(Campaign Life Coalition) When Maria Buelvas discerned that God was asking her to lead a pro-life campaign on the streets of Toronto for 40 days that aimed at convincing abortion-bound women to keep their babies, she also discerned that for this campaign to be fruitful, it would involve lots of prayer, sacrifice, and especially fasting.
“To be honest with you, the one component we didn’t do in the other campaigns was fasting. We’re all fasting, including our spiritual advisor, on bread and water for 40 days,” Maria told Campaign Life Coalition in an exclusive interview.
Beginning March 2nd, Maria and a team of dedicated pro-life advocates embarked on a 40 Days for Life campaign where volunteers hold signs and pray at a nearby abortion mill. The signs have different messages, such as “Pray to end abortion” and “Here to help.” The abortion mill in this case was the Abortion Care Clinic in Toronto, which has been killing pre-born children either medically or surgically since 1996.
The name “40 days” comes from the timeframe God consistently uses throughout salvation history to transform His people. For example, God washed sin from the earth with 40 days of rain in the time of Noah. The Hebrew people lived outside the promised land for 40 years as a corrective punishment due to worshipping false gods. Jesus prepared himself to transform the world by fasting and praying for 40 days in the wilderness.
Maria, a registered nurse by profession, told Campaign Life Coalition that about 150 people from the parish she and her husband and three children attend have also joined in the campaign by fasting on bread and water for 40 days with the intention of saving lives from abortion.
“In the Scriptures, there are demons who can only be cast out through prayer and fasting. So, that was our inspiration, along with Jesus fasting for 40 days in the desert,” she said.
“Fasting helps us to get a little bit more closer to the heart of God. When we deny ourselves something that is necessary for our physical well-being, such as food and drink, it helps us to home in on the spiritual reality that all we need is Him.”
Maria said that fasting on bread and water for so many days is “like being on a retreat.” She said the fasting helps bring focus to her prayer, gives her surprisingly more energy, and helps keep her more centred on God.
“I find that I’m even more energetic, that I have more like an internal strength that I can just presume that it comes from God. It is just Him. You just feel that He’s the one in you and you’re acting and seeing things differently,” she said.
Another reason the campaign has been so successful this year is the new signs that the volunteers hold that offer help to women. The new signs have been important in drawing people in. The first reads: “We will help you.” The second: “Ask me about healing after abortion.”
“Those two have been really important. They have drawn people’s attention,” Maria said, adding that people told her afterwards that those signs let them know that they could approach the group to ask questions….
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