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WHY PRAY FOR THE DEAD?

12 Feb

By Terry Loving

New International Version (©1984)
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–

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OK, let me start this post by saying I am not coming down on Al Sharpton, nor am I taking away any tribute to Whitney Houston. This post is a teaching moment, nothing more. Although I did not know Whitney personally, her music will forever touch my heart. In my opinion, she was the best female vocalist of her time, and her music will always touch a soul somewhere, somehow.  I was saddened by the news of her passing.

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The Bible does not teach that we should pray for the dead. Therefore, I am puzzled why Christian ministers suggest that believers should do so. The other thing that bothers me is this business of calling for a “National Day of Prayer” – which would involve all nationalities, Christian and non-Christians alike. Since Pastor Sharpton did not specify that all Black people should pray for Houston, I believe I am correct that he meant all people should pray for her. Well, we know this will not happen.

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Praying for the dead in my opinion is wasted prayer. Once you are dead, your fate is sealed. You are judged as either lost or saved. You are going to heaven or hell, and there are no more opportunities for repentance:

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

Genesis 3:19 “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

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There is no purgatory; no place to “wait off sins,” no waiting period where you get another chance. This is false teaching that is condemning many souls to eternal damnation. There are no scriptures that require believers to pray for those who have died. To ask Christians to do so is asking them to go beyond what is written in God’s Word.

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Granted, we can pray that God is merciful on the Day of Judgment concerning those who have died. However, this praying will not erase what sins we die with, especially if we are unsaved. We should be more concerned about the souls of mankind long before they cease to be. Before you get up in arms, this is a general statement, not an indictment of the condition of Whitney’s eternal spirit before God. It is not my place to determine who ascends, and who descends in the afterlife.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

“The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day – The day of judgment; notes at 2 Timothy 1:12. This proves that Onesiphorus was then alive, as Paul would not offer prayer for him if he was dead. The Papists, indeed, argue from this in favor of praying for the dead – assuminG from 2 Timothy 4:19, that Onesiphorus was then dead. But there is no evidence of that. The passage in 2 Timothy 4:19, would prove only that he was then absent from his family.”

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Why wasn’t there a “National Day of Prayer” for Whitney Houston BEFORE she died? Where was the intercessory prayer on her behalf to help her fight the drug and alcohol demons that took over her life – stole her career – destroyed her voice – put fear in her child’s heart, etc. etc, etc. The tabloids made fun of her, critics blamed her fall on her marriage to “bad boy” Bobby Brown, and yet – no “national” intercessory prayer for either of them.

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Why is there no “National Day of Prayer” to end domestic violence and abuse? – To end hunger in our country? – To end violence in our urban neighborhoods?  Why is there no “National Day of Prayer” and Repentance for America? We have become a people with no values, no respect for life, selfish and godless. Where is the “National” call for falling on our faces before Almighty God?

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Praying for the dead is after the fact. And here is another problem I have with this so-called “National Day of Prayer” concerning Black clergy:

“ATLANTA — Several Atlanta-area pastors say they’re praying for Bishop Eddie Long.

The megachurch pastor is facing multiple lawsuits from young men saying he groomed them for sexual relationships.

A group of local pastors which met Friday afternoon at an Atlanta restaurant called nationally for pastors to come from across the nation and pray with the bishop.

Pastor Jasper Williams, Jr., of Salem Bible Church in Atlanta says he knows the bishop personally and that area pastors are taking the allegations seriously. He says they’re praying and hope to have pastors from around the country convene in Atlanta at Long’s church to pray for Long further, perhaps as early as next week.” 1

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It really bothered me that the pastors in this article made no mention of praying for the “young men” who were saying, “He groomed them for sexual relations.” So many people rallied to Long’s side, and shunned the four, now five victims of Eddie Long. Where was the call for a “National Day of Prayer” for their healing and spiritual restoration?  For justice! Isn’t prayer for everyone? The pastors gathered to “pray” for Long, but not to call him to repentance.

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I wish there had been a “National Day of Prayer” that Josh Powell would not get his kids back. Perhaps those precious babies would still be alive. There are many like Josh out there who need to understand that murder-suicide has very serious eternal consequences. Josh Powell was the only person of interest in the disappearance of his wife. Since he killed three others – including him – it would be no surprise to learn that he also murdered his wife.

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If preachers are going to continue to call for America to pray, then I hope they will do so where it counts. Prayer is powerful and can change people and circumstances.

Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:13-18

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New American Standard Bible (©1995)
“We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.”

1 Peter 1:24 For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall…”

1 Chronicles 29:15 “We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.”

Job 8:9 …”for we were born only yesterday and know nothing, and our days on earth are but a shadow.”

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

“14:1-6 Job enlarges upon the condition of man, addressing himself also to God. Every man of Adam’s fallen race is short-lived. All his show of beauty, happiness, and splendour falls before the stroke of sickness or death, as the flower before the scythe; or passes away like the shadow. How is it possible for a man’s conduct to be sinless, when his heart is by nature unclean? Here is a clear proof that Job understood and believed the doctrine of original sin. He seems to have intended it as a plea, why the Lord should not deal with him according to his own works, but according to His mercy and grace. It is determined, in the counsel and decree of God, how long we shall live. Our times are in his hands, the powers of nature act under him; in him we live and move. And it is very useful to reflect seriously on the shortness and uncertainty of human life, and the fading nature of all earthly enjoyments. But it is still more important to look at the cause, and remedy of these evils. Until we are born of the Spirit, no spiritually good thing dwells in us, or can proceed from us. Even the little good in the regenerate is defiled with sin. We should therefore humble ourselves before God, and cast ourselves wholly on the mercy of God, through our Divine Surety. We should daily seek the renewing of the Holy Ghost, and look to heaven as the only place of perfect holiness and happiness.”

2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

2 Samuel 14:14 “Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.

Let us not wait until it is too late to help someone – just saying.

Al Sharpton, I am not diminishing any good that you do. Just know this.

My prayers to all who are grieving in our world.

Peace

1http://www.wjhg.com/regional/headlines/103739819.html

“But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:9

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Whitney Houston’s Tumultuous Final Days

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Bobbi Kristina, Whitney Houston’s Daughter, Rushed to Hospital

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Whitney Houston Found Submerged in Bathtub

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Coroner confirms Whitney Houston found in bathtub

“By the early 1990s, Houston’s success on stage was accompanied by an increasingly troubled personal life. In 1992 she married singer Bobby Brown and their tumultuous 14 years together were marred by drug abuse and domestic violence.”

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El DeBarge must choose full-time sobriety – or die (commentary)

“When I sat down with El’s people in September 2010, they articulated the need to surround him 24/7 with prayer and personnel to help El stay on the path of sobriety. His sobriety ALL of the time was key. El said that he’s battled the demon of crack for more than 25 years; the hedge was required.” MO’KELLY

“Whitney Houston was a crackhead for a decade before she hit rehab and everyone knew it. But as long as she was churning out hits, her public fans and private enablers were indifferent. Now that her career is over, her ‘fans’ seemingly couldn’t care less and have moved on. Nevertheless, she’s alive.” Was alive – passed away 02/11/2012

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Whitney Houston Died of Prescription Drug, Alcohol Combination, TMZ Reports

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Whitney Houston Water Found in Her Lungs

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Whitney Houston Family Told She Died from Rx NOT Drowning

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Whitney Houston’s family prepares for funeral

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Longtime Bodyguard Tried to “Eliminated Negative Influences”

“Despite these attempts to keep Houston away from trouble’s path Jacobs eventually had to concede that you he couldn’t protect her all of the time. As Houston said in an infamous 2002 interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer, “the biggest devil is me.”

“The reality of it is, that you can protect someone from everything, but you cannot protect them from themselves,” Jacobs told “GMA.”

“Crack is Whack!!!!!”

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Private funeral for Houston set for Saturday in NJ

Funeral home owner Carolyn Whigham said the church service will be by invitation only, reflecting the family’s decision to keep the memorial more personal.

“They have shared her for 30-some years with the city, with the state, with the world. This is their time now for their farewell,” she said.

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The Road Ahead for Bobbi Kristina

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“THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT!”

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Bobby Brown Explains Why He Left Whitney Houston’s Funeral

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http://www.spiritual-side-of-domestic-violence.org

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© Spiritual Side of Domestic Violence Org., 20092012
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4 Comments

Posted by on February 12, 2012 in According To His Word

 

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4 responses to “WHY PRAY FOR THE DEAD?

  1. http://concerningspiritualgifts.org

    January 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    It is not scriptural to pray for the dead. It is pointless. What ever the deceased did in life, good or evil, is forever sealed in time. I know that Catholics believe in this practice, to pray people out of purgatory. This is also unscriptural! Our prayer should be for those family and friends who mourn their passing.

     
    • ssofdv

      January 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm

      Hello, and thank you for your comment. I could not agree more.

      American King James Version – Hebrews 9:27
      And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:

      “Our prayer should be for those family and friends who mourn their passing.”
      And for lost souls everywhere upon the earth.

      Peace

       

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