Final Thoughts on the 40 Days for Life Campaign – November 6, 2012

I can only say what a blessing it was to me to have the opportunity to participate in the 40 Days for Life campaign for the very first time.  I had no idea what to expect or how this was going to work out, especially since the time slot I ended up choosing was a 6AM slot.  God’s grace was definitely with me throughout the time, enabling me to keep the commitment and be on site to pray everyday of my commitment with a few exceptions – the morning I blew a tire on my way to the clinic and the 2 mornings after hurricane Sandy – I prayed without being at the abortion clinic.

Some mornings were harder than others, no doubt, but God was so faithful to meet me in prayer and to give me amazing things to pray.  There were times that I surprised myself with some of things I heard myself praying.

As far as Dr. Carhart’s Germantown abortion clinic is concerned, I believe we accomplished much in the Spirit.  The campaign director for Germantown sent out this information to all of us:

700+ hours of prayerful presence on Wisteria

-over 500 prayer warriors from 20 churches joining together

-2 abortion workers are no longer at Germantown Reproductive Health Services

-No abortions for two weeks!

This is exciting news, especially the fact that there were no abortions for two weeks in row in Germantown.  The information out of the international campaign is just as exciting.  The final numbers are not in yet but so far we know that globally 608 babies have been saved from abortion.

The devotional below that was sent out to all 40 Days for Life prayer warriors after the 40th day.  It makes realize that there are multiple ways to storm the gates of Hell.  Prayer, of course is number one.  But today is election day in the United States and by casting our votes on behalf of life is another way of coming against the gates of Hell!

INTENTION
Pray that the witness of 40 Days for Life bears abundant fruit, and that we begin again each day to storm the gates of hell until God welcomes us into the gates of heaven.

SCRIPTURE
On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
— Matthew 16:18

REFLECTION by Fr. Frank Pavone

When we read this verse, we usually think that the Lord is promising that the church, which is His Body, will withstand all the attacks launched against it.  Of course, that is true.  But when we think about it more carefully, we realize that in a battle, the gates do not run out into the battlefield to attack the enemy. Rather, they stand still to defend the city from the enemy attacking it.  So when the Lord says that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church, who is doing the attacking? It is the church storming the gates!  The church, all of  God’s people in Christ, is called to take the offensive, to run into enemy territory, and to gain ground for Jesus Christ. We do not wait for an invitation; we already have a command. We  prepare, but we do not wait for circumstances to be perfect; we already have one who has gone before us.

During these 40 days, we have stormed the gates. We have taken the offensive. We have pushed forward the boundaries of the kingdom. And we must keep doing so, in numerous ways. Indeed, the gates of hell will not prevail. The gates of falsehood will flee in the presence of truth. The gates of sin will melt in the presence of grace. The gates of death will fall in the  presence of the church, the People of Life!

PRAYER

Father, we praise you. We have heard the voice of your Son, and therefore we can make our voices heard.  We have done battle with the power of evil, and therefore we can have compassion on those still within its grip. We have been freed from the kingdom of darkness, and therefore we can bear witness to your Kingdom of Light.

May the witness of all your people through these 40 Days for Life bear abundant fruit, and may we begin again each day to storm the gates of hell until You welcome us into the gates of heaven. We pray in the victorious name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

 

Day 38 – November 2, 2012

Sandy’s Silver Lining?

Hurricane Sandy left such devastation along the Eastern seaboard that it is hard to imagine how one could think there could ever be a silver lining.  But the news is that because of Hurricane Sandy, there were no abortions in Germantown again this week!  Dr. Carhart was unable to travel in from the mid west to his Maryland abortion clinic due to the weather.  That makes two weeks in a row now that there were no abortions in Germantown, which is wonderful and amazing all at the same time. 

While it’s great to rejoice in the fact that no abortions were performed in Germantown this week, let’s not forget to continue praying for the folks in New Jersey and New York who continue to suffer because of the storm.  People are starting to run out food and water and it is cold outside and getting colder inside.  The Salvation Army and the America Red Cross  are two organizations that are working hard to help bring disaster relief  to this part of the country.

I’d like to share a reflection by Father Frank Pavone from today’s 40 Days for Life campaign:

INTENTION
Pray that we become vessels of hope to all around us,
especially to those who minister in the pro-life
movement.

SCRIPTURE

On the first day of the week, very early in the
morning, the women took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled
away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did
not find the body of the Lord Jesus. “Why do you look
for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has
risen!”

— Luke 24:1-5

REFLECTION by Fr. Frank Pavone

This meditation, based on a sermon I once heard, is
adapted for pro-life concerns.

It’s Friday. Jesus is on the cross. He has been
killed by his enemies; he is off the scene. But
that’s because it’s Friday. Sunday’s comin’!

It’s Friday. Abortionists continue their work 3,300
times a day, tearing off the arms and legs of little
babies and crushing their heads. But that’s because
it’s Friday. Sunday’s comin’! It’s Friday.
Pro-abortion groups receive blood money from
billionaires who are as deceived as they are. But
that’s because it’s Friday. Sunday’s comin’!

It’s Friday. Liars attempt to speak for all women and
hide the pain of abortion, and ignore the evidence of
how it harms women, and call abortion a blessing. But
that’s because it’s Friday. Sunday’s comin’! It’s
Friday. People of hardened hearts guard the clinics
and usher desperate women in to have their abortions,
while keeping them from the pro-life people who want
to give them hope. But that’s because it’s Friday.
Sunday’s comin’!

Hope does not mean that we ignore or minimize the
evils around us. It means, rather, that we see the
whole picture, which is that evil is conquered
because of what happened one Sunday morning. The
power of sin and death has been broken by the
Resurrection of Christ. We are called to proclaim,
celebrate, and serve that victory, waiting in joyful
hope for Christ’s return and the full flowering of
the Culture of Life! Indeed, Sunday’s comin’!

PRAYER

Lord, fill your people with new hope. Make us vessels
of hope to all around us, especially to those who
minister in the pro-life movement, that as we engage
in the difficult work ahead, we may experience the
peace and joy that come only from you and that nobody
can take away from us. We ask this through Christ our
Lord, Amen.

Day 37 – November 1, 2012

It’s a Romans 1 kind of world!  I’m praying this week for the pro-life counselors and for the Lord to shine through these courageous people as they meet the lie of the culture head on.  Pro-life counselors are faced with trying to show abortion minded women the truth and combat all of the lies that have been fed to women in our society by the likes of Planned Parenthood and even other people of faith who choose to believe their own truth.  In Romans chapter 1, in The Message it says:

“But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.”

These verses of scripture say a lot.  It says people know full well who God is and they know what is right and what is wrong and therefore they have no excuses.  However, the bottom line is that people decided they know it all and they know better than God.  They decided they could be God.  But hasn’t that been going on since the Garden?  Satan convinced Eve that the reason God did not want her to eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden was because it would make her like Him, as if God were threatened by Eve becoming like Him.  What Eve did not realize was that she was already like God.  She was created in His image and likeness and this is what Satan has been trying destroy since that moment!

Please continue to pray for the courageous pro-life counselors who are fighting against the lies perpetuated by the abortion industry.  Please pray for the pro-life counselor who is faced with trying speak the truth to the abortion minded woman who believed the lie and traded the glory of God for a cheap figurine.

Day 35 – October 30, 2012

We are now in the final week of the 40 Days for Life Campaign around the world.  The campaign officially ends this Sunday, November 4, 2012.  The scheduling of prayer and vigil around the clock before abortion clinics will come to end for awhile, but the prayer to end abortion will never stop until an abortion-free nation becomes a reality.

This week, I want to focus my prayer on the counselors who work so diligently to show women the truth about their pregnancy and the truth about abortion.  But today, as I reflected on the woman who is potentially 5 months pregnant and seeking a late term abortion, I thought about adoption.  I guess I still do not understand how someone could have carried their child for five months and know that they will deliver their child in four months or less and yet they are still willing to kill that child.  This mother has felt her child kick and has watched the child grow as she has grown and certainly there is no way that she can deny she is carry a human life.  Why not finish out those last few months and allow the child a chance to live and fulfill a destiny.

There are many arguments that say that there are plenty of children in foster care who should be adopted first.  Well, you know what, that’s true.  But, what is also true is that those children are not being adopted for a variety of reasons.  According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, an organization of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in February of 2011 published an article on adoption trends.  This article stated that there were 115,000 children in foster care in 2011 but those seeking to adopt do not want children who are older, or who have a sibling, or who may have endured maltreatment.  Overwhelmingly, those who are seeking to adopt want a child who is 2 years old or younger and is a single child without any behavioral issues.  Interestingly, physical illnesses are not an impediment to adoption.  LiveAction published an article in May of 2012 in which they quoted a source known as the Business Library which said:  “there are up to 36 couples waiting for every one baby placed for adoption.” The quote goes on to say:

 “In the USA, there are approximately two million infertile couples waiting to adopt, many times regardless of the child’s medical problems such as Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, HIV infection or terminally ill. Dr. Brad Imler, President of America’s Pregnancy Helpline, confirms the challenge of waiting couples by stating: “Only 1% of the Helpline’s annual 40,000 clients inquires about adoption.”

Pray this week for an increase in adoptions nationwide.  This is so much safer and healthier for everyone involved and the child has a chance.

References:

Brown, Kristi B.  Abortion vs. Adoption: Why So Many Choose the First and What We Can Do. May 15, 2012. Retrieved on October 30, 2012.  http://liveactionnews.org/culture/abortion-vs-adoption-why-so-many-choose-the-first-and-what-we-can-do/

Child Welfare Information Gateway.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Persons Seeking to Adopt – Numbers and Trends.  February 2011.  Retrieved on October 30, 2012 http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/s_seek.pdf#Page=2&view=Fit

Day 25 – October 20, 2012

Today is the last day of a week that has been focused on praying for women who have had abortions.  I’ve spent time this week trying to focus my prayer on the tremendous need for healing for women who’ve had an abortion, and who need healing from the pain and agony suffered over having made the decision to kill her unborn child.  This may be experienced immediately or it may not be felt for years after.  I thought back to something I mentioned earlier in the week about those who promote abortion as not only a justifiable option but as a woman’s right.  I become angry when I hear the term “Reproductive Rights” and I wonder who came up with that terminology anyway.  I decided to do a little research on the term, looking for a good working definition and found something interesting.  According to the World Health Organization, Reproductive Rights are defined as:

“the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. They also include the right of all to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence.”

Wow, now that is interesting.  We need whole organizations and lawyers (I’m thinking of NARAL and the National Women’s Law Center) to protect this?  The last time I checked, no one in America is told when to have a child and how many children they must have and we already have plenty of laws against discrimination and violence.  This is crazy.  This term is thrown around like women can’t already make this decision, ideally with their husband.  It’s the “responsibly” part of this definition that pro-aborts ignore.  They want women to believe that it’s OK to make the decision to have that one night stand and if they get pregnant, well just get rid of it, it’s part of your reproductive rights.  There is no reason to be responsible for the life you just participated in creating.

God says differently.  In the book of Jeremiah he says “before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you” (Jeremiah 1:5).  God also played a part in creating the life inside the womb.  In fact, He has known from all eternity about the life of that child and has planned for that child to accomplish something in this life.  God also says in the book of Jeremiah, chapter 29, verse 11, “for I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

Today as I prayed, I felt a particular burden for those who promote the pro-choice idea as something that is good for women.  It is not good for women.  It is harmful to women.  It is devastating to women.  The lives of 50 million children have been lost to this lie. 50 million children that God had plans for, plans for hope and plans for the future.  God’s plan does not include children being unwanted or abandoned.  That argument is thin at best.  And, yes even in  the cases of rape and incest, while the acts committed against a woman are violent and inexcusable, if a life has been conceived through that act, then God has a plan and it is a plan that can be trusted.

Pray for those at the forefront of promoting abortion as a reproductive right.  Pray that their eyes are opened to the lie that they have bought into, but also that their eyes will be opened to a loving and merciful God who waits for them with open arms.

Day 22 – October 17, 2012

I know I’ve mentioned this before, today, being Wednesday, is the day that the babies are delivered by dismemberment in Germantown and I was so grieved for the lives of these children today.  I have no idea how many children died in Germantown this week, but just one is too many.  This morning was very different for me, something I’m generally not used to doing.  The Lord had me keep a silent vigil this morning in honor of those who died today.  I didn’t pray anything this morning, I just was there in silence and after about a half an hour I decided to read the scripture.  I felt impressed to read the book of Habakkuk, which is probably not one of those books that is read so frequently or that one would just of think of reading as I did this morning.  But, as is so true with the Lord, it was the right book to read today.  The book only has three chapters, so it’s a quick read.  Habakkuk’s name means to wrestle with or embrace as in a particularly bothersome issue, i.e. ABORTION.  The prophet attempts to explore the issues of why God has allowed evil.

A study by Hampton Keathley at Bible.org does a good job of looking at the book of Habakkuk and explaining the idea of questioning God or wrestling with God over the evil and injustice seen in the world and why this okay to do.  But more than that, this book is about faithfulness.  It is about the faithfulness of God to redeem His people and bring justice where there is evil and it is about the rewards we receive for being a faithful people.   I must remember to remain faithful to that which God has called me and recognize His sovereignty.  I must also realize that the answers I want may not come when I want them or in the way I want.  It is important to remember that God does not condone evil and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!  By the end of the book Habakkuk was able to see this and proclaim praises to God.

Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Day 21 – October 16, 2012

Some days just feel like they are  far more difficult than you think they should be and this morning was one of those mornings where prayer was very difficult.  I was not understanding at first why today just felt so hard.  I’m mean, I’ve had a few days, so far, where prayer seemed like more work than usual but today was different. Today, I felt almost stuck.  I felt as if I had been silenced.

About half way through the hour I came to some conclusions.  First, this week, I’m focusing my prayer on the women who have abortions and who’ve had them in the past.  But the main difference of course in Germantown is that you really only get one shot at seeing a woman change her mind.  If someone is not able to reach her on a Sunday in Germantown, before she goes into the clinic, then the damage is done and there is no going back, there is no changing your mind, this woman now has a dead baby in her womb for three days until it is delivered on Wednesday.  The second conclusion I came to this morning was that I was feeling completely hopeless.  Why was I there today, there was nothing that I could do to change the situation this week.  Today, I could really feel the atmosphere of death.  My heart just ached for these women though.  How many of them must have gone through this process and in doing so wished that they could change their minds?  How many women have suffered through those three days after their baby has received the fatal injection of  Digoxin hoping they weren’t carry a dead fetus in their womb?  I would dare say that many found themselves in that place over the years.

But what about that hopelessness I sensed today?  The Lord is gracious and He reminded me that He is victorious, that He is risen, and that He has conquered sin and death.  Is He saddened by all of this?  Yes, of course He is.  But everyday, I receive email reports that provide updates around the world from the various 40 days for life campaigns that encourage me when I read about the number of lives that are saved.  I’m encouraged every time I hear about even one woman who changes her mind, walks out of Carhart’s clinic, and instead walks across the parking lot to the office of Germantown Pregnancy Choices where she will find out about real help and real options that will save her life and the life of her baby.  I’m sure those moments also make the Lord happy.

As we persevere in this fight for the lives of the unborn “let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)