By Stori Long
Anti-abortion advocates all over the world, including students and groups on Baylor campus, are using the 40 days of Lent to participate in the 40 Days for Life campaign.
“The 40 Days for Life campaign is just a time of intense prayer, fasting and outreach to bring to light the injustice of abortion,” said Houston senior Rachana Chinn, student leader with St. Peter’s Pro-Life ministry. “It’s no coincidence that this aligns with Lent, which is a time of prayer, fasting, repentance and discipline. During this time we are giving our time, energy and prayer.”
Groups such as St. Peter’s Pro-Life ministry, as well as Bears for Life and Pro-Life Waco, are participating in the campaign. These groups are holding prayer vigils outside the Planned Parenthood facility in Waco.
While many of the organizations hold silent prayer in front of Planned Parenthood throughout the year, during the 40 Days for Life these groups have organized volunteers who have committed a few hours each day to pray in front of Planned Parenthood. During all 40 days of Lent, these anti-abortion groups plan for someone to pray in front of the Planned Parenthood facility Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The group has a sign up sheet for time slots, with different churches and organizations signing up to pray at certain times.
“We just want someone to constantly be there so we can collectively have a prayer presence during these 40 days,” Round Rock senior and St. Peter’s Pro-Life Ministry volunteer Robert Prybyla said.
Frances Padilla, Houston junior and Bears for Life president, said Bears for Life volunteers are not there to persecute or harass anyone.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about pro-life people, that we are a bunch of angry, violent people. But that’s not what we’re doing; all we do is meet and pray together peaceably,” Padilla said. “If someone asks us what we are about, we tell them and try and offer a solution other than abortion.”
Chinn said these 40 days should be used as a time to reach out to those seeking an abortion and those who have already had one.
“Abortion is a wound that needs to be healed,” Chinn said. “And this an opportunity for healing and for God to work and save those who are considering abortion and those who have already done it. This is a time for him to heal them and give them hope.”
The 40 Days for Life campaign reports on its website that, as of day seven, 68 women have chosen not to have abortions due to efforts of volunteers. This, Chinn says, is the reason he does what he does.
“If one life is saved, it’ll be totally worth it,” Chinn said. “You can’t put a value on human life. It would bring me so much joy to see one woman say yes to life and choose to bring her child into this world.”
Prybyla agrees this is the main goal of the campaign’s efforts, both during these 40 days and year round.
“It’s encouraging when a woman decides not to go through with an abortion,” Prybyla said. “But we do what we can and we leave the results to God.”
For Chinn, this is a particularly exciting time because it is one of the largest collective anti-abortion efforts, spreading to countries all over the world.
“This is a very unifying time for Christians, young and old, rich and poor, Protestant and Catholic,” Chinn said.
“It shows that faith is bigger than our differences and we can come together and confirm the gospel of life.”
However, the group has not been able to fill all of the time slots for the prayer vigil. Those interesting in participating can email Prybyla at firstname.lastname@example.org.