Is it scriptural to pray for the dead at funerals?
As to this, no, there is no evidence in the Bible that we should pray anything concerning those who have died. Just a few points should help us understand why this is so.
1. The time for us to please God is now! After death, we face the prospect of judgment because we are accountable for what we do here. Hebrews 9:27, 2 Corinthians 5:10-11.
2. In regard to our fate, we can do nothing to change it after we die, whether we want to or not. Read carefully the story Jesus told of the rich man and Lazarus. Luke 16:19-31. The rich man although he believed now was not given an opportunity to repent after he died. Further, he was not even granted any concession in regard to helping his brothers who were still alive in any special way. Luke 16:19-31.
3. Prepare now for eternity! Just like the rich man and his brothers in Luke 16, God has given His word that we might obey it now so we can avoid eternal destruction.
LUK 16:27 “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, Father, that you send him to my father’s house–
LUK 16:28 for I have five brothers– that he may warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’
LUK 16:29 “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’
LUK 16:30 “But he said, ‘No, Father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’
LUK 16:31 “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.'”
Read carefully, Acts 2. Many deny we need to be baptized (fully immersed) in water as a part of being saved. However, nothing could be further from the truth! Mark 16:15-16, Acts 22:16, Acts 2:36-42. Now, we have the time to act, but we are not promised any time at all. I hope you will consider this along with all who read this answer.
ACT 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ– this Jesus whom you crucified.”
ACT 2:37 ¶ Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”
ACT 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We can do nothing for the dead and God will judge them as well as us according to His standard. However, we can obey Him now and receive His mercy.
By Gary Hunt