COLORADO SPRINGS. “What happened to the strong man?”
“I’m sorry — but what strong man? What are you talking about?”
“You know,” she said. “The statue of the muscular, demonic figure that used to be perched on the roof. I walk by here all the time, and I always see it. It’s not there today. What happened to it?”
“There never was any statue.”
This conversation, as shared in the book “40 Days for Life” by David Bereit and Shawn Carney, really happened. No one else had seen that demon, but this woman had seen it on the roof of the abortion clinic time and time again as she walked past the clinic. After the abortion center was closed and the building was prayed over, the physical representation showing a spiritual reality was gone.
The unseen, spiritual battle of abortion is real. Those of us who go out to the sidewalk to pray near Planned Parenthood as 40 Days for Life participants and as Sidewalk Advocates sometimes feel the oppression. Despite these feelings, we continue to go out to witness because we know lives are saved (at least 26 in Colorado Springs — two during the fall 2019 effort). We know women and men are being spared from the devastation of abortion, and we know hearts are turning to God.
As we spiritually combat evil at the sidewalk, both seen and unseen, we need to be protected. We need to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). “But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). We need to be protected by the prayer and support of others who may not be able to go to the sidewalk.
This spring, we are expanding our ministry to include people who are unable to join us at the sidewalk to pray, but whose prayer and fasting from home is crucial to the success of the 40 Days for Life effort, both here and around the world. We are calling these home prayer warriors “Barnabas Buddies.” The apostle Barnabas was a friend of St. Paul; Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement.”
Barnabas Buddies are volunteers, or “encouragers,” who can offer prayer support and fasting from home, adoration chapels, nursing homes, Christian schools, prisons and so on. They may be seniors who are homebound, people recovering from surgery, cloistered nuns, new moms who are home with their babies, or soldiers and airmen who are deployed overseas. These Barnabas Buddies can sign up to pray during whatever days and times they are available.
This is a great opportunity for those with limited mobility to pray in unison with someone at the sidewalk and make a difference in saving lives and helping women in need. It also gives those who are praying at the sidewalk extra spiritual protection. I believe this new inspiration is from the Holy Spirit, and I believe that, if people respond to this with open hearts, we will see a great outpouring of miracles and graces from God.
The Barnabas Buddy outreach is in no way meant to discourage people from praying at the sidewalk. We know that when people are present near abortion facilities it makes a difference. Planned Parenthood has stated that, when people are praying outside an abortion clinic, the no-show rate for abortion appointments is as high as 75%.
There are two options to participate in the Spring 40 Days for Life Campaign, which will take place Feb. 26 - April 5:
1. Be a 40 Days for Life Sidewalk Volunteer.
Sidewalk volunteers pray at the sidewalk near Planned Parenthood (3480 Centennial Blvd.)
For sidewalk volunteers, please sign up for 1-2 hour shifts each week during 40 Days for Life. Sign up at: www.40daysforlife.com/coloradosprings, at your church, or email Michele at email@example.com.
2. Be a Barnabas Buddy. For Barnabas Buddies, we are using a separate sign-up tool to try to lessen the confusion this two-fold effort may bring. Sign up at https://slotted.co/ws3tj0dg, at your church, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those who sign up to pray at the sidewalk, find a friend or family member who is homebound who would like to be your Barnabas Buddy. Just let your buddy know what days and times you will be praying and ask them to commit to the same. Find more than one buddy for extra support!
This will be a 24/7, round-the-clock 40 Days for Life vigil, so we need sidewalk volunteers and Barnabas Buddies all hours of the day and night.
If you are involved in an outreach ministry to people in nursing homes or prisons or to the homebound, please contact Michele at 719-659-2097 for more information and to receive free prayer booklets that can be distributed to those who would like to participate.
Join us at our 40 Days for Life Kick Off and Potluck Dinner on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Colorado Springs.
Guest speakers will be Father Jason Keas, who will discuss spiritual warfare, and Julie Bailey, who will give a talk titled “Why is Fasting a Key Component of 40 Days for Life?” Please bring a meat dish, side dish, salad, or dessert to share.
(Michele Mason is the director of the 40 Days for Life Colorado Springs campaign.)