It’s a happy little slogan: ‘Prayer changes things.’ Today millions of people will pray. Some will pray to the only living and true God. Others will pray to a god. Some will pray to a religious person who has died but who is honored by their religion. Usually a prayer contains a request for something to be changed or a wish for something to happen.
It was an eye-catcher for sure. White stones were arranged into a brief, three word request outside a cemetery on the east coast of Canada. Like other graveyards, the remains of people who once lived were resting there. A son in his teens; a daughter in her twenties; a mother in her 80’s; a father in his 50’s; an infant – people of all ages and walks of life were represented in that cemetery and every other graveyard.
I read the three words. To me, the words were a sad plea for help: “Pray for us.” But I didn’t pray. The grim thought wrenched my heart: “It’s too late to pray for these dear people.” Prayer can change things but not when it is too late.
There are many tales of people who supposedly were on the other side and then came back to tell us what it is like. Tales they are. Only the Lord Jesus could pull back the curtain of eternity and give us a glimpse of two men who died. One went into eternal rest and the other man to the place of deep suffering – called Hell.
In the Gospel of Luke chapter 16, verses 19 to 30 in the Holy Bible, the Lord Jesus talked about the man who prayed after he died. He prayed for relief from suffering but it was too late to pray.
Prayers from the other side and prayers for those on the other side are never answered. Once a person has experienced ‘death’ – it’s too late to pray. Death is the terminus of life. Death is the end of interventions. Death is final. There are no reversals or changes in spiritual status after death. It’s too late to pray.
If I had a mother or a daughter who died and I wasn’t sure they were in Heaven, I would pay any amount of money if I thought it could help get them eventually into Heaven. But eternal life can not be bought by money or by prayers. Money is of no ‘atoning’ value to the Eternal God nor do prayers gain us favor in God’s Holy eyes.
Be sure of this: there is no process or intervention after death that can purge a person from their sins to make them clean for Heaven. A place called Purgatory is not found in the Holy Bible. And a process that is purifying after death is not found in the Bible.
There is only one way to have your sins purged or cleansed. Your prayers or the prayers of others have no cleansing merit. Your good deeds can never wash away one of your sins. There is only one cleansing agent for your sins and mine. Here is what the Holy Bible says:
“The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”
Saying prayers, almsgiving, works of mercy or patiently suffering or doing penance of other kinds does not satisfy God in any way for any kind of sin. God finds only one satisfaction for sin and that satisfaction is the precious blood of Christ. Apart from His Blood, your sins can not be remitted or forgiven. It is not by the sacrifices we make but by the sacrifice of Christ alone for sin that our sins can be forgiven by the Holy God.
“In this is love,
Not that we have loved God but that He loved us
And sent His Son to be the propitiation (satisfaction)
for our sins.”
If we could pay or help pay for our own sins, then the death of Christ was a mistake and a waste of time. Any person who is truly going to Heaven is depending 100% on the one sacrifice for sin made by Jesus Christ on the Cross. What are you depending on?
Once you experience death it’s too late for you to pray or for anyone else to pray on your behalf.
For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son
that whosoever believes in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life.