40 Days: September 9 to October 18, 2013

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People of faith have made their voices heard on immigration reform. We’ve offered rational argument, spoken passionately about the need for just and humane immigration reform, and organized our communities to challenge policy makers to enact comprehensive immigration reform that contains an accessible road map to citizenship, prioritizes family unity, protects the most vulnerable immigrants and addresses the root causes of migration. We’ve realized some goals; others remain to be accomplished.

We find ourselves at a pivotal moment in the movement for immigration reform. As people of faith, we believe that we must engage our communities in prayerful action in solidarity with those whose lives are directly impacted by our unjust immigration policies, and who will be impacted by both just and unjust reforms being considered by policy makers.

How do we raise the level of concern, engage our communities, and grow in the virtues of solidarity and hospitality? We are at a point where we have to escalate our efforts, expose the injustice, and engage the heart of our country. We are convinced that what we really need now is a “compassion surge.” What we seek is immigration reform that reflects the best of our values and helps to build a stronger, more welcoming country. What we ask is that you join us in 40 days of fasting, prayer, and expansive action that we hope will transform our own hearts and the heart of our country.

Prayer and fasting

Personally and as a congregation, study group or team, prayerfully discern how you will engage in fasting and expansive action. Ideas to consider include:

  • What will you do to spiritually and physically prepare for this fast?
  • Who will you invite to join you in this fasting journey? Perhaps your family, congregation, religious leader, etc.?
  • How will you share this fast and impact the hearts and minds of your community and policymakers?

Our prayer and fasting will come from our hearts, stemming from personal stories and relationships with those who have been directly impacted by our broken immigration system. Together, we will pray for:

  • A change of hearts and attitudes, that our communities will grow to be more welcoming
  • Moral courage of our elected leaders, that they might enact immigration reform that attends to the urgent and human needs of all people by creating a path to citizenship and prioritizing family unity
  • Faith communities, that we might rise to the challenge of prophetic witness and action in advocating for, preparing our communities for, and implementing immigration reform

People of faith across the country will engage in constant prayer, fasting and expansive action for 40 days starting when Congress returns from recess on September 9th and lasting until October 18th. Individuals, congregations and study groups sign up to participate in the fasting at http://www.fastaction.us. A common prayer, weekly themes, and other resources can be found here.

Solidarity and Advocacy

As you prepare for your fast, during your fast, and after your fasting experience, you can further impact the immigration reform discussion, which is taking place in the House of Representatives. As you visit your congresspersons over the August recess and into the 40 days of fasting, invite local immigrants to join your visit and mention your commitment to fast. See our set of tips for more details on how to share your experience with our immigrant sisters and brothers as well as with Congress and the media.