Q. In the Scriptures, we are told that if we ask God the father for anything in Jesus’ name, it will be done. Are there limitations to this, or have I misunderstood what the Scriptures are saying?
The reason I ask is that I am very concerned about the souls of unbelieving friends and relatives who have passed away. Is there any point in me praying to God to ask Him to forgive them and to extend his hand of mercy toward them?
A. There are two limitations to the Lord’s promise. One is that we can’t use prayer to make someone else do something they don’t want to do, and the other is that we can’t change a person’s destiny after they’ve died.
We can’t do the former because each person has free will and God won’t override it. In other words He won’t make someone love Him against their will. And we can’t do the latter because as Hebrews 9:27 says, “Man is destined to die but once and after that to face judgment.” Upon death, the decisions of our life become binding and aren’t subject to change.