Praying For The Dead

Q. I have a friend who has grown up Catholic but has gone to other churches to study the bible. She believes that on All Souls Day, we should pray for our loved ones who have passed on. Is there any biblical evidence for this? When we pass on, don’t our souls go either to heaven or hell? Thank you for your help.

A. Praying for deceased loved ones comes from the Catholic belief that most people, when they die, go to purgatory to work off the debt for sins they committed while living and then died before receiving forgiveness. Supposedly, praying for them helps ease their burden in purgatory and gains their entry into heaven more quickly. This belief can not be supported Biblically. The Bible teaches that Jesus died for all the sins of our lives (Hebrews 10:14) and that when believers die their spirits go directly to be with the Lord. (2 Cor 5:6-8)

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