‘40 Days for Life’ offers compelling stories for pro-lifers on their journey to end abortion

By Jerry Circelli

10/29/2014

 

Image courtesy of Premiere Collectibles.

40 Days for Life: True stories from the movement that is changing hearts and saving lives one prayer at a time by David Bereit and Shawn Carney with Cindy Lambert
Cappella Books (Nashville, Tennessee, 2013)
272 pp., $11.25

Full of inspirational stories and powerful testimonies, 40 Days for Life is a page-turner. It was not, however, meant to be read in a single sitting. In fact, if read the way that authors David Bereit and Shawn Carney intended, it should take you 40 days to complete the book.

No surprise, there are 40 chapters in 40 Days for Life, and each takes only about five to 10 minutes to read. The first part of each chapter involves a short, moving testimonial, followed by a Scripture verse and prayer.

From a single campaign that started in 2007 in College Station, the 40 Days for Life movement has inspired more than 3,000 campaigns today. Those campaigns have taken place in 539 cities in 24 countries around the world.

40 Days for Life reports that the movement has saved nearly 9,000 lives and inspired 101 abortion workers to quit their jobs. Since its inception, 56 abortion centers have closed.

In 40 Days for Life, co-author David Bereit writes, “God repeatedly uses 40 days to call his own people back to him, both to chastise and to encourage. He uses 40 days to transform and prepare his people for the mission he has called them to do. He uses 40 days to ready the world for the impact his people are about to have on their culture.”

The foreword of this book was written by former Planned Parenthood center director, Abby Johnson, who presents her own moving testimonial of transformation.

One of the book’s early chapters tells the story of a reluctant volunteer, named Mark. In a heavy rainstorm, Mark decided to stay in his car instead of praying outside an abortion facility during his vigil time-slot at a 40 Days for Life campaign. Mark watched from the comfort of his automobile as another volunteer arrived, umbrella in hand, and knelt down on the sidewalk near the abortion center to pray. Mark invited the man to sit inside his dry car, but the man refused, stating that he signed up for a peaceful prayer vigil on the public right of way in front of the abortion facility, and that is what he intended to do.

Then Mark did the same and joined the other man to pray, despite the downpour.

As the rain pelted the two men, they watched a couple drive by. They had a baby in a car seat. Mark made eye contact with the woman who sat in the passenger seat as the car pulled into the abortion center driveway. Mark knew instinctively she was scheduled for an abortion, and he was witnessing, for the first time, the prelude to a dramatic horror that was about to take place inside the building.

The men prayed harder, this time their pleas to God focused clearly on the woman’s face they had seen. Heavy in prayer and deep in sadness, they continued this way for 10 minutes until the abortion center door opened and the woman came out. She went directly to the men. She told them that she was being pressured to have an abortion and that she was once Christian but had fallen away. The men told her that God had never left her side and that He loved her.

In the book, the authors relate her story:

“I cried out to God. I was desperate! I asked him for a sign if he didn’t want me to have this abortion. And just as we were turning into the lot, I saw you!”

“Two guys standing outside in the pouring rain, soaking wet —  praying! I just knew you were praying. I couldn’t believe it! God answered my prayer after all! He sent two strangers to stand out in the rain and wait for me and pray for me!” 

A life had been saved. “What a powerful God we have,” Mark was quoted as saying.

The authors go on to tell us that they have met many people along the way that at first are reluctant to follow-through on their calling, but find strength and persevere after God gives them a visible sign.

40 Days for Life gives us a glimpse of those people so that we, too, might find our strength through their stories.

If you seek truthful encouragement about what is happening in the pro-life movement today, despite what you hear on television or read in the newspapers, read 40 Days for Life. And if you want to take it a step further, participate in a peaceful prayer vigil at a 40 Days for Life campaign. You may be just the sign a desperate mother is looking for.

SEE ALSO

40 Days for Life kickoff convened Sept. 24 with pro-lifers from across the diocese

By Juan Guajardo

More than 150 pro-lifers from all over the diocese convened in front of Planned Parenthood in Southwest Fort Worth for the kickoff of 40 Days for Life, an ecumenical peaceful prayer vigil that takes place 24/7 throughout the course of 40 days, encouraged the participants — which included families, college students, professionals, teenagers, and children — on Sept. 24.

Full of inspirational stories and powerful testimonies, 40 Days for Life is a page-turner. It was not, however, meant to be read in a single sitting. In fact, if read the way that authors David Bereit and Shawn Carney intended, it should take you 40 days to complete the book. No surprise, there are 40 chapters in 40 Days for Life, and each takes only about five to 10 minutes to read. The first part of each chapter involves a short, moving testimonial, followed by a Scripture verse and prayer.

Published