COLORADO SPRINGS. Forty Days for Life is an international effort to end abortion peacefully through prayer and fasting, public witness in front of an abortion clinic, and community outreach. The national effort began in the fall of 2007. It is now in 47 countries, with 750,000 participants. Nearly 14,000 lives are known have been saved from abortion since 2007.
Colorado Springs joined the 40 Days for Life effort in the spring of 2008. Over the past 10 years, God has inspired approximately 700 people in and around Colorado Springs to pray at the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood. Many more have prayed from home. We have had people from over 50 churches participate, from the Catholic, protestant, evangelical, and messianic Jewish communities. We even had a 99-year-old woman praying at the sidewalk during the last effort!
Father Bill Carmody, the late Respect Life director for the diocese, was key in promoting 40 Days for Life in Colorado Springs. He celebrated countless Masses at the sidewalk, celebrated Adoration in the freezing cold and snow, led processions with the Blessed Sacrament, and had a Jericho March one year. Father Bill always gave us hope and encouragement in difficult times during our 40 Days for Life efforts. He also focused on mercy and forgiveness when speaking of those who had been involved in past abortions.
In the early years, we witnessed the closing of the Planned Parenthood on West Colorado Avenue after a pregnancy center opened across the street. This amazing miracle, which we saw unfold before our eyes, brought together people from many different denominations who prayed at the sidewalk. Some met at the sidewalk for the first time. All had the same intention — to purchase a house across the street and open a pregnancy center. About two years after LifeNetwork opened the pregnancy center on Colorado Avenue, Planned Parenthood closed their doors (unfortunately they did relocate to Centennial Boulevard). We believe the closing of the abortion center and move was because of the drop of abortions due to the pregnancy center right across the street. (Sidewalk counselors experienced this first hand as they led abortion-minded women over to the pregnancy center.)
Over the years, we know of 23 babies who have been saved here in Colorado Springs. I’m sure this is only a mere fraction of those saved since women don’t generally stop at the sidewalk to let us know they chose life. We also know of two abortion workers who have quit as a result of the example of those praying at the sidewalk. Post-abortive men and women have also received help and healing. If these miracles weren’t enough, God has touched even more lives in ways we can’t even imagine. Many lives have been touched simply by being exposed to the prayer and love of participants of 40 Days for Life, as shown by the following examples:
One man told us that in the past few years, he had turned away from God in his life. When he was invited to pray at the sidewalk with a friend, that simple act and experience at the sidewalk brought him back to God. Another man came back to the Catholic Church after praying at the sidewalk. God’s miracles are endless when we go to him in prayer and fasting and are willing to make big sacrifices.
This effort touches everyone, because prayer touches everyone. Love touches everyone.
One day, we will all get to see all the babies that were saved because of our saying “yes” to God. We will get to see the lives that were changed and the hearts that were brought back to God. In this world that has turned its back on God, people need to see witnesses who are not afraid to stand for what is right and good. They need peaceful, loving people to show them that God is the answer. Praying at the sidewalk isn’t as difficult as most people think it is. We simply stand out there and pray. God does the hard work of changing hearts.
Thanks so much to all of you who have sacrificed time to pray at the sidewalk (or at home) during the last 10 years. Please consider praying at the sidewalk during the spring effort which begins February 14th. Keep this in mind, if a 99-year-old woman can find the time and energy to pray at the sidewalk, so can we!
Check The Colorado Catholic Herald for upcoming events, or go to: www.40daysforlife.com/coloradosprings. Also check out the new 40 Days for Life App. It makes signing up very convenient! As always, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get involved or help us spread the word in the Colorado Springs community.