Holding a 40 Days for Life campaign at your local abortion facility is a great way to bring new people into your pro-life efforts, and energize your local pro-life community around a common goal.
The concept of 40 Days for Life is simple. Over a 40 day period, you’ll recruit people to pray in hour long increments each day for either 12 hours, or for all 24 hours of the day. It’s an excellent witness to our opposition to abortion, and inside sources have told us that abortion appointment cancellations skyrocket during campaigns like these. Use these instructions to execute a successful 40 Days campaign.
- Sign up for your 40 Days for Life campaign
- Choosing your 40 Days for Life hours
- Planning your opening, mid-point, and closing events
- Recruiting churches to sponsor days
- Keeping up with your 40 Days recruits
Sign up for your 40 Days for Life campaign
If you’d like to host a 40 Days for Life campaign, first, check to see if there’s already a 40 Days campaign taking place in your area. If there is, see if you can help the local leader run the campaign. If not, you can sign up to lead your own.
Campaigns take place each fall and spring, and advanced signup is required. To sign up to lead a 40 Days for Life campaign, visit the 40 Days for Life website during the sign up period and fill out the application.
Choosing your 40 Days for Life hours
When you lead your 40 Days for Life campaign, you’ll need to choose between covering all 24 hours each day, or smaller span. Most groups not doing round-the-clock vigils opt for 12 hours per day.
The biggest factor in your decision on this matter will be the number of people you think you can recruit. If you have a small group of pro-lifers, you will likely want to choose to cover 12 hours.
But if you have a bustling pro-life community, you may want to go for 24 hours. Often, the presence of a 40 Days for Life campaign can be a big boost for a pro-life ministry and bring out more people than you might think. And the urgency of maintaining an unbroken chain of hours can be especially inspiring for volunteers.
Whichever set of hours you choose, just do your best to recruit as many people as you can. Every person who spends an hour in prayer at your abortion facility is a huge victory for the movement as a whole, and for your local ministry.
Planning your opening, mid-point, and closing events
Most 40 Days for Life campaigns feature a kickoff event, a mid-point event, or a closing event, and some campaigns even feature all three. You need to decide which of these you’re doing, and plan accordingly. The tools on our Take Action page will be helpful.
If you’re only going to do one of these three special events — which could be a wise choice for your first campaign — we recommend doing the kickoff event. This will help you build enthusiasm for the upcoming prayer campaign, and provides an ideal opportunity to recruit volunteers for covering all of your prayer hours.
Often, the Pro-Life Action League will have a nationwide event planned during the course of a 40 Days for Life campaign which can serve as your opening, mid-point, or closing event.
Coupling your 40 Days campaign with one of these nationwide events can help boost your turnout and heighten the impact of your 40 Days campaign. Watch our Upcoming pro-life events page to see when these events are being planned.
Recruiting churches to sponsor days
One of the best ways to get volunteers for your 40 Days campaign is to recruit local churches to “sponsor” a day when they will be responsible for recruiting members of the congregation to man the vigil for the day. People will often be more inspired to take part when they’re doing so with their church, eager to make a good showing.
The best way to recruit church involvement is to make phone calls to area churches. Ask if there is a pro-life coordinator at the church, as there often is at Catholic churches. If not, ask if you can speak with the pastor or other appropriate person, or set up a meeting with them.
When explaining the nature of the 40 Days for Life campaign, emphasize that this is not an anti-abortion protest, but a prayer vigil. Present the church’s participation in 40 Days as a real opportunity to be part of a peaceful, compassionate, life-saving outreach, rather than a chore you want them to help with. Make it clear that you don’t want to dump responsibility on the pastor but are eager to help coordinate with a volunteer from the church to recruit people to pray.
Keep careful tack of all your church contacts, and follow up with them to see how recruitment is going, especially as their sponsored day approaches. Larger churches may even be willing to adopt more than one day.
Keeping up with your 40 Days for Life recruits
During and after your 40 Days for Life campaign, you’ll want to keep in touch with the people who have signed up to pray. 40 Days has a great online signup system that will facilitate this.
Keep volunteers up to date with how the campaign is going, upcoming events, and news of any babies saved or other significant happenings. After the campaign, keep up with them about your ongoing pro-life efforts. A good 40 Days campaign can expand your pro-life efforts in a big way.