March 23, 2013

What happens to my prayers after I die?

Whenever we travel, the thought crosses my mind that we could experience an airplane crash or be in an accident and never make it back. This doesn’t become a nagging worry, but occasionally makes me wonder about my family left behind. I know that God has answered my prayers for them but what will happen when I cannot pray? I notice when people pray for me, and when it seems like no one is praying. Will they notice the difference when I no longer intercede for them?

Today’s devotional is again in John 17 where Jesus is praying for His people. He says…

And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. (John 17:11)

The reading for this verse points to the care and love Jesus shows as the time of His own death approaches. He faces great pain and unbearable spiritual heaviness, yet He is thinking of others. Such is the love of Christ.

Then the writer says, “As we remember our (relatives) every day and lay up prayers for them in the time of our health, so it becomes us to imitate Christ in our earnestness with God for them when we die. Though we die, our prayers do not die with us; they outlive us, and those we leave behind may reap the benefit of them when we are turned to dust.”

My heart says yes. This is obvious and I wonder why I was even concerned about it. The prayers of the saints enter eternity by the wonderful communicating power of the Holy Spirit. Once they are placed before God, they stay there. One example is when an angel came to a devout Roman man named Cornelius. He was afraid, but the angel said, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. (Acts 10:4)

His prayers were a memorial or a “reminder” to God and stayed before Him until He answered them. He sent Peter to tell him about Jesus.

So I can keep praying now in confidence that God is putting my prayers near His heart. He will answer them at the right time. I may not see the answers, but He will answer them.

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