We are off to a great start with our biggest prayer campaign yet! We are being joined by 612 other cities around the world. We still have a few slots to be filled at both vigil locations. All prayer volunteers will get a free t-shirt with our new design featuring the following verse:
Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”
Here’s our current prayer and sidewalk schedule:
SANTA TERESA VIGIL
- Sundays: 11am, 12pm, 3pm, 4pm
- Mondays: 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm
- Tuesdays: 1pm, 3pm
- Wednesdays: Filled!
- Thursdays: 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm (today!)
- Fridays: 8am, 3pm, 5pm
- Saturdays: 2pm
PLANNED PARENTHOOD VIGIL
- Sundays: 8am
- Mondays: 4pm
- Tuesdays: 1pm, 3pm
- Wednesdays: Filled!
- Thursdays: Filled!
- Fridays: 12pm, 2pm, 5pm
- Saturdays: Filled!
For our volunteers joining 40 Days for Life on the sidewalk as well as those joining in prayer from home, it is important to remember that 40 Days for Life is not just 40 days of prayer. It’s 40 days of prayer and fasting.
Why do we fast?
Because we’re following the example of Jesus: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry.” (Matthew 4:1-2) Fasting provides a powerful opportunity for us to reject sin and to intensify our prayer. It helps us tune out distractions, rely less on the world, and rely more on God to nourish us.
How does fasting work?
The uncomfortable sensation of hunger reminds us that it’s time to eat. But when we fast, that hunger can serve as a reminder to pray! All throughout Scripture — in both the Old Testament and the New Testament — God’s people deny themselves as they seek to reject sin and turn toward the Lord.
During this 40 Days for Life campaign we, too, fast to reject the sin of abortion and to unite ourselves with the Lord of Life who is working through us to end abortion. We do this by joyfully offering our small sufferings of prayer and fasting for those suffering the injustice of abortion, as Paul tells us in Colossians 1:24, “Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.”
What can I do to fast during the 40 days?
Traditionally, fasting means voluntarily going without food for an extended period, but it can also mean any form of self-denial that we undertake. Most of us probably aren’t in a position to go 40 straight days without food the way Jesus did in the desert. Alternatively, here are five ideas to deny ourselves over the next six weeks:
- Decrease your food consumption. Perhaps we can skip a meal, eat smaller, simpler meals, or fast on bread and water on certain days of the week, such as Wednesdays and Fridays. Just remember, our goal is to draw near to the Lord, not to pass out from malnourishment (that’s not pro-life!).
- Give up a certain type of food in your prayer and fasting. Some people give up sweets, meats, or comfort foods for 40 days. “The Daniel Fast” is known as the giving up of both meats and sweets. During 40 Days for Life, we can eat simpler meals focused more on fruits, vegetables, and grains.
- Turn down the temperature on your morning shower or give up your pillow. Fasting doesn’t have to involve food. During 40 Days for Life, we can give up comfort items that we take for granted like hot showers or pillows. Use these minor discomforts as reminders to pray for an end to abortion!
- Drink only water. Perhaps you enjoy soda, coffee, wine, etc. Maybe you can replace it with water during our 40-day fast.
- Fast from media. When we enjoy media entertainment, we’re not spending time in prayer. If we are really looking to tune out distractions, there’s nothing better to give up than certain forms of entertainment media. Maybe it’s music, television, or Facebook, so we can devote this time to prayer instead.
Remember, fasting is our most powerful form of personal prayer. Christ tells us in Mark 9:29 and Matthew 12:21 that some types of demons can only be driven out by BOTH prayer and fasting, and the closure of 109 abortion facilities following 40 Days for Life vigils is a testament to this reality.
In Scripture, fasting always goes hand in hand with prayer, and our vigil during this season of Lent is the perfect opportunity to combine these two powerful tools which Christ implores of us.
Devotional for Day 2
Intention: Let us pray that pastors may not be distracted from the priority of caring for human lives.
Scripture: In those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. — Acts 6:1
Reflection: More folks learning left some yearning. It is the dawning of a new day. There is much excitement in Jerusalem. Many who dedicated themselves to the faith became disciples (the word disciple means learner). The unprecedented church growth was miraculous and undoubtedly brought much satisfaction to the new leadership. The apostles, however, were about to experience growing pains in their master plan of evangelism. Projects that engage the community, especially those that are evangelistic in nature, are high on the list of priorities for every duty-bound pastor. Church attendance is a constant concern for every pastor and often his or her worth is measured by it. Unfortunately, just as the original twelve pastors in Acts, they can be so focused on getting people in that they inadvertently end up pushing some people out. Murmuring is a deplorable deterrent to a harmonious fellowship, yet God used it to get the disciples’ attention. Those that needed daily attention due to their age and social status were being neglected. This neglect of the Hellenist widows during the daily distribution of food was causing undue grief and needed to be corrected by the leadership. By God’s grace the problem was dealt with, but the lesson remains. And during these 40 days, let us pray that today’s church will not make the same mistake of forgetting the contributions of our seniors or the needs of the weakest among us, the unborn.
Prayer: Father, in the Church’s desire to engage our communities with the Gospel let her not disengage from those who need their care and company the most. Let us gain wisdom from those who have gone before us and cherish their experiences and perspectives. Help us to appreciate every soul in the body of Christ and minister properly to everybody. Amen.