Therefore, we see panikhidas and prayer at home for the dead are beneficial for them, as are good deeds done in their memory, such as alms or contributions to the church. But especially beneficial for them is commemoration at the Divine Liturgy. There have been many appearances of the dead and other occurrences which confirm how beneficial is the commemoration of the dead. Many who died in repentance, but who were unable to manifest this while they were alive, have been freed from tortures and have obtained repose.
How important commemoration at the Liturgy is may be seen in the following occurrence: Before the uncovering of the relics of St. Theodosius of Chernigov (1896), the priest-monk (the renowned Starets Alexis of Goloseyevsky Hermitage, of the Kiev-Caves Lavra, who died in 1916) who was conducting the re-vesting of the relics, becoming weary while sitting by the relics, dozed off and saw before him the Saint, who told him: “I thank you for laboring me. I beg you also, when you will serve the Liturgy, to commemorate my parents”—and be gave their names (Priest Nikita and Maria).** “How can you, O Saint, ask my prayers, when you yourself stand at the heavenly Throne and grant to people God’s mercy?” the priest-monk asked. “Yes, that is true,” replied St. Theodosius, “but the offering at the Liturgy is more powerful than my prayer.”
Therefore, we see panikhidas and prayer at home for the dead are beneficial for them, as are good deeds done in their memory, such as alms or contributions to the church. But especially beneficial for them is commemoration at the Divine Liturgy. There have been many appearances of the dead and other occurrences which confirm how beneficial is the commemoration of the dead. Many who died in repentance, but who were unable to manifest this while they were alive, have been freed from tortures and have obtained repose. In the Church, prayers are ever offered for the repose of the dead, and on the day of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, in the kneeling prayers at vespers, there is even a special petition “for those in hell.”
St. Gregory the Great, in answering in his Dialogues the question, “Is there anything at all that can possibly benefit souls after death?” teaches: “The Holy Sacrifice of Christ, our saving Victim, brings great benefits to souls even after death, provided their sins (are such as) can be pardoned in the life to come. For this reason the souls of the dead sometimes beg to have Liturgies offered for them … The safer course, naturally, is to do for ourselves during life what we hope others will do for us after death. It is better to make one’s exit a free man than to seek liberty after one is in chains. We should, therefore, despise this world with all our hearts as though its glory were already spent, and offer our sacrifice of tears to God each day as we immolate His sacred Flesh and Blood. This Sacrifice alone has the power of saving the soul from eternal death, for it presents to us mystically the death of the Only-begotten Son” (Dialogues IV: 57, 60, pp. 266, 272-3).
St. Gregory gives several examples of the dead appearing to the living and asking for or thanking them for the celebration of the Liturgy for their repose; once, also, a captive whom his wife believed dead and for whom she had the Liturgy celebrated on certain days, returned from captivity and told her how he had been released from his chains on some days—the very days when the Liturgy had been offered for him. (Dialogues IV: 57, 59, pp. 267, 270).
Protestant theologians find the Church’s prayer for the dead to be somehow incompatible with the necessity of finding salvation first of all in this life: “If you can be saved by the Church after death, then why bother to struggle or find faith in this Life? Let us eat, drink, and be merry…” Of course, no one holding such a philosophy has ever attained salvation by the Church’s prayers, and it is evident that such an argument is quite artificial and even hypocritical. The Church’s prayer cannot save anyone who does not wish salvation, or who never offered any struggle for it himself during his lifetime. In a sense, one might say that the prayer of the Church or of individual Christians for a dead person is but another result of that person’s life: he would not be prayed for unless he had done something during his lifetime to inspire such prayer after his death.
St. Mark of Ephesus also discusses this question of the Church’s prayer for the dead and the improvement it brings in their state, citing the example of the prayer of St. Gregory the Dialogist for the Roman Emperor Trajan—a prayer inspired by a good deed of this pagan Emperor.
**These names had been unknown before this vision. Several years after the canonization, St. Theodosius’ own Book of Commemoration was found in the monastery where he had once been Abbot, which confirmed these names and corroborated the vision. See the Life of Elder Alexis in Pravoslavny Blagovestnik, San Francisco, 1967, No. I (in Russian).
Excerpt from The Soul after Death by Fr. Seraphim Rose
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by Denise (CA)
Please pray for my family. I love them, they mean the world to me. Pray for health, strength, and help their faith grow stronger and stronger each day. We are going through difficult moments in life. We lost our home, we went from house to house were people humiliated us and we received terrible treatment.
We are not doing so well right now we recently got in two car accidents. I been through a lot I gave up so many things to be with God.I am struggling right now in school because soon I will graduate. Please pray for me and my family. I want all our dreams and wishes to come true. My dream is to become a great actress but not for the wrong reasons.
I want to help people, including my family. I love acting and I want that dream of mine to come true to also help my church..!Please pray for my family and I! I would really appreciate this a lot! I thank you!!! Have a wonderful day! God Bless you people!
Return to Prayers for Strength and Guidance
Praying for Peace in the Family
Heavenly Father, I bring my family before You, praying for peace in the family. Jehovah Nissi, Lord my God, my family is struggling and battling with the enemy right now. I pray that You give them strength, Oh Father, allow peace in their lives.
Bless them spiritually so that they will hunger and thirst after You and Your righteousness and they shall be filled. Bless them financially, guard them under Your wings. Protect them against all evil. Cover them with Your precious blood, wash them white as snow.
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Colossians 3:15 – And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in harmony. And always be thankful.
Psalms 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Break every chain
Conflict, prejudice, hate, jealousy and pride against one another will vanish at the sound of Your great name. The enemy will flee when he senses Your presence, he will not prevail! Remove pain, suffering, anxiety, worry and fear, in Jesus’ mighty name!
Break every chain that binds them. Release the shackles of their lives so they can live freely to worship and praise Your Holy name.
Read: Prayer for Peace in my Heart
John 14.27 – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 – May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
Tear down the strongholds
Tear down the strongholds that restrict them from knowing You. Help them to realize they can find love, joy, peace, happiness and rest within You and You alone. Set their hearts and minds to focus diligently on You and to seek You persistently.
Remind them that You are always near and they can cast their every burden upon You to find rest. Allow us to execute love and happiness towards one another as we embrace Your gentle spirit. In Jesus’ Holy name I pray, Amen!
Additional Reading, get your copy of: Busy Lives and Restless Souls: How Prayer Can Help You Find the Missing Peace in Your Life
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John 16.33 – I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Romans 8:6 – So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
A prayer for the family :
We acknowledge you as the creator of family. Thank you for our mother, father, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.
We believe in your promises and desire to apply your truth. Thank you for being faithful even when we are not.
We trust you will provide us with a well deep enough to love each other without end. Thank you that you loved us first.
We confess that we have not always treated our family with kindness. Thank you for showing us the path to forgiveness.
Protect our marriage from those who wish to destroy. Guard our children from those who wish to harm. Deliver us from hands that meddle and mouths that gossip.
If we desire children but have none, give us patience and hope. If we are without a spouse, give us strength and companionship. If we have lost too soon, give us peace and comfort.
Let our words be used to build up and encourage one another. Let our actions glorify and exalt you.
Grant us wisdom to recognize your voice and the courage to answer it.
We pledge our family to love. We pledge our family to truth. We pledge our family to you, Lord.
For those in our family who do not know you, we pray for their salvation. For those in our family who have gone astray, we pray for their return.
You have put us together for a purpose. We desire for that purpose to be known so that our feet may be put into action.
Allow our family to be a beacon of light that shines brightly in this dark world. Allow our family the opportunity to pursue others as you pursued us.
Thank you for your love. Thank you for giving us one another. Thank you for the family.