Can you pray someone out of hell?


Luke 16:20-31

"And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:

For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."

Many things we see illustrated in this parable. And number one is that the dead cannot intercede for those living on earth, and number two is that even the righteous (Abraham) couldn’t intercede for the wicked. What was Abraham’s response to Lazarus about those on earth who he wanted to intercede for? He says, No, they have Moses and the Prophets (a synonym for the scriptures), let them hear them! And if the people on earth won’t hear that, then he says, “neither will they hear if one rose from the dead” to intercede and warn them. i.e., if man doesn’t hear the scriptures, He won’t hear Christ (He who rose from the dead to) tell them. He is therefore Lost! A lesson by God for all of us who have the ears to hear it. Those on earth (the living) have God’s Word, and that’s all they have, and they must hear by that, or they will not hear!


Umm, Catholics don’t think that you can pray anyone out of Hell. You might want to ask this in the non-catholic forum.

In Christ


One of my favourite parables. It makes clear that Lazarus (and Abraham) were unable to cross over from Heaven to Hell to ease the rich man’s sufferings and unwilling to appear to the rich man’s brothers because those brothers wouldn’t believe if they did.

Says nothing about them being unable to pray for or with the rich man’s brothers (or any man on earth) at all. Or that they coudn’t hear and intercede with regard to prayers addressed to them from earth.

Those who die bodily in Christ in fact have eternal life (as He promised in John 11:25 - ‘he who believes in me will live even though he die’ ) - notice he doesn’t say ‘he will die, sleep for possibly thousands of years and THEN live’.

Remember through baptism and believership we are are all fruitful branches of his vine, but more than that, also members of his own body. What makes you think that Christ would suffer a fruitful branch of his vine or a useful limb of his body to lie inactive? Ever?

The short answer is he doesn’t - not on earth and not in heaven. We will have service to do there, so prepare yourself for it Joseph. Since the love of the heavenly souls for God never dies, and love is essentially about action and service on behalf of the beloved, not just about sentiment or emotion.


I could be wrong, but can’t I get someone out of purgatory by saying many hail Mary’s?


Purgatory is different from Hell, if you would like why not start a thread on Purgatory. God gets people out of Purgatory, I would be happy to explain as all Christians believe in Purgatory just most wont admit it or don’t know that they do.

This thread is pretty much dead as it is pointless, no one can pray anyone out of Hell.

God Bless


Exactly how do you know Moses asn the prophets is a synonym for scripture. I could just as easily take it to mean Moses could intercede for people since I think Moses and Elijah were the two people allowed into Heaven before the time of Christ. All this says is that once in Hell always in Hell and there is no way to get out and like you said, not Abraham nor any other good person could help the rich man out who chose to reject God and ended up in Hell. It doesn’t say that the saints can’t intercede for us. Abraham, Moses and the prophets want the people to repent and choose God so that they will end up in Heaven. It doesn’t say that there is not a place such as Purgatory where those who are not yet ready to enter Heaven can be purified and eventually get in. It doesn’t say that our prayers won’t help these souls make it into Heaven and it doesn’t say that our prayers won’t possibly mean the difference between a person who is close to being damned to Hell to perhaps be saved and instead sent to Purgatory for a lengthy time.


You can intercede for them in prayer (certainly not just Hail Mary’s, but any formal or informal prayer, fasting or abstaining from food or other pleasures on their behalf).

In exactly the same way that you may intercede on behalf of your earthly brother who’s in need or is sinning by praying for them.


I am a Christian and I don’t believe in purgatory.
I can’t find it in my bible.


So the process goes like this: My good friend Joe dies, I think he died with some unrepented sins, so I say some Hail Mary’s. Mary then hears my prayers and goes to God the Father and says"Newbie is praying for his friend Joe, would You allow Joe out of purgatory and into Your presence?"
This is your belief?


Newbie, the question posed for this thread is “Can you pray someone out of hell?” If you wish to discuss purgatory, please start a new thread or, better yet, do a search of this forum. The Biblical references for purgatory have been posted several times.

In a word, the answer to the OP’s question is NO.


Not precisely. More like I say the Hail Mary’s, or whatever other prayer, for Joe, and God hears them (as he hears all prayer because it’s all first and foremost directed at him). Maybe I’ve prayed enough, and maybe he’s sinned little enough, that he will be released straight away, maybe his stay or punishment there is lessened a bit but not completely.

Mary ALSO hears my prayers, and by the way is constantly interceding for all the souls in purgatory at any rate. She doesn’t need to wait for God to tell her what to do, she knows what pleases him and does it by choice.

She then goes to God and says ‘I really like Lily, she’s a very good friend of mine, for my sake please do a bit more for her and Joe’. To which, the vast majority of the time, he goes ‘any friend of yours is a friend of mine, Mom, you’ve got it’ :wink:


Revelation 5:8(KJV)
And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints

The 24 elders are presenting God the prayers of the saints.
Heaven is a spiritual realm, so there wouldn’t be physical bowls that they are handing to God, but probably some sort of mental or verbal type of presentation to God.

So if we are the saints, and we pray, and if these 24 elders in heaven are presenting these prayers to God, it kind of sounds like there is some sort of intercession in Heaven going on. Maybe the prayers are printed e-mails, or enclosed envelopes which they can’t read? I don’t know, but what ever form the prayers take, these elders in Heaven are presenting them to God.

And I am sure that you made a mistake in the name of your post, and meant purgatory, since you know that Catholics don’t believe that we can pray someone out of hell.

Before posting again, you might want to read the library links on the Catholic Answers web page, so you will know what we believe and don’t believe, then you can argue against what is written there, that might be more effective for your mission here.

But thank you for challenging us on our faith, so we can know the truth, and be able to give answers for it.


For most people like me who study the nkj, there are only two places heaven and hell. And purgatory falls into the Hell category.


please start a new thread if you wish.

You must’ve already known there is totally difference between Hell and Purgatory.

To JS,

I don’t believe anyone could be out of Hell. Once you are punished to be in Hell, there is no turning back.


To Joseph Smith:

No, no one can ‘pray someone’ out of hell. Of course, Catholics have never taught that anyone can be ‘prayed out of hell’ so your entire premise and your question are totally moot.

To Newbie:

Please do as the other posters requested and open up a separate thread if you have a question on purgatory.

Time to close this thread as the original question has been answered several times now.


Actually, your NKJ shows that there are more places than heaven and hell — 1 Peter Chapter 3 says that when Jesus died, He “went and preached to the spirits in prison,” 1 Peter 3:19. Since those in hell cannot be saved, and those in heaven don’t need to be saved, this verse makes sense only if the souls of those who died before Christ’s time were in another place (sometimes called Abraham’s Bosom). That isn’t the same as purgatory, but it shows that the Bible acknowledges more states in the hereafter than heaven and hell.


I could be wrong, but can’t I get someone out of purgatory by saying many hail Mary’s?

I find that quite a ridiculous post.

For starters, repetition prayer is meant in the context of meditation. It works very well when used as it is intended. Why would anyone want to do 'many hail Mary’s? That just does not make sense.

It also implies that is how Catholics pray which is NOT the case. We pray by having a very personal encounter with the Risen Lord. We meet Him. Sometimes the meeting is an intimate one such as when we meet Him in the Eucharist.

It is not for us to know who or whether some souls are in hell. The Catholic Church even though all power and authority has been given to Her by her Master, does not condemn people to hell. No pronouncments have been made about even the most heinious of fiends this planet has seen in the last century.

It is good to pray for the dead. We pray for those who are no longer able to pray for themselves. That is the teaching of Her to whom ALL AUTHORITY HAS BEEN GIVEN Mt 16: 18-19 & 18:18-19.

We are commended by the Lord not to pass judgment on anyone Mt 7: 1-2.

It is not for us to know whether anyone is in heaven or hell except for those who have been elevated to the altar in heaven and numbered by the Church as Saints.

What we DO know is that to God, everyone is infact alive for God has said:‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob…He is not God of the dead but of the living’. The people heard this and were astounded at His teachings Mt 22:31-32 :

The Lord has commended us to love one another as His greatest comandment Jn 15:17. That includes wishing them well, doing them well and praying for them whether they are in this world or in the next thumbsup:


This question has been answered and this thread is now closed. Thank you to all who contributed.

Purgatory, despite Newbie1234’s assertions, is indeed another topic and is in fact more associated with Heaven than hell.

There is at least one thread already available that expains this doctrine here.

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