Ministry leaders and pastors from all over the nation gathered to pray for the unborn babies of Israel last Friday, Sept 22.
While there have been smaller pro-life prayer gatherings over the years, organizers described this gathering as the first-ever “National Prayer for Life” event to pray for the unborn, as well as for the communities surrounding them.
“This is the first time that we’re asking the Body of the Messiah in the land to come together for ten days of prayer,” one of the organizers of the national pro-life in Israel, Sandy Shoshani, told ALL ISRAEL NEWS.
Shoshani is the director of Be’ad Chaim, a pro-life ministry based in Jerusalem that provides crisis pregnancy counseling, diapers and other forms of humanitarian relief, as well as counseling and prayer for a full year for new mothers who choose to keep their unborn children, rather than abort them.
The venue chosen for the event, “Life Gardens,” is a memorial garden managed by Be’ad Chaim where people plant trees in memory of babies aborted or miscarried.
“This is the personal, face-to-face meeting, but we’ve had ten days with a national prayer guide for the Days of Awe, from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, that we would say to God: ‘Turn the tide of abortion here in the land of Israel.’”
Shoshani expressed her wish to make the prayer gathering an annual event, and to see it snowball.
“I want to see this event pick up steam. My dream is to see a march for life here in Israel; like you have all over the world. Why not in Israel? I know that we’re a tiny body here, but God will raise up the brave ones, like Gideon’s army,” she told ALL ISRAEL NEWS.
“A Future and a Hope”, a ministry managed by Orit Kramer and her husband, Marvin, also participated in organizing the Friday prayer event. The ministry provides counseling to women in crisis, encouraging them to bring their unborn babies to term and also provides various forms of assistance to new mothers who choose not to abort their babies.
Shoshani and Kramer welcomed the attendees and Kramer opened with a prayer from Daniel 9:
“We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame. We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
Shoshani thanked everyone who came to 'give a voice' to those who have no voice and can’t speak up for themselves.
“We are here today because we know the truth,” she said. “The truth that God has created every person in his image. And what is the big lie of this generation, of this world? That a person in a womb is not a person. He isn’t alive until the moment he is born. How ridiculous. It’s a person already in the womb, that’s the truth," she told the attendees
"The other big lie is that removing this person from the womb is a right. A right. How can it be a right to remove a living baby from his mother’s womb? It’s a lie. Abortion hurts women. It hurts families. The spilling of innocent blood hurts Israel. It brings a curse upon the land. Therefore, we want to defend these babies," she continued.
"In 75 years, we have aborted between 1.5 to 2 million babies. They could have had children and grandchildren. We could have had six million more Jews in Israel today. But we aborted them. We want to change this and bring a blessing upon our people.”
Following this powerful opening speech, the amazing worship group Solu led everyone in worship, petitioning the Lord for mercy upon the land of Israel.
After the worship, Israeli pastor Tony Sperandeo, a co-founder of Be’ad Chaim, spoke.
“God created us, He made us in His image. The greatest danger to us today is not Iran or terrorism, but our own hearts. Our hearts growing cold, making us dismiss the sanctity of life. I believe God wants to change our country, and for that, our hearts need to be softer. We need to spend more time with God. Love what He loves and hate what He hates," Sperandeo said.
"Not too far from this place, there are archaeological digs that expose children-sacrifices of the Canaanites. And God told Moses, in the Book of Deuteronomy, that when you enter the Promised Land, destroy all these cultures of death and witchcraft. But in Psalm 106, it says that they didn’t do that. Instead, they mixed with them, and worshipped the Baal and Asherah, and sacrificed their children. And we still see that same Baal and Asherah in our culture today," he continued to exhort the prayer gathering attendees.
"Our struggle is not just social work, it’s a spiritual battle. And we win that battle only in spirit, through speaking truth. To win this battle, we need to spend more time in prayer and in the Word. Our heart must belong to Him. Not a half heart, not one eye in the Bible and the other eye in our smartphone. We need to declare an end to the lies. We need to pray for life."
"Now we need you to stand up for life together with us, with Be’ad Chaim. It’s not popular, it going against the stream. We have nothing to gain except saving lives, just like the Good Samaritan. His heart went out to the dying person on the side of the road."
"Every day, over 100 babies are killed in Israel, in hospitals and clinics. Shouldn’t our hearts go out to them? The priest passed by the dying man and decided that his purity in the temple was more important. But what would have been better than that? Saving a life. Saving lives is more important than any other commandments. We see this principle all over the Bible. Saving lives is above everything else. May our hearts be focused on what is most important to God. May we devote ourselves to this message until this spirit of death departs from our society.”
After Sperandeo's moving speech, Dina Aweida gave a short lecture on when life begins from a scientific perspective.
Aweida, from Haifa, works as a professional biologist, but she also has a personal story. Her parents were young students with little-to-no economic means when they found out they were pregnant with her.
“The first thing my parents received from the nurse when they came was paperwork for abortion,” Aweida shared.
“This automatic assumption among medical staff, that a young student couple without means, would immediately want to abort, was prevalent back then and hasn’t changed since. My parents had all logical reasons to abort me. Economic reasons, bad timing, fear of how it could hurt studies and their career. All those fears are legitimate. But the choice to abort was not legitimate in my parents’ view," she explained.
"None of those issues were relevant to this dilemma, because there was no dilemma from a biblical perspective. A person who God has already created in the womb is already a person. It wasn’t easy. It did cost them time, money, energy and career possibilities. But correct and moral decisions are not necessarily the easiest choice.”
Aweida continued by explaining how today’s society is, at its foundations, based on biblical principles. While it’s not acceptable to steal, murder or commit adultery, according to the Ten Commandments, and some of those principles are even the basis for laws that are punishable, it is because we, as a society, see human lives as valuable.
Such rules and laws only make sense because God tells us that all lives are valuable and are equal, according to Aweida, who said that the issue of abortion boils down to two main questions:
When does life start? Because the moment life starts, it follows logically that from that moment, that specific human must have the same rights as everyone else.
When is it legitimate to take a human life? If there is a situation when it is legitimate to take a human life, that reason must be equally legitimate no matter the age or developmental stage of said human.
One may argue that the second question is a moral one and can be answered differently depending on one's society and culture. But the first question is really not a difficult one – because science has already provided the answer, Aweida explained.
“You don’t really need me to tell you when life starts,” she stated, “but nowadays we apparently need a biologist just to tell us what a woman is, so I’ll also tell you when life starts. It starts at conception. At that moment, a new cell is created, one with a unique DNA that has never existed before and never will again.
"In 2016, scientists were able to catch that moment, and we can see how a spark of zinc glows – it got the nickname, the spark of life. So we know exactly at what moment life starts. This cell isn’t like any other cell. It has the unique quality that it can develop and turn into any cell, and its destiny is to become a baby. We can’t talk about it as just a clump of cells. As science develops, we learn more amazing things. Just a year ago, a study came that showed that the baby notices and reacts to the types of food the mother eats. We know that the heart develops between weeks 3 to 7, and is usually already pumping when the woman realizes she is pregnant.”
“At no point in history has it ever been easier than it is today to prove that the baby in the womb is a human being," Aweida emphasized.
"Science is on our side. Unfortunately, the human heart and human nature isn't," she continued.
"Today, the challenge is that no matter how much we can prove this scientifically, the postmodern world doesn’t want to know. People rather rely on their feelings and prejudices than on scientific facts and morality. But people also know to sacrifice everything and to fight for what they believe in. If they have a sick child, or if someone close to them is hurt, they’ll do anything. We need to remind people that their babies, from the moment of conception, at every age, in every size, are worth their love, and they’re worth fighting for.”
Aweida received roaring applause from the crowd, and then a young woman named Miriam came to share her unique story that left everyone stunned.
“My name is Miriam, and I was born into an ultra-orthodox home in Mea Shearim,” she began.
“We were 14 siblings, and I was taught from a young age to love and obey God. Everything we did had to do with obeying God, from morning till evening. I tried my best, but I always felt it wasn’t enough. When I reached the age of 14, I realized I had other options. Some of my siblings had become secular and helped me where to turn," she continued.
"At that point, I left the ultra-Orthodox world and lost my faith in God, because I felt that even if he exists, I’ll never be good enough to go to heaven. And I went into the world and searched for love in all the wrong places. At the age of 16, I realized I was pregnant. My first thought was that I won’t be a failure. I left the ultra-Orthodox world to be someone, to do something, to do army service, to succeed. And here I was, pregnant at 16, with no supporting family, living on the street, and the baby’s father wasn’t interested at all. Everything was stacked against me.”
Miriam decided to have an abortion, as she didn’t feel she had any choice. The doctor told her that due to her age, it’s easy to get permission, and said she could come the following day to do it.
“That lit up a red flag for me,” Miriam said. “How could ending a life be such a quick and easy procedure? Somehow I ended up in Be’ad Chaim and spoke to Sandy, and I realized that I have an option; that if I keep the baby, I’m not going to be alone. It wasn’t just economic help, the emotional support I received from them was invaluable," Miriam shared.
"I gave birth to the baby and named him Osher – joy. Because that’s what I feel every time I see him. That’s what he brought into my life. Also, having this responsibility of a baby really gave me the motivation, a reason to get up in the morning, to care for him, and to care for myself. It made me take matters into my own hands and stop living on the street.”
Miriam found an apartment and met her husband, and became pregnant – this time by choice. But then, once again, she had to face doctors who insisted she needed an abortion. Because it turned out she was expecting twins who shared one placenta and one amniotic sac. It’s the riskiest and rarest type of twin pregnancy, as tangling of umbilical cords or an imbalance in nutrients, blood, or other vital life-supporting systems can be fatal.
“The doctors insisted on abortion, but I felt that if they will lose their life, why should I make that decision?" Miriam told the prayer group.
"I had to go often to the doctor. Every ultrasound, it was a surprise to see their hearts still beating. In the 16th week, they discovered that one of the twins had a cleft lip, and they again tried to convince me to abort him. ‘He won’t be able to eat or drink, and he will never speak,’ they told me. I said, ‘thank you very much, I understand the concern, but I’m not having an abortion.’ Because of the complication, I had a planned cesarean in the 34th week and I was hospitalized for a month before the birth to keep track that the babies were alive. But the babies were born alive and healthy. The cleft lip was barely noticeable, and it was quickly fixed by a simple plastic surgery.”
Following a roar of applause, Miriam finished her testimony, by adding: “I was in a place where abortion looked like the only option, but everything I needed was that little phrase – ‘You’re not alone.’ That’s all I needed to make the decision to keep the baby. Knowing that others will be by my side, supporting me, it made all the difference in the world. I can’t imagine my life without my amazing children, and I’m so thankful you helped me to choose life.”
Pastor Eitan Kashtan of Israel's Grace and Truth Congregation then led the attendees into a time of prayer.
The larger group was divided into smaller groups of 4-5 people, while Kashtan slowly brought up each of the ten prayer points in the prayer guide, allowing the small groups to pray on the issue for a few minutes.
"I also hope it will lead you to keep praying for these issues after you go home today," he said. "We all have a responsibility to speak up, and also to ask God for forgiveness. Forgiveness for everything we could have done and didn’t do. Let’s pray for our part in this. That God will give us the courage to be watchmen on the wall of our society and ask forgiveness for our indifference in this matter.”
Attendees were given an opportunity to plant a tree in memory of a baby that wasn’t born, whether due to miscarriage or abortion, and those who planted received a certificate.
Please pray for the Messianic congregations in Israel to dare to speak up for life and not act with indifference. It’s very easy to say, 'We’re too few, there’s nothing we can do.'
But the little we can do is still worth doing. It takes courage to stand up against a majority.
Please pray that this first-ever national 'Prayer for Life' event will not be the last one.
We ask that you please stand in prayer on behalf of the nation, that God will raise this Gideon’s army that Shoshani spoke about, to intercede for innocent precious lives in Israel.
Tuvia is a Jewish history nerd who lives in Jerusalem and believes in Jesus. He writes articles and stories about Jewish and Christian history. His website is www.tuviapollack.com