What the ORTHODOX BELIEVE Concerning prayer for the dead

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Jacob Dahlen, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. Jacob Dahlen

    Jacob Dahlen
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    "If I may respectfully ask, in what sense do the Orthodox pray for the souls of the departed? As you know, this is not a practice within Protestantism."

    You ask in what sense do we pray for the souls of the departed. Why, in the same sense that we pray for the souls of those with us because Christ is Risen, trampling down death by death. The barrier between living and dead has been eliminated due to the Resurrection of Christ. Those who are departed are just as much with us and just as much a part of the Church as those who we see living on this earth. There is no longer any separation. And so not only do we pray for them, but they also pray for us; in the same way that you might ask your friends to pray for you and in turn pray for them so also do we pray for each other without concern for the separation of death.

    When we pray for either the living or the dead we use the same prayer: "Lord have mercy", to express our desires. We do not know what to pray for even for those with whom we live because only God knows what is best for our salvation, and so we say "Lord have mercy". Likewise we do not know the needs and concerns of the departed, but God does and trusting in His knowledge we say, "Lord have mercy"

    We do know that, like all of us, those who have departed require forgiveness of sins, and that they look for a "place of rest" in the bosom of Christ and so we make this petition, that God will provide these things, but again as for specifics about how this should happen we simply conclude with "Lord have mercy".

    Some of the confusion might occur in that most Protestant confessions teach that the judgment after death determines the eternal state of the soul. Not so, according to the Tradition and teaching of the Orthodox Faith. The particular judgment immediately after death only determines the state and "residence" of the soul in the spiritual world and that judgment is based on who our spiritual "friends" are. Do we have more converse with angels or demons? Do we devote ourselves more to the saints or to sinners? Are we attached to the world or to the Kingdom of God? Do we act like Satan or Christ? Whatever we are like, there we are placed in the spiritual world. And the demons are diligent in attempting to demonstrate that we are tied to them and not to Christ and so any and every unconfessed sin, no matter how seemingly small and insignificant is brought out by them as accusations against us and the angels on the other hand counter this accusation by a description of our righteous deeds which indicate our change of heart and life. But do not confuse this particular judgment and temporary disposition with the eternal disposition of the soul to be determined at the Great Judgment. Then, the soul being reunited with the body thanks to the general resurrection, each person will be judged by God Who sees within either the spark of grace or none and those who have that spark will be brought into the Kingdom of God and those who do not will be cast into outer darkness - finally and eternally. So you see that when we pray for the departed, we do so knowing that the final judgment has not yet occurred and while we don't know what the exact needs of the departed are, we can simply lift them up to God calling out for His mercy.

    Christ is Risen!
     
  2. BobRyan

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    You say you pray "For the dead" - do you also pray "TO the dead"??

    What "help" do the dead need from your prayers?
     
  3. Eliyahu

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    Satan makes people busy with many other things or persons than with God and Jesus Christ.
    There are millions of good but dead people to remember!
     
  4. Tazman

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    1. First off when we die, we are done with sin. No prayer can help then. The bible is clear that in a twinkling of an eye we will be changed when Christ reveals himself (for those of us who are in Him still living and that died in Him)


    2. I cannot see the purpose in praying to the dead to pray for us. If one really believes that the barrier is destroyed that separates the physical and spiritual realities, then we who are alive should have the same closeness and ability to communicate directly with God through Christ as our only mediator.
     
  5. BobRyan

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    Ok so no need to pray TO the dead -

    What about praying FOR the dead? Do they need some kind of help from us??
     
  6. BobRyan

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    In 1 Cor 10 Paul makes the case that those who "think" they are worshipping family gods at pagan altars are unwittingly worshipping demons!

    They unwittingly participate because they are deceived into thinking that the family idol is "something friendly" that can help them

    What then of those who pray to the dead?
     
  7. BobRyan

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    Catholics of the 20th century publish the connection to paganism for the world to see and understand.

    Pagan prayer methods.

    ..
     
  8. JFox1

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  9. Tazman

    Tazman
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    Praying for the dead is helpless seeing as though those who are dead cannot repent. Repentance has to do with the living where sin is applicable. So to me its seems praying For the dead is a dead issue.
     
  10. Matt Black

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    I think praying for the dead depends on whether you believe in Purgatory or not. Jacob, I'm curious - I didn't think the Orthodox believed in Purg - so why do you pray for the dead?
     
  11. tragic_pizza

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    Many doctrines and practices of the Church at large (this includes Presbyterians, like me, and Baptists) are reflected in both preChristian and pagan belief systems.

    Baptism, for instance, was in use prior to John the Baptist as a ritual for welcoming a Gentile into the Hebrew faith. Christmas trees are pagan in origin. Many belief systems practice group meetings, unison prayers, hold common creeds, use aids for meditation like rosary beads (the Episcopal church, by the way, uses a rosary that is shorter, and prayers which generally do not address Mary).

    If one is to condemn a belief system because of similarities to other belief systems, one will soon have no belief system at all. God, you see, has plantd His truth in all hearts, ths the idea that similarities would exist between religious traditions should not be surprising at all.

    Finally, did Paul not mention, and not in a condemning way, being baptized for the dead? How does this obviously Scriptural practice correlate with prayers for the dead?
     
  12. Eliyahu

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    Simply, Praying to the dead, Praying for the dead are both Wrong!
     
  13. tragic_pizza

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    Why?

    I mean, I don't do it, but why?

    When Dad died, one of the folks he works with made a gift in his name so some sisters in a convent would pray for him for a year. I know it likely makes no difference, but it felt good to know that someone cared.

    That aside, why is it Wrong?
     
  14. Eliyahu

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    Should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? Read Isaiah 8:19, if you have never read it yet.

    Pray to thy father which is in secret. ( Matt 6:6)

    If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. ( Luke 16:31)
     
  15. Eliyahu

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    There are several interpetations for 1 Cor 15:29

    There might have been some ridiculous people who do not believe in the Resurrection while thy were baptized for the dead.

    It cannot be a proof that one should pray for the dead.

    I believe God hates any sacrifice to the dead:


    Ps 106:
    28 They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead. 29 Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them.
     
  16. tragic_pizza

    tragic_pizza
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    Well, Eliyahu, I understand that praying to the dead is Biblically prohibited. That wasn't my question. Why is it "Wrong" to pray for the dead?

    Praying for the dead is not the same as worshipping them or praying to them.

    Again, I don't do it, I just want to know why it's "Wrong."
     
  17. JFox1

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    One of my posts has three links to Orthodox web sites which state why they pray for the dead. They apparently believe that even the saved souls need purification after death, although the Eastern Orthodox don't believe in the Roman Catholic teaching of Purgatory.

    The only Protestant denomination that I know of which prays for the dead are the Anglicans/Episcopalians. The 1979 Book of Common Prayer states on page 862: "Why do we pray for the dead? We pray for them, because we still hold them in our love, and because we trust that in God's presence those who have chosen to serve him will grow in his love, until they see him as he is."

    My church teaches that it is useless to pray for the dead and gives Hebrews 9:27 as the reason: And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment (NASB).
     
  18. nate

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    The Church doesn't teach that praying for the dead can bump them from hell to heaven. Hebrews was right but praying for the dead is a sign of love as the BCP states. Just to clarify and not many in the Church pray for the dead.
     
  19. Eliyahu

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    In some countries, they pray and worship the head of dead pigs too. ( I am not joking!)
     
  20. tragic_pizza

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    Not very interesting, and not within the parameters of the discussion.
     

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