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Question

 

Gramps,

Why are we not encouraged to pray for those in the spirit world?  Whenever someone passes away, we are always encouraged to pray for the family, but we are never told to pray for those who have passed on to make the right choices in the spirit world.  I noticed other religions pray for their dead ones.  I know we perform sacred ordinances for the dead, but why do we not pray for them in their spirit world endeavors because there are challenges on the other side.  I hope that makes sense.

Kristen

 

Answer

 

Dear Kristen,

Not enough has been revealed about the Spirit World for me to give you a concrete answer.  I see nothing wrong with praying for loved ones who have passed to the other side.  It IS certainly good to pray for others.  Elder Bednar touched on this topic in a talk about prayer:

 

“Petitioning Heavenly Father for the blessings we desire in our personal lives is good and proper. However, praying earnestly for others, both those whom we love and those who despitefully use us, is also an important element of meaningful prayer. Just as expressing gratitude more often in our prayers enlarges the conduit for revelation, so praying for others with all of the energy of our souls increases our capacity to hear and to heed the voice of the Lord.

 

“We learn a vital lesson from the example of Lehi in the Book of Mormon. Lehi responded in faith to prophetic instruction and warnings concerning the destruction of Jerusalem. He then prayed unto the Lord “with all his heart, in behalf of his people” (1 Nephi 1:5; emphasis added). In answer to this fervent prayer, Lehi was blessed with a glorious vision of God and His Son and of the impending destruction of Jerusalem (see 1 Nephi 1:6–9, 13, 18). Consequently, Lehi rejoiced, and his whole heart was filled because of the things which the Lord had shown him (see 1 Nephi 1:15). Please note that the vision came in response to a prayer for others and not as a result of a request for personal edification or guidance.

 

“The Savior is the perfect example of praying for others with real intent. In His great Intercessory Prayer uttered on the night before His Crucifixion, Jesus prayed for His Apostles and all of the Saints.

 

“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. …

 

“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; …

 

“… that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:9, 20, 26).

 

During the Savior’s ministry on the American continent, He directed the people to ponder His teachings and to pray for understanding. He healed the sick, and He prayed for the people using language that could not be written (see 3 Nephi 17:1–16). The impact of His prayer was profound: “No one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father” (3 Nephi 17:17). Imagine what it might have been like to hear the Savior of the world praying for us.”

Pray Always

I would further add that my best prayers come when I ask the Lord for guidance in what to pray for, or whom to pray for.  So my counsel is to seek the Lord’s guidance.  If you feel the desire or direction to pray for those in the Spirit World, I see no reason not to do so.

 

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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