40 Days for Life. This is a group that organizes people all around the world to go to abortion clinics for 40 days and pray for an end to abortion. You register on their web site, sign up for times and days when you are available, and show up to pray.
One of my Lenten resolutions was to spend some time each week going to the abortuary and praying. Sadly I missed the first week, and expect to miss this week due to the snow storm. I was going to blog about my experiences, but I don't want to wait longer. The same snow storm has given me some time to blog, so I'm writing about last fall's 40 days.
I had heard about 40 Days for Life last spring, but was hesitant to join. I pictured myself standing outside the abortuary all alone, being attacked by a crowd of pro-abortion people, or watching helpless as young women paraded past sobbing and wailing. Fortunately that image couldn't be further form the truth. A friend of mine who goes regularly with her children to pray there encouraged me (you know who you are - thanks!). So I joined.
Each local "chapter" has volunteer captains who are in charge. You have to sign a pledge of non-violence to join, and the captains make sure there is always someone there who knows what they are doing. In fact, they generally will cancel your time slot if there aren't at least two people there. Nobody has to stand by themselves.
My slot was generally late afternoon on Thursdays and/or Fridays, as that meshed best with my schedule. There were never less than five people there with me, and often eight to ten. Some were more sociable than others, although all seemed ot be very nice. We were shown where it was OK to stand, and where it was not, and could hold signs provided, or not, as we wished.
The first day I was there I spoke to the man in charge, who offered me literature and a sign if I wanted it. I declined, and just talked to people or prayed silently. The road we were on was fairly busy at that time of day, and our signs were clearly visible to approaching traffic. About once or twice a minute a car would go by and honk, its occupants waving and smiling, or giving us a "thumbs up". Once or twice and hour a car would go by where the occupants screamed "F you!" (always the same word). Either way we would smile and wave back.
It was nice seeing pro-life cars outnumber the pro-abortion screamers 60 to 1. But the best part about going was how I felt each time I was there and how I felt afterward. I don't know that my being there actually saved any lives, but just the fact that I was part of the effort that did save lives felt good. The prayer time felt good too. I seldom spend a whole hour or more (outside of mass) engaged in prayer. I felt peaceful and full of love standing there watching the traffic go by. And the whole way home in the car I'd be singing, with a grin on my face. And later I'd hug my wife and children extra hard.
So if you have a spare hour or so this Lent, I urge you to sign up and show up. It's easy, painless, and good for you (and the world). If you can't make it in person, please join us in prayer.