Burning Bosom

Theology, History, Culture, Politics & Life from a LDS (Mormon) Perspective

“I Pray for Dead People”

Posted by Kerry on February 25, 2008

The other night my 6-year old daughter was chosen by the patriarch of our home to offer a blessing on the food that was sitting at our dinner table. After what started out as Food Prayer Transcript #26, she said something that at first made my wife and I giggle, but has made me think a bit. Obviously this daughter was aware of the recent passing of our Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley.

In her prayer, she sincerely mentioned:

“Please bless President Hinckley that he will have a fun time in heaven.”

As mentioned above, at first I caught myself giggling, for which I should be reprimanded. One should never giggle at a child’s sincere prayer (at least not out loud). But her statement made me ask myself a question:

Why should we NOT pray for our deceased ancestors? Do they not need our help? Aren’t some of them going through the repentance process and attempting to be forgiven of their sins? Aren’t some of them in “spiritual prison”, trying to find their own testimonies?

I can honestly say that I don’t think I have ever heard ANYONE in my lifetime pray for an deceased ancestor, or for any dead dude! There seems to be an understanding (a false one, if I may say so), that once someone dies, they are gone and no longer need our help, support, or prayers. I think the contrary is true…and I for one can think of many deceased ancestors, friends, or acquaintances that could really use some support. After all, it isn’t all roses and honey after we die, right? Especially for those who didn’t live in a way that merits an entrance to “spiritual paradise”.

One thing of which I am fairly certain: they are praying for us.

So next time you bow your head, here’s to a little prayer for Aunt Beth or Uncle Eddie. They could probably use it.  🙂


5 Responses to ““I Pray for Dead People””

  1. Shawn L said

    Nice thoughts. Why not pray for the dead? Any prayer that goes beyond the usual mantra (“nourish & strengthen,” in this instance) is OK in my book. You’ve got a good one there.

    My favorite kid prayers of late are:

    (1) My oldest daughter (7 y.o.) is fascinated by the Harry Potter books. She’s read 1-4, but we are holding off letting her read #5 for a bit. So, every night she prays: “please bless that I can get my hands on Harry Potter 5 soon.”

    (2) My first two daughters have perfected the art of prayer as a weapon. Whoever is on their black list that night gets left out of the prayer: “please bless Mommy, Tess, and Jane” (notice who’s missing?)

  2. Kerry said

    I literally laughed out loud at your last comment Shawn. That is hilarious. I experience something similar with my kids, although it is much more overt.

    When one child is upset at the other, we often hear prayers that go like this:

    “And please bless Claire that she won’t be bad anymore and will choose the right.”

  3. Jon said

    Kerry, great post! Not to pat my own back (fine, I will…) but I’ve been praying for “dead people” since my grandma died when I was 14. I remember some very sincere prayers asking that Heavenly Father look after her and help her learn the truth of the gospel as she was not a member before she died. So, in that light, I think your daughter’s prayer was totally appropriate.

    As for Shawn’s comment, here’s one from my boy (the only one who can speak):
    “Thank you (Heavenly Father) that we can get treats for praying as a family.” –C’mon, who hasn’t bribed their kid to do something good! 😉

  4. hawkgrrrl said

    My 5-yr old daughter just prayed the other evening to bless the food that it won’t make us die. I think she was just trying to avoid “vain repetition.”

  5. Your prayers for the dead are completely useless. No where in the Bible are we told to pray for the dead. You cannot earn your way out of hell after you have died. The decision to repent and trust in Jesus must be done NOW. It’s a false teaching of Catholic priests to pray people out of a pergatory that doesn’t exist. You need to read your Bible. You mustn’t rely on ‘men’ to tell you the conditions of going to heaven…that is putting your trust in man instead of God’s Word. I left catholisism it is a religion that does not teach the truth according to the Bible about going to heaven…please listen to the sermon below if you truly want to know the truth and place your trust in the Jesus of the Bible:


    I pray the Lord will open your eyes as you seek His truth…

    Please feel free to email me if you would like to honestly understand the deception of the catholic church.

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