40 Days for Life / National Life Chain

By Michael W. Salemink

Date: September 17, 2019

Category: Abortion, Abortion and the Church, Worldview and Culture, Christian Responsibility, Political

Get ready to raise your Gospel-motivated voice. Two amazing opportunities are coming your way!

40 Days For Life is a prayer vigil. It takes place in front of abortion businesses. Participants gather for peaceful public praying from morning until evening, often in one-hour shifts and sometimes around the clock. Its time frame recalls several episodes in the Scriptures where our Lord acted significantly over the course of 40 days (the Flood, Moses receiving commandments, Nineveh repents, Jesus’ temptation, resurrection appearances).

The event began in Texas in 2007. Since then, 816 cities in 61 countries have held 6,428 spring and fall vigils involving over 1,000,000 volunteers. Organizers report 16,004 lives saved from abortion as well as 191 workers leaving the industry (most famously, Abby Johnson of Unplanned) during the campaigns—and 100 facilities where a vigil occurred have closed. This year’s fall installment starts September 25. Many of our Life Teams and Life Chapters get involved, and even congregations without organized For Life groups join in. You can find information about the one nearest you at www.40daysforlife.com/vigil-search.aspx.

The National Life Chain represents a similar witness activity. Congregations across the country assemble along prominent sidewalks for an afternoon prayer rally. Official guidelines outline a code of conduct which discourages idle chatter, frivolity, and physical or verbal responses to motorists while urging self-reflection, repentance, and prayer (as well as spacing 25 to 30 feet between attendees along the route).

Its history stretches all the way back to 1987 when some 2,000 individuals came together in a couple of California cities. Last year, over 1,530 locations held Life Chains featuring sign messages such as “Jesus Forgives and Heals,” “Adoption: The Loving Option,” and “Pregnant? Need Help? 1-800-712-HELP.” LFL volunteers nationwide also take part and lead their churches in a Life-Chain presence. National Life Chain Sunday will occur this October 6 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. (local times may vary, and the network has designated October 27 as an alternate date). Materials and details, including a listing of sites (it even extends across Canada!), are available at lifechain.net.

And if you still need motivation, here are my eight favorite reasons to get involved with 40 Days For Life or Life Chain

  1. They’re Gospel-motivated. These events do not involve you in endorsing lawmakers or advocating legislation. They do not engage you in confrontation. They peacefully testify to the sanctity of every life while offering Christian compassion and hope to the least of these.

  2. They connect you. Both 40 Days For Life and Life Chain bring you together with other life-affirming individuals, not only locally but across the country and even internationally. And they show that surprise pregnancies do not have to remain private problems or personal choices.

  3. They focus on faith. Their primary purpose consists in prayer and meditation. No manipulating or coercing is included.

  4. They reach out. You are not protesting or even providing sidewalk counseling, but you are calling public attention to the gravity of the matter. You are also reminding those struggling with life issues that they do not go through them alone.

  5. They make a difference. Clinics have closed due to these demonstrations. Clients have declined their previously scheduled appointments during the campaigns. Volunteers have directed abortion-minded women and men to pregnancy resource center services.

  6. They take action. You can contribute to changing hearts and saving lives instead of waiting for courts or policies (or worse, just lamenting and complaining!).

  7. They welcome everybody. You don’t have to pay a registration fee. You can bring your children and your parents. You can even sit in a lawn chair or a wheelchair.

  8. They invite further activism. These observances make great first steps for a lifestyle of speaking the truth in love. You’ll want to gather together with your fellow Gospel-motivated voices for more life-affirming opportunities.

Let’s go!

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