Do Our Loved Ones in Heaven Pray for Us? Get the Facts


How connected are people in heaven with those who are still on Earth? Do people see what their loved ones are doing? Are they aware of their lives? The Bible describes prayer as talking to God, which people in heaven surely do. If people in heaven know what’s happening on Earth — or even if they don’t but simply remember their loved ones — do they pray for those still living there?

The Bible describes people in heaven praying for those still on Earth. One passage reveals that people in heaven who are praying for those on the Earth are aware of their hardships. They are God to intervene and ease their suffering. The Bible also teaches that Jesus Christ, who is in heaven, prays for people on Earth.

Where does the Bible mention that people in heaven pray for people on Earth? What is the significance of the fifth seal described in the book of Revelation to this question? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.

people in heaven praying
Does Revelation describe people in heaven praying for people on Earth? See below

Prayer in Heaven: The Fifth Seal

Christian pastor and theologian Randy Alcorn writes, “Revelation 6 makes it clear that some who have died and are now in Heaven are praying concerning what’s happening on Earth.” [1] Those who believe that people in heaven pray for people on Earth often cite Revelation 6:9-11, which records the contents of the fifth seal, to support their argument.

What is the context for Revelation 6? The book of Revelation opens with a description of Christ calling John to see things that will soon take place (Ch. 1) as well as rebuke and encouragement for seven Christian churches found in the region of Asia Minor (Ch. 2-3). Next, John describes a scene of praise as he sees God on the throne, sovereignty reigning over Earth (Ch. 4-5), including the horrible events that he writes about next.

What is the nature of the seven seals? The seven seals (Rev. 6:1-8:5) mostly reveal extreme quantities of terror, destruction, and human suffering that will occur on Earth. The fifth seal concerns Christian martyrs and describes them praying for people on Earth. The section that explains the seven seals is commonly outlined this way:

  • The First Seal: The White Horse (6:1⁠–⁠2)
  • The Second Seal: War (6:3⁠–⁠4)
  • The Third Seal: Famine (6:5⁠–⁠6)
  • The Fourth Seal: Death (6:7⁠–⁠8)
  • The Fifth Seal: The Martyrs (6:9⁠–⁠11)
  • The Sixth Seal: Terror (6:12⁠–⁠17)
  • 144,000 Sealed (7:1⁠–⁠8)
  • Praise from the Great Multitude (7:9⁠–⁠17)
  • The Seventh Seal: Silence in Heaven (8:1⁠–⁠5)

What do the “seals” symbolize? Each seal describes the unveiling of particular events that are yet to come. In John’s day, people secured letters with wax seals. When the recipient of a letter broke a seal, they would open and read the letter’s contents. Christ himself opens the seven seals in the book of Revelation (Rev. 6:1).

The fifth seal describes people in heaven praying for Earth

heaven praying for earth
What do people in heaven pray for Earth? See below

People in heaven pray for people on Earth

What is the significance of the fifth seal? The first four seals describe the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the awful suffering they bring to Earth, and the unimaginable amount of death that results. The fifth seal is about martyrs; i.e. those who died because of their Christian faith at the hands of evil persecutors.

“And when the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony they had upheld.” (Revelation 6:10)

How do the martyrs respond to suffering on Earth? The martyrs pray for the people who are still on Earth. The sinful horrors of Earth disturb them, and they petition God to end them.

“And they cried out in a loud voice, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You avenge our blood and judge those who dwell upon the earth?” (Revelation 6:11)

Why do the martyrs cry “how long”? The martyrs’ prayer is a lament. Their cry “how long?” is an echo of Psalm 6:3, 74:10, and 79:5. Their request is an allusion to Psalm 79:10, “Why should the nations ask, ‘Where is their God?’ Before our eyes, make known among the nations. Your vengeance for the bloodshed of Your servants.” The suffering that God’s children experience at the hands of their persecutors is unjust, and the martyrs want God to respond to it.

Does God answer their prayer? God responds to the martyrs’ petition but doesn’t enact immediate relief. He says that more deaths will occur before the end occurs. In other words, the terrible suffering will get worse before it gets better.

“Then each of them was given a white robe and told to rest a little while longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers, were killed, just as they had been killed.” (Revelation 6:12)

The martyrs pray for people still living on Earth

Where does the Bible teach that loved ones pray for people on Earth?

The Bible doesn’t directly state that people in heaven pray for those still living on Earth. People who argue that they do are inferring that it’s likely the case based on what passages like Revelation 6:9-11 describe.

The view that loved ones in heaven can pray for people on Earth is based on the argument that people in heaven, like the martyrs described in the fifth seal, can and do pray for people on Earth. If the martyrs can and do pray for people on Earth, then it’s probably the case that other people in heaven can, too.

Alcorn summarizes the logic of this perspective:

If we believe that Heaven is a place of ignorance or disinterest about Earth, we will naturally assume that people in Heaven don’t pray for people on Earth. However, if we believe that people in Heaven are aware of events on Earth, and that they talk to God about his plan, his purpose, and his people, we will naturally assume they do pray for people on Earth. In my opinion, Scripture argues for the second assumption, not the first. I believe the burden of proof falls on those who would argue that people in Heaven don’t pray for those on Earth. [2]

Christ prays for people on Earth

Hopefully, no matter what a person concludes about people in heaven praying for people on Earth, they all can agree that Christ, who is in heaven, prays for people on Earth.

Romans 8:34 reads, “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (emphasis added).

References:
[1] Heaven by Randy Alcorn, p. 71.
[2] Heaven, p. 72
[3] Source
[4] Source
[5] Source

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