by Haylee Shields/CatholicAnchor.org
The pro-life prayer campaign known as 40 Days for Life, came to a close in Anchorage on Sunday, April 1 with a prayer and praise gathering outside the local Planned Parenthood abortion facility, followed by a candlelight vigil.
The campaign, which has been conducted in Anchorage since 2008, has drawn people from many denominations and church backgrounds. It is a beautiful way to unite people from various faith traditions under a common purpose: to pray to end abortion. Indeed, prayer is the integral focus of 40 Days for Life, making up the first of three components of the campaign.
The second component is peaceful vigil, where the pro-life presence is taken directly to where innocent lives are abruptly and unjustly ended — here in Anchorage, at Planned Parenthood on Lake Otis.
The third and last component is community outreach.
Both locally and internationally 40 Days for Life has seen tremendous results, some of which are recorded for only eternity to reveal. The national team reports nearly 6,000 women chose life instead of death for their unborn children directly due to the public witness against the evil of abortion. Local volunteers report three such incidents taking place here in Anchorage, when we know lives have been saved. There are other remarkable and miraculous results from around the world, like the 69 abortion clinic workers who have experienced a change of heart and left the industry.
The lack of both workers and customers has caused some abortion facilities to significantly reduce their hours, even forcing 21 such clinics to close their doors permanently. For some, these miraculous results are the measure of the success of 40 Days for Life, but it must be remembered that the more subtle results can also prove the campaign a success. Take, for instance, the beauty of young people taking time and making the sacrifice to publicly stand and be a witness to the sanctity of all human life. And there are personal lessons learned from participating in this prayer-based campaign — lessons like trust, surrender and faithfulness. Learning these things, witnessing unity in the Body of Christ, giving of ourselves to help others and promoting justice — these are true measures of success.