The worldwide twice-a-year campaign, first held in 2004, involves peaceful pro-life volunteers praying outside abortion clinics for 40 days. There are more than 300 locations this year, and since its inception more than 4,300 unborn lives have been spared.
Vigil participants in Grand Rapids, Mich., this year saw three unborn children delivered from abortion in the same day. The mother or parents of each one accepted the offer of a free ultrasound at a local pregnancy help center after talking with 40 Days volunteers outside the abortion clinic. The parents were able to view images of their children, convincing them not to have abortions.
In Worcester, Mass., vigil participants prayed outside while a woman walked into an abortion center with her boyfriend and 9-month-old son for an appointment. After viewing a sonogram of her unborn child at the clinic, she changed her mind and expressed excitement about giving birth.
There have been plenty of challenges, though. A staff member of a Tuscaloosa, Ala., abortion clinic tossed eight small, plastic baby models on the ground at the end of the day and told prayer vigil participants, "I don't know how long you people plan to be here, but this is how many we did today." Ryan, a participant in the vigil, said, "Our group remained silent. We watched the staff member leave, and prayed for the eight babies and the staff." The 40 Days team distributed the baby models to vigil participants to remind them to pray for the unborn.
This fall's 40-day campaign includes outreaches at 301 sites, the most in the effort's history. The biannual campaign consists of 40 days of prayer and fasting to end abortion, as well as community outreach and peaceful prayer vigils outside abortion clinics.
The pro-life effort, which began in Texas in 2004 and went national in 2007, has received reports of more than 4,300 unborn lives saved from abortion as a result of its campaigns. In addition, more than 50 abortion clinic workers reportedly have quit and 14 abortion centers have closed following outreaches at clinics.
Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.
Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net