Tuesday, March 2, 2010

40 Days for Life: Visible Signs of Christ

DAY 14: Visible Signs of Christ
by National Director 40 Days for Life David Bereit

I’m home in Virginia for a short time before heading back out on the road. My wife, Margaret, asked if our family could go pray at a nearby 40 Days for Life vigil — so we piled in the minivan and headed an hour south to Richmond to join other prayer warriors outside a local abortion center.

I remembered to bring my pocket video camera, and just posted a 5-minute video: Video of Richmond, Virginia vigil participants including: Trisha Potter (me), Ann Niermeyer (my mom, who's ahead of the spring campaign in Richmond), Nita Grignol, and the Bereit family
Trusting God can be challenging. You don’t always see instant results when you pray at an abortion center. But that’s all right. We often have to take it on faith that God is at work behind the scenes.
Three prayer volunteers at the 40 Days for Life vigil in Roanoke, Virginia talked to a young mom who was obviously well along in her pregnancy. She was unmarried and poor and had four small children.
“We prayed with her and asked her to give her baby life,” said one of the vigil participants. “Let us have the baby, we said, and we would find a home.”
The young mother cried and allowed the three to hug her. And then she walked into the abortion center.
“I can’t get her off my mind,” the volunteer said. “She held on so tightly to me. I don’t know what she will ultimately decide. Please, please keep up your prayers and sacrifices.”

Click here to see a photo of the 40 Days for Life vigil in Roanoke:  http://40daysforlife.com/blog/?p=676
 Please remember that this is spiritual warfare. And sometimes when you watch carefully, you start to observe subtle changes.
“When there are large groups of people in prayer being led by members of the clergy, it really seems to affect the Planned Parenthood escorts and workers,” said one of the 40 Days for Life leadership team members in Houston, Texas.
She said the Planned Parenthood staff can become very agitated and appear nervous. A few even back off from escorting their clients and allow sidewalk counselors to hand out literature without interference.
“Oh, if we could see the spiritual warfare that must be going on!” she said.
Nikki in Pittsburgh sees a similar impact. “What a difference prayer makes,” she said.
She said that during the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil, what is normally a very busy, noisy sidewalk was covered in the peaceful presence of God.
“It even seemed that the noise of the buses were muffled, drowned out by the prayers of the people. It was so powerful,” she said.
For some reason, more young women were willing to take her informational brochures. More people were willing to talk to her. More girls were willing to take brochures into the clinic than usual. More people were receptive to talking to her, including one teenage couple.
This couple, however, continued on their way into the clinic. “But I believe came back out after only a few minutes. I didn’t get to talk to them,” Nikki said, “but I hope and pray that they changed their minds.”
“Please know that we are planting seeds,” said Linda, one of the local 40 Days for Life coordinators in Canton, Ohio. “We are visible signs of Christ; and with God guiding us we are making a difference.”

Today’s devotional is from Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life.
Pray that we will have faith to realize that even now our Lord can bring an end to abortion.
     On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.
     When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”  – John 11:17-22
REFLECTION by Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

Martha was right. Jesus is Lord of life and death.

She knew that, which is why she was able to make this statement, yet at the same time she had to wrestle with the fact that Lazarus died anyway.

Jesus indeed is Lord over life and death, but here the power of death was still displayed right in front of her.

Yet in this clash between the conviction of faith and the evidence of human experience, Martha allowed hope to shine through. “Even now, God will give you whatever you ask.”

Even now. Those words show the power of hope, born of faith. Even now, when death has already done its work, life can be victorious.

Even now, when the last word seems to have been spoken, we can hope that a word will be spoken again to restore life.

Even now, when Lazarus has already been laid in the tomb and it seems impossible to do anything about it, things can change. And things did change. The Lord raised Lazarus from the dead.

We live in a society where many believe the abortion issue has been settled, and its practice so deeply ingrained in our policies and attitudes that it is unrealistic to think we can stop it.

Yet we are the people who say to Jesus, “Even now…”
Lord Jesus, even now, you are master of life and death. I come before you as Martha did after Lazarus has died. I come before you after countless brothers and sisters of mine have died from abortion.

And I pray to you: even now, you can stop the forces of death. Even now, you can bring us into a culture of life. Come, Lord Jesus. Speak your word yet again, and free our nation from the shackles of death. Amen.


To download today’s devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends:


Yours for Life,

David Bereit
National Director
40 Days for Life
PS: How is God providing blessings for the 40 Days for Life campaign in your community?
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