By Rev. Dr. Curian Kaniyamparambil
My first response is, does it say anywhere in the New Testament that we should not pray for the dead? On the contrary, both St. Paul and Peter prayed for the dead.
1) Peter prayed for Tabitha, who had died. (Acts 9:40)
But Peter put all the people out, and knelt down and prayed. Then he turned to the body and said, Tabitha, arise and she opened her eyes and when she saw Simon Peter, she sat up. Here Peter prayed for the dead. Though not in the Bible, what would Peter pray to Christ at that time? It is easy to infer. He would have prayed like this - Oh God, I pray for this servant of yours that is dead, that she may rise up for the belief of these people (People's Commentary Vol. 1 page 581) (Lutheran)
This is not my opinion. I have quoted Luther, who initiated the Protestant faith. Throwing up on his knees, he laid the matter before God in prayer and by power of the Lord the miracle was performed. [People's commentary vol.1, page 581 (Lutheran)]
2) St. Paul prayed for Eutychus, who fell down from a building and died (Acts 20:10)
But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him. The biblical scholars compare this to verses in 2 Kings 4:34-35; 1 Kings 17:21, 22; Acts 9: 40-41.
Elisha reached the house, he found the boy lying dead. He went in, shut the door upon the two of them, and prayed unto the Lord. And he went up and lay upon the child and put his mouth upon the child and his eyes upon his eyes and his hands upon his hand; and stretched himself upon him. The flesh of the child became warm. He arose, paced up and down the room, and went up and stretched himself upon him; and the child sneezed seven times and opened the eyes (2 Kings 4:34-35)
Then he (Elijah) stretched himself out upon the boy three times and called out to Lord: 'O Lord, my God, let life breath return to the body of this child'. (1 Kings 17:21)
Paul for Eutychus, Elisha for the boy, and Elijah for the child, they all did the same thing. They all prayed for the dead and God listened to their prayers.
3) St. Paul prayed for the departed Onesiphorus ( 2 Timothy 1: 16-18)
"The Lord grant to him that he may find mercy from the Lord on that Day." This is a request by Paul to God, for Onesiphorus. Therefore we can understand that St. Paul believed that God would bless the dead, and that we should pray for them.
TOC Section 1 (Q 1-26) | Section 2 (Q 27-56) | Section 3 (Q 57-81) | Section 4 (Q 82-115) | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
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