40 Days to Transform the World

/ Commentary

A global life-saving force has discovered the secret weapons to ending abortion.

This is the one campaign the multi-billion dollar abortion industry wants you to know as little about as possible. Why? Because this single movement has saved 16,472 babies, helped 196 abortion workers quit the industry, and has completely shut down 104 abortion facilities – all within the last 12 years. It has mobilized a total of  1,000,000+ individual participants across 855 cities in 61 countries since starting, and these numbers are always growing.

This movement, which is helping bring about the beginning of the end of abortion, is 40 Days for Life. Their secret weapons are prayer, fasting, peaceful vigils, and grassroots outreach.

Their mission:

“To bring together the body of Christ in a spirit of unity during a focused 40-day campaign of prayer, fasting, and peaceful activism, with the purpose of repentance, to seek God’s favor to turn hearts and minds from a culture of death to a culture of life, thus bringing an end to abortion.”  

It all started with a prayer. Four individuals in Bryan and College Station, Texas were frustrated to learn approximately 2,000 children had been aborted in their county since Planned Parenthood opened its doors there. All their best pro-life efforts had fallen short; abortion numbers continued to climb. They realized they did not have the answer, so they turned to prayer. For one hour around a wooden table, they asked God to give them His answer.

It was then they were convicted of the 40-day time frame which God has used repeatedly to bring about transformation in the world: Noah’s time on the ark, Moses’ time on Mount Sinai, Jesus’ time in the wilderness, and the apostles’ time with Jesus following His resurrection. God was calling them to use this time frame once again to end the scourge of abortion.

They decided to call upon their community to unite in prayer and fasting for an end to abortion. They were inspired to begin a round-the-clock, 40-day peaceful prayer vigil outside the local Planned Parenthood. They accomplished this by spreading the pro-life message door-to-door to every household in their community.

In those 40 days, over 1,000 people participated and abortion numbers in the region dropped by 28%. Word of this success quickly spread to other cities. A movement was sparked and the first national 40 Days for Life campaign was launched in 2007. Life-saving miracles started happening all over the country, including Abby Johnson’s incredible conversion back in Bryan, Texas. In another case in Pensacola, Florida, seven babies were saved in a single day! In 2013, that Planned Parenthood in Bryan went out of business and became the new headquarters of 40 Days for Life.

Since the first campaign in 2004, 40 Days for Life has grown exponentially to 6,428 local campaigns around the world. People are realizing they can do something about the abortions happening where they live. People are waking up to the agony and regret abortion causes and how it scars women and tears families apart.

There are many ways for you to get involved with 40 Days for Life. First and most importantly is prayer. The battle against abortion has more to do with changing hearts and minds one at a time than with politics. This is where your prayers are effective. 40 Days for Life publishes a devotional guide with scripture readings and reflections you can pray each day of the campaign; remember the spiritual power of fasting, as well.

Second, you can help financially. There are significant operating costs involved with the bi-annual 40-day campaigns like training, vigil materials, websites, and travel for in-campaign support. The last campaign had 505 vigil sites! Even just $40, a dollar per day of the campaign, makes a powerful stand for life.

Third, you can stand vigil. It is a courageous sacrifice, but all which is required is your prayerful presence on the sidewalk. Just show up. Let God do the rest. From the abortion industry’s own statistics, we know the no-show rate for abortions can be as high as 75% when pro-lifers are outside praying. You can bear witness to the harm being inflicted on the most vulnerable at Planned Parenthood. Abortion mills thrive on keeping a low profile. You can put a spotlight on the violence being done within. Your prayerful presence could be the final reason a woman needs to turn around and choose life.

Finally, word of mouth is how 40 Days for Life caught on fire and it is how the movement will continue to grow. Share their articles online, tell your friends and encourage them to participate, display 40 Days for Life merchandise and bumper stickers, and check out their website.

We learn from 40 Days for Life that prayer is the answer to the culture of death. We learn that we can make a meaningful difference for the 56 million babies aborted around the world each year by uniting at a local level. We learn that nothing is impossible with God, and we learn we all have a part to play in this fight. Prayerfully discern what your role is in this transformative work. Millions of lives are at stake. By loving the mother and the child and being peaceful, prayerful witnesses, we can continue saving lives and changing hearts and minds.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.

Matthew Keller

Matthew Keller

Matthew writes historical novels, songs, & poems with the vision to change lives through the power of storytelling. He is a Catholic who defends the rights of the preborn.

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