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Can Praying For a Dead Loved One Do Any Good?


As we see from Luke 16:26, once the rich man and Lazarus die, their location and eternal destiny is fixed. There is no second chance or opportunity to change locations. Thus, one’s prayers would not be able to move someone from Hades into God’s presence. It says, “between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.” There is nothing elsewhere in Scripture which suggests we are to pray for the dead or that such prayers could be of any good.

On the cross, Jesus paid for all our sins – past, present, and future.  This is one of Paul’s major themes in the book of Galatians. He addresses believers who thought salvation came from Jesus plus circumcision or their good works. Paul emphatically tells them that this is not the case. They are saved entirely by grace or not at all. It is through faith we receive Christ’s work on our behalf. In other words, our right standing with God comes through placing our faith in Jesus to be our Savior. This is the only thing one needs. There is nothing we add to His saving work.

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Dr. John Ankerberg is founder and president of The John Ankerberg Show, the most-watched Christian worldview show in America. His television and radio programs are broadcast into 106 million American homes and are available in more than 200 nations in 12 languages. Author, co-author, or contributor of 158 books and study guides in 20 languages, his writings have sold more than 3 million copies and reach millions of readers each year online.

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