000 church congregations have since participated, and a reported 5,928 lives have been spared as a result of the campaign.
The peaceful effort has three goals in mind as it attempts to bring attention to “the evil of abortion”: prayer and fasting, constant vigil and community outreach.
The 40 Days for Life campaign in the Twin Cities will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 26 and run every day through Sunday, Nov. 4. Participants will pray and fast outside the Planned Parenthood building in St. Paul. The local campaign is headed by Pro-Life Action Ministries (PLAM), which has been participating in the effort for three and a half years and has served as a model for other pro-life groups across the country.
“It’s every day, 24 hours,” said Brian Walker, program director for PLAM. “Our goal is to have two or more people on the street in prayer and fasting [at all times].”
This year, PLAM is also encouraging churches and organizations to participate.
“We’re also pushing Adopt a Day this year,” Walker said. “That’s the day where a church and/or organization will take the responsibility to have two or more people in prayer for a 24-hour period.”
Over the years, 40 Days for Life Twin Cities has received support from churches across the denominational spectrum: from Baptist and evangelical churches to Pentecostal churches and Catholic churches. Pastors are encouraged not only to participate but also to bring their congregations.
Walker believes those who participate will gain much from their efforts.
“There are many evils in this world that rightly [we] should go after,” he said. “This is local missions or the mission field next door. Salvations take place, lives are literally saved. Since 1981, [PLAM has] had 2,745 pre-born infants saved from abortion, and that’s just the ones we’ve documented.”
Walker said participating in 40 Days for Life Twin Cities is a good place to start for Christians interested in serving their communities.
“It’s easy, it’s peaceful, it’s legal and it’s effective,” he said. “It’s good ground to sow into.”
ACTIONPOINT: PLAM will host two 40 Days for Life Twin Cities planning meetings on Tuesday, Aug. 21 and Thursday, Sept. 13 at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. Both meetings are from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Participants need only attend one meeting. For more information, visit www.40daysforlife.com/twincities. The kickoff rally will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 26; the mid-point rally will be held on Sunday, Oct. 21; and the closing rally will be held on Sunday, Nov. 4. For a complete list of days and times, visit www.40daysforlife.com/twincities. Organizers urge all participants to call PLAM at (651) 771-1500 before planning to show up.