The crisis of abortion is enormous. A tragedy of epidemic proportions, abortion is the leading cause of death in the world, taking an estimated 40 million lives every year.
Where do you start when it comes to addressing such a global catastrophe? For four individuals in Bryan/College Station, Texas, the answer was to start locally and to start with prayer.
In 1998, Planned Parenthood opened an abortion center in Bryan/College Station. People of faith rallied against it, but in time the office was built and Planned Parenthood opened.
Each year, the goal of ending abortion in the Brazos Valley seemed to slip further away. But four members of the Brazos Valley Coalition for Life realized they needed to ask God how He would have them end abortion in their community. So in 2004, they gathered around an old wooden table for an hour of prayer.
During that hour of prayer, they found themselves drawn to the timeframe of 40 days-a timeframe God consistently uses throughout salvation history to transform His people. How might God transform Bryan/College Station in 40 days?
As that hour of prayer progressed, the four individuals felt themselves called to launch a 40 day campaign of PRAYER AND FASTING, COMMUNITY OUTREACH, AND A CONSTANT, PEACEFUL VIGIL to end abortion. They also vowed that even if no one else would join them, together they would cover the entire 40 day, 960 hour, around-the-clock vigil.
Finally, they gave their new project a name: 40 Days for Life.
The campaign results exceeded all expectations. In less than six weeks, more than 1,000 new volunteers helped ensure all 960 hours of the vigil were covered. A grassroots, door-to-door effort reached more than 25,000 households. The campaign made local, state and national news. And the local abortion rate dropped by 28 percent.
In the year to come, communities across the United States launched their own campaigns: Houston, Texas. Dallas, Texas. Green Bay, Wisconsin. Kitsap County, Washington. Charlotte, North Carolina.
In 2007, the original 40 Days for Life leaders launched the first ever nationally coordinated 40 Days for Life campaign, spanning 89 cities in 33 states. Before long, campaigns had been hosted in all 50 states. And then the world came knocking.
Hundreds of cities in dozens of countries across all six populated continents have now hosted 40 Days for Life campaigns. Pro-Lifers in places like Houston, Manhattan, Indianapolis, Toronto, London, Sydney, Mexico City, Cape Town, Bogota, Moscow, and Hong Kong stand together in prayerful solidarity.
Many cultures. Many time zones. Many languages. But one shared language of prayer.
Since 2007, 40 Days for Life participants report 16,742 lives saved from abortion during a campaign. That's the type of impact that led an ACLU spokesperson to describe 40 Days for Life as the "greatest threat to choice."
But it's not just lives that are being saved. Souls are being won for God as well. Amidst the sixth 40 Days for Life campaign in Bryan/College Station, Abby Johnson - Planned Parenthood's employee of the year - changed her mind about abortion, and she turned to the 40 Days for Life team for encouragement as she left her job.
Abby isn't alone. Less than a year later, 40 Days for Life came to Sherman, Texas, leading Ramona Trevino to leave her job managing a Planned Parenthood. These two Texans are among 196 abortion workers to experience conversion and leave their jobs through 40 Days for Life.
40 Days for Life has contributed to a groundswell of pro-life support worldwide. Some 106 abortion centers (and numerous referral centers) where campaigns have been hosted have closed their doors forever. The Bryan/College Station Planned Parenthood joined the list in 2013.
The building where thousands of lives were taken has been redeemed and now serves as the international headquarters for 40 Days for Life
With God's grace, this movement will continue until every abortion center goes out of business for good.