Prayer For Fathers Mourning An Abortion
Abortion and Judaism
Abortion is one of the most contentious issues in American politics, and since the landmark 1973 Roe v.
Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide, the issue has been a top concern by activists on both sides in assessing both Supreme Court nominees and political candidates.
The anti-abortion cause has been embraced by many religious Christian groups, including the Catholic church.
Most American Jews strongly support legalized abortion: A 2015 Pew Research Forum survey found that 83 percent of American Jews, more than any other religious group, say abortion “should be legal in all/most cases.” However, Judaism’s position on abortion is nuanced, and both principal camps in the American debate over abortion rights can claim support from Jewish texts.
Is Judaism “pro-choice” or “pro-life”?
While Judaism takes a far less stringent approach to abortion than do many pro-life denominations of Christianity, providing explicit exceptions for threats to a mother’s life and rabbinic support for terminating a pregnancy in a host of other situations, there is nonetheless broad objection to abortion in cases without serious cause. In addition, despite the consensus that abortion is permitted in cases where continuing the pregnancy poses a threat to the life of the mother, there is disagreement over just what constitutes a threat.
Jewish law does not share the belief common among abortion opponents that life begins at conception, nor does it legally consider the fetus to be a full person deserving of protections equal those accorded to human beings. In Jewish law, a fetus attains the status of a full person only at birth.
Sources in the Talmud indicate that prior to 40 days of gestation, the fetus has an even more limited legal status, with one Talmudic authority (Yevamot 69b) asserting that prior to 40 days the fetus is “mere water.
” Elsewhere, the Talmud indicates that the ancient rabbis regarded a fetus as part of its mother throughout the pregnancy, dependent fully on her for its life — a view that echoes the position that women should be free to make decisions concerning their own bodies.At the same time, feticide is prohibited by Jewish law, though there is disagreement over the exact source of this prohibition and how serious an infraction it is. Some consider it biblical in origin a verse (Genesis 9.6) that prohibits shedding the “blood of man within man” — a phrase understood to refer to a fetus.
Moreover, Judaism teaches that the body is ultimately the property of God and is merely on loan to human beings.
Multiple prohibitions in Jewish law— including prohibitions on suicide, getting tattoos and wounding oneself— collectively serve to reject the idea that individuals enjoy an unfettered right to make choices regarding their own bodies.
As a public policy matter, many of the major American Jewish organizations have been vocal in support of broadening or protecting abortion access. Orthodox organizations, however, do not support broad legal protections for abortion.
Does Jewish law ever explicitly permit abortions?
Yes, but only under very limited circumstances. The most common situation, explicitly described in the Mishnah, is where the mother’s life is imperiled by her pregnancy.
Some consider such an abortion not merely permissible, but mandatory.
However, once the baby’s head has emerged from the mother (some authorities say the majority of its body, some say merely any limb), termination is no longer allowed, since Jewish law does not permit sacrificing one life to save another.
Short of clear threats to a mother’s life, the permissibility of abortion is controversial in Jewish texts.
There are Orthodox rabbinic sources that support abortion when a mother’s health is in danger even if her life is not at risk; when a fetus is conclusively determined to suffer from severe abnormalities; when a mother’s mental health is in danger; or when the pregnancy is the result of a forbidden sexual union. However, these rulings are not universally accepted, and many Orthodox rabbis are cautious about laying down firm standards, insisting instead that cases be judged individually.
The Conservative movement is somewhat more lenient in all these cases, explicitly understanding threats to a mother’s life as extending to psychological threats to her mental well-being.
In 1983, the Conservative movement’s rabbinical authorities permitted abortion only “if a continuation of pregnancy might cause the mother severe physical or psychological harm, or when the fetus is judged by competent medical opinion as severely defective.”
The Reform movement has historically taken a similar approach. In 1958, the movement’s rabbinate determined that abortion is permitted for sake of the mother’s mental well-being if there is “strong preponderance of medical opinion that the child will be born imperfect physically, and even mentally.” In 1985, the psychological justification was explicitly extended to cases of rape and incest, while emphasizing opposition to abortion for “trivial reasons” or “on demand.” In published responsa, the movement has rejected abortion in cases where the birth might pose hardships for other family members.
At the same time, both the Reform and Conservative rabbinates have been vocal in support of keeping abortion legal and accessible.
Is abortion discussed in ancient sources?
The Torah does not address the issue directly. The principal biblical source for Jewish law on abortion is a passage in Exodus (Exodus 21:22-23) concerning a case in which two men are fighting and injure a pregnant woman, causing her to miscarry.
The verse states that if no other harm is done, the person who caused the damage must pay compensatory damages, but if there is further harm, then he should pay with his life.
The common rabbinic interpretation is that if the only harm that comes to the woman is the loss of the fetus, it is treated as a case of property damage — not murder.
The later rabbinic sources address the issue more directly, beginning with the Mishnah referenced above. Elsewhere, the Mishnah says that if a pregnant woman is sentenced to death, the execution can go forward provided she has not yet gone into labor, a further indication that Jewish law does not accord the fetus full human rights prior to birth.
What about contraception?
The strictest Jewish approach to contraception holds that any interference with pregnancy constitutes a violation of the commandment in Genesis to be fruitful and multiply.
However, there are various circumstances in which some types of birth control would be allowed by Orthodox authorities, among them threats to a woman’s emotional well-being if she were to bear children.
There is also generally more leniency to limit family size once a man has fathered at least one child of both genders. In all cases, Orthodox couples are urged to consult with a rabbi about family planning issues.The Conservative movement permits contraception provided there is “a compelling physical or emotional well-being justification.” It allows contraception for general family planning purposes, but rejects it for financial reasons or as a matter of convenience and strongly encourages Jewish couples not to delay parenthood.
Jewish law also has clear preferences about particular methods of contraception. Vasectomy is traditionally prohibited because it’s a form of sterilization, a position affirmed by the Reform movement in 1984.
Condoms are traditionally not allowed because they result in the wasting of male seed. Since the obligation to reproduce traditionally is understood to apply only to men, methods employed by women are generally less objectionable.
Hormonal contraception (“the pill”) and intrauterine devices (IUDs) are typically considered the most preferable methods, according to both Orthodox and Conservative rabbis.
Here, too, couples concerned about complying with traditional rulings are urged to consult with a rabbi, as circumstances may dictate which methods are acceptable in particular cases.
As a public policy matter, major Jewish organizations have long been in favor of broader access to reproductive health services, including contraception. Hadassah, the Anti-Defamation League and the Conservative and Reform movements have all been vocal on the issue, including filing amicus briefs in relevant court cases.
All four groups expressed disappointment with the Supreme Court’s 2014 ruling that corporations are exempt from providing contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act if their owners object to such coverage on religious grounds. The Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel of America, in contrast, praised the ruling.
Are Jewish groups politically active on the issue of abortion?
Yes. The Reform movement has long been vocal on the issue of legal abortion and reproductive rights. In 1967, before Roe v.
Wade made abortion legal nationwide, the movement’s rabbinic association urged the “broad liberalization of abortion laws,” and explicitly mentioned cases of a mother’s endangered mental health and pregnancies resulting from sexual crimes.
The movement has reaffirmed that position multiple times over the years, while its Washington advocacy arm has been active in countering efforts to restrict abortion access.The Conservative movement’s rabbis have also adopted numerous resolutions urging abortion access, most recently in 2012 when it called on its members to support access to the “entire spectrum of reproductive healthcare” and oppose legislation conferring legal rights on fetuses.
Various non-religious Jewish groups have also been active in support of abortion access, including the National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Women International, Hadassah and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League have both joined amicus briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of abortion access.
Orthodox organizations, in contrast, do not support broad legal protections for abortion. The Orthodox Union has routinely dissented from Jewish Council on Public Affairs statements supporting abortion access.
The ultra-Orthodox Agudath Israel of America has also spoken out against a permissive approach to abortion, but the group has also opposed restrictive measures that don’t allow for religious exceptions.
In 2016, the organization objected to two Ohio bills restricting abortion access that did not provide exceptions for cases where a mother’s life is threatened.
Are there any Jewish organizations focused exclusively on the issue of abortion?
Yes, a Sewickley, Pennsylvania-based group called the Jewish Pro-Life Foundation, has sent people to pro-life demonstrations and offers a free “post-abortion healing program” for Jews who regret having had abortions. It also encourages people to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish for loved ones “lost through abortion,” and refers women who are pregnant to adoption agencies.
Is abortion legal in Israel?
Yes. All Israeli women seeking to terminate a pregnancy (and have it paid for through state health insurance) must appear before a three-person committee, but in practice nearly all requests are granted.
There are no laws limiting when an abortion can be performed, and a woman whose request is denied by the committee can still seek an abortion at a private clinic. Estimates are that about half the abortions performed in Israel are done in private clinics.
As of 2014, abortions were paid for entirely by the state for women aged 20 to 33, and subsidized abortions were granted for those outside that age range.Pronounced: MISH-nuh, Origin: Hebrew, code of Jewish law compiled in the first centuries of the Common Era. Together with the Gemara, it makes up the Talmud.
Pronounced: hah-lah-KHAH or huh-LUKH-uh, Origin: Hebrew, Jewish law.
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10 Best Prayers for Tithes and Offerings
Many offertory prayers include an invitation to the offering. Whether you are rejoicing in the resurrection of the Lord or giving support to your local church, here is a look at some great prayers for tithes and offerings.
Prayer #1 – Give with Gladness and Sincerity
Father in Heaven, We thank You today for Your blessings that you bestow upon us all. Father, I pray for our congregation today. Lord, may we all give with gladness and sincerity.
Father, no one ever gives a present to someone with reluctance and we should never give You what already belongs to You with reluctance either. Bless these tithes and offerings this day. We love You, Father!
Prayer #2 – Bless these Tithes and Offerings
O Lord, We thank You for Your steadfast love and mercy on us. Father, we believe that every word in the Bible was breathed out by You (2 Tim 3:16), and we believe Your promise that You will bless us when we are obedient to Your Word.
And so, without hesitation, we gladly give to You what is Yours. Bless these tithes and offerings, Father. We love You, Lord!
Prayer #3 – Give Because We Love You
We thank You for bringing us all to Your house safely today and we are so blessed by Your presence here today. Thank You for Your love and mercy on us, Father. Father, we believe in the Book of Proverbs and I pray that everyone here will look into their hearts and act in obedience to Your Word.
May we give not to become richer, though, may we give because we simply love You! Accept these tithes and offerings today. We love You, Lord!
Prayer #4 – We Honor You with Our Wealth
We praise Your Almighty Name! You have blessed our nation with immense wealth and opportunity. Lord, You have commanded us to honor You with our wealth, and I pray that You will be honored greatly this day as we give to You what is already Yours. Bless these cheerful givers and bless the tithes and offerings that they give. We love You!
Prayer #5 – Giving in Obedience
O Lord, There are some of us here today that didn’t want to come here. There are some of us today that will give to the offering with bitter hearts. Father, I pray You will soften the hearts of those who are worried about giving You their money instead of spending it on themselves.
Father, I pray that You will bless all who give today and show them Your love in a mighty way because of their obedience. Bless these tithes and offerings, Father. We love You!
Prayer #6 – The Tithe is Yours
Father, We come to Your throne with humble hearts as we are so thankful for the blessings You give us daily. Lord, We believe in the Book of Leviticus. Father, I pray that as we give
You our offerings and tithes this morning that we all will think about the fact that the tithe is Yours. It belongs to You. May we never withhold what is Yours. Please accept these offerings and tithes with gladness, Lord. We Love You!
Prayer #7 – We Give You What is Already Yours
Dear Lord, We thank You for another chance for us to meet together in Your house to worship You. Father, we believe in the Book of 1 Corinthians and I pray that all offerings given today are love.
We experience Your blessings every day and Your blessings are always given to us freely and with ultimate love. Father, You loved us all of the way to the cross! May we love You enough to give You what is already Yours. Bless these tithes and offerings today. We love you!
Prayer #8 – Take It and Use It for Your Kingdom
Lord, we thank for Your faithfulness. Thank you that we can always trust in You. You are an abundant God and Your great mercy you have given us so much.
We give you this offering today. With it we worship You and give our whole selves to You. Please now take it and use it for Your kingdom and Your glory. Extend and multiple its reach and influence we pray. May it be a great blessing to many.
We ask all this in the powerful name of Jesus.
Prayer #9 – Sanctify Every Beat of My Heart
O my God ! I offer Thee all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to Its infinite merits ; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them into the furnace of Its Merciful Love.
O my God! I ask thee for myself and for those whom I hold dear, the grace to fulfill perfectly Thy Holy Will, to accept for love of Thee the joys and sorrows of this passing life, so that we may one day be united together in Heaven for all Eternity.
Prayer #10 – Thank You for Meeting My Financial Needs
Heavenly Father, thank you for your many blessings and I thank you that as I give tithes and offerings, I am believing the Lord for:
Jobs and better jobs, raises and bonuses, benefits, sales and commissions, favorable settlements, estates and inheritances, interest and income, rebates and returns, discounts and dividends, checks in the mail, gifts and surprises, finding money, bills decreased and bills paid off, blessings and increase.
Thank you Lord for meeting my financial needs that I may have more than enough to give into the kingdom of God and promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Raise your hand and say, “It’s true, it’s for me, and I’m a giver. God has given to me and I am not limited by the world’s economy. Heaven’s economy is mine.”
Thank you Lord for your many blessings. They come in from every direction and I bless the name of the Lord Jesus who made it possible for me to return to what God intended me to be; full of authority through His name and very blessed.
Thank you Lord, in Jesus’ name.
Bible Verses to Open your Prayer on Tithes and Offerings
And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!”
And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. If a man wishes to redeem some of his tithe, he shall add a fifth to it.
And every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of all that pass under the herdsman’s staff, shall be holy to the Lord.
One shall not differentiate between good or bad, neither shall he make a substitute for it; and if he does substitute for it, then both it and the substitute shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.”
But you shall seek the place that the Lord your God will choose all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. There you shall go, and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock.
2 CHRON. 31:4–5
And he commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, that they might give themselves to the Law of the Lord.
As soon as the command was spread abroad, the people of Israel gave in abundance the firstfruits of grain, wine, oil, honey, and of all the produce of the field.
And they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything.
And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.
For they all contributed their abundance, but she her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
Here is a look at the truth about tithing according to the scripture Malachi 3:10. Presented by Grace Bible Church.
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3 Powerful Prayers for the Unborn
46 years ago, the Supreme Court made one of their most influential and controversial decisions to date, legalizing abortion in all 50 states in Roe v. Wade. Over 60 million babies have been aborted in the United States alone since 1973.
You can read a brief history of abortion at the National Right to Life's website. If you're pregnant and need help, you can also find pregnancy resources here. May God bring an end to this horrible, grievous massacre.
Join us in prayer for the unborn and the women considering abortion.
A Prayer about Abortion
Lord, you are the Creator of all things; you breathe life into every human before they leave the womb.
Lord, we don't know how to stop something this horrible on our own; it is devastating that abortion has weaved its way into many people's minds as an acceptable choice.
Please stop the enemy's lies from seeping into the minds of the confused, take away the voice of the wicked.
Help us to have compassion on the women who made or were forced to make this horrifying choice and are now suffering the consequences.
Surround them with Your love and remind them that Your sacrifice covers even this and that those who belong to You are free in Christ from the guilt of every sin.
Break the chain of guilt in those who have repented before You, revive them to live their life knowing true joy in You. May their changed lives speak volumes about the amazing power of Your forgiveness and love.
Help us to remember the unborn who are unwanted and tossed aside every day; help us to be a light in a world of darkness.Give us opportunities to love people and present the truth of Your Word, use us to offer alternative options to women in desperate situations.
Jesus, You have the power to change hearts; we pray for the women considering this option – help them to see there is another way.
We pray for our government to change laws and close the doors of abortion clinics. We pray for a renewal of family and faith in the world, and may the Church come alongside single parents and families in need, helping to raise these children for Christ. In your Almighty Name, Jesus, by which all things are possible. Amen.
“As the church, we must not say of abortion, 'This is murder,' without saying to the pregnant women, 'We will serve you.
' If we are doing the former without the latter, we aren't truly understanding the gospel.
We must listen, love, foster, adopt, give money, babysit, donate supplies, mentor young women, and support in whatever ways God has equipped us.” -Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church
A Prayer for Your Unborn Baby
God, you see my baby in my womb. You know her every detail, every muscle, every bone, every bit of her beautiful body, mind, heart, and soul. No matter how she is formed, she is beautiful and she is beloved by you. Grant me peace throughout this pregnancy, that I would surrender every worry or fear to you.
May I take heart, knowing you have overcome the world and made a way for us to be near to you in heaven someday and on earth here now. No matter what comes, be near, Jesus. Bring comfort and peace, bring blessed assurance. In your name, Amen.
-Excerpted from “7 Prayer for Pregnancy” by Sarah Coleman
What Does the Bible Say about the Unborn?
- “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” -Psalm 139:13-16
- “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
'” -Jeremiah 1:4-5
- “Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?” -Job 31:15
- “This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself,” -Isaiah 44:24
After all, God is the one who gave life to each of us before we were born (Job 31:15, CEV). God is the giver of life. Life is not the result of chance. It is not an accident or fluke. Life comes about because God gives. He grants life to each baby before birth.
A Prayer for the Sanctity of Life
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are Creator of all and the Giver of life. You have created humankind in your image to reflect your glory to the world, and we praise you for the work your hands have done. On this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, we mourn that many of your precious sons and daughters have lost their lives too soon. We grieve their absence today and every day.
We are broken people, and we have all sinned against you in so many ways, and we pray that today would be a day of repentance and forgiveness. We humbly come before you knowing that all of us have fallen short of your glory, and we ask that you would forgive us of our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Restore us to right relationship with you. Open our eyes, our hearts, our minds, and our hands as we seek to serve you and glorify you through our love for one another. Transform us into new creations.
May we truly be your hands and feet in our world, serving others Jesus came to serve, loving others we are to love ourselves.
Jesus, you made a way for us where there seemed to be no way. We pray today that you would breathe new life into us. We pray you would increase our empathy, compassion, and love for our neighbors, no matter their age, race, ability, background, or need. We pray we would be people whose hearts echo your own heart for your people—be our strength, Holy Spirit.
Help us to be champions of life, Jesus. Strengthen us and equip us to do your work in our communities, our nations, our world. May we stand for what you have taught us, and may we give you glory in all that we do.
We love you and praise you on this day and every day, Lord. Thank you for the gift of life. Help us to protect and preserve it in every way we can. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. In your holy and mighty name, Amen.
-Excerpted from “A Prayer You Can Pray on Sanctity of Huma Life Sunday” by Rachel Dawson.
This article is part of our Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.Serenity Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer
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