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Deacon John,

Praying at a closed abortion facility in the middle of the night is powerful. But why do it?

It’s a question we’ve gotten since the very first 40 Days for Life campaign in 2004, when volunteers took turns standing vigil 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

“Why are you out there when they are not even open?”

It’s because the round-the-clock prayer presence does several good things. For starters, such a committment places prayer at the center of the 40-day time period.

It is literally a vigil that prays without ceasing – for 960 straight hours!

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It also sends a powerful message to the community. Many people don’t know there’s an abortion center in their home towns – or maybe even in their neighborhoods. People who drive by after business hours may not realize what goes on in what may look like a simple, quiet office building.

And it’s a constant reminder to the abortion facility’s staff. We’re there when they show up for work. We’re there when they go out for lunch or to run errands. We’re there at the end of the day when they go home. We’re there when they drive past on nights and weekends.

As one former abortion worker realized, “I’m not as dedicated as they are.”

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St. Louis, Missouri

“Even on the one day during that week that Planned Parenthood’s gates remained closed to the public,” said Brian, the 40 Days for Life leader in St. Louis, “still we prayerfully persist.”

“One day soon, God willing, the abortion industry will fold – will close its doors and cease to take the lives of innocent children day in and day out,” he said. “But when this day comes, our work will be far from over. It will just be beginning” [more]

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Plattsburgh, New York

It’s often the conversations with passersby that make a big impression. Nancy in Plattsburgh shared accounts of two women who recently decided to engage the prayer volunteers.

While a small group was praying outside of Planned Parenthood at the 40 Days for Life vigil, a young woman jogging down the sidewalk stopped to speak with them.

Jogger: “Planned Parenthood really helps teens, you know, with preventing pregnancy.”

Volunteers: “Planned Parenthood promotes promiscuity.”

Jogger: “No, I don’t think so. (Pauses a moment to think.) Well, are you going to take all those kids in and take care of them?”

Volunteers: “Yes! Bring them to us!”

Jogger: “Well! I’ve got better things to do than that!”

And with that, off she ran – full steam ahead … [more]

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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

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.

See today’s full devotional

For life,

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Shawn D. Carney

President, 40 Days for Life

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40 Days for Life 4112 E 29th St. Bryan, Texas 77802 United States (888) LIFE-316

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