Praying for past events?


Yesterday on Fr Corapi’s radio show, he mentioned the concept of changing past events through prayer. This concept really blew me away, but what he said sort of made sense to me. He said that God knew millions of years ago that I would pray for something today, so the fruits of that prayer could have been applied to an event that took place years ago. This theory both fascinates me and makes my head spin!

Can anybody think of a practical application of this kind of prayer or point me to some writings that detail it further? Could praying for the repentance of people that have already died be an example of this?

God Bless,


I don’t have any documentation to point you to on this, but I have also heard this somewhere else.

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine committed suicide. My aunt, who was also friends with this person, said she was praying in church after daily Mass and was very upset. A woman from her parish approached her, and my aunt explained to her what had happened. The woman told her that she would pray for our friend, and b/c God is beyond time, would ask that those prayers be with him (our friend) while he was going through the despair he was experiencing when he took his life. My aunt said she’d never thought about it that way and that it was very comforting.

Pretty interesting, huh?


When Father Corapi mentioned this, he was also talking about someone who committed suicide so I guess that would be a practical application of this kind of prayer. I don’t know about everyone else, but this concept really blows me away and I’d love to understand more about it!

God Bless,


I’m guess we could also think of it in the same way as praying for the souls of the departed. Though obviously, these prayers for my friend won’t change that he is gone, they are helping him in the afterlife.

I think it’s one of those things that goes beyond our understanding. When I really try to meditate on this and really think about it, I can’t quite wrap my brain around the idea. I would be interested in finding out more about it too, but I’m pretty sure it will never be completely clear to me. I guess it will be one of those things that will be revealed to me in heaven (I’ve got a long journey before I get there though! :)).


God is not bound by time so I think you can pray for things in the past as well as the future. I’ve done this when I’ve heard about a sudden death. For example, if there’s a plane crash I may pray that the people found comfort in God during their time of great fear or that they were delivered from pain. I think it makes as much sense as praying for their souls or for the grief of those who are left behind.


I’m not saying that it doesn’t make sense. I get the overall idea, and I think it’s awesome, and I believe it. I had just never really thought about it until it was pointed out to me. I guess what I am saying is that I cannot grasp the concept of not being bound by time, and well, being God, and being able to apply prayers that I could say right now to something that did happen and can’t be changed. I agree 100% with what you said about praying that they found comfort in God and were delivered from great pain. But, I can’t pray for my friend not to have killed himself either…

Does that better explain why on one level it makes complete sense, but on another, is difficult to understand?


Wow, now that’s a concept. I don’t know how I feel about it. I mean all things are possible with God so I can’t knock it. I guess like the OP my mind is kind of spinning on it.


I keep thinking about this because it fascinates me so much. At lunch I was praying the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary and I was meditating upon Jesus’ crowning with thorns. In the past I would always reflect on the fact that since my sins were the cause of Jesus’ suffering, I would picture the thorns being dug into the Lord’s head a little deeper for each of my sins. When I would manage to avoid sin I would picture a thorn being removed from His head and lessening His pain somewhat. However, I always thought of His crowning with thorns as something that happened in the past and that refraining from future sins wouldn’t help the pain that Jesus suffered. Today, the thought came to me that by choosing to avoid a sin or by offering to share in His suffering (by carrying my own crosses without complaint or by some voluntary sacrifice) I could possibly lessen the Lord’s suffering a little bit. Even though this incident happened in the past, God’s not being bound by time could possibly allow me to apply the fruit of my prayer to it.

I’m not sure if I’m theologically correct or way off base. What do you all think?

God Bless,


I agree that it doesn’t make sense to pray that the event itself will change. You can’t undo the suicide or the tornado or the plane crash. But I do find comfort in praying for the people involved, praying that in their last moments they found comfort and trust in God, that they repented for their sins, that they knew they weren’t dying alone.

It is kind of mind boggling. We’re so used to thinking in terms of time, but God is above it all and takes it all in. I figure that something about God being mind boggling is good – it helps me avoid thinking that I can ever fully understand God.


Ah, a question dear to my heart – for it was part of leading me to the Catholic Church.

I faced this question in a much gentler situation. This happened loooong before I even thought about Catholicism. I had received one of those forwarded emails describing someone who needed prayer for something. Being in a charitable mood at the moment, I stopped and prayed for them. THEN, after the prayer, I read a little closer, looked at the dates, and realized that the original request was about 3 YEARS old. Because of the nature of the request, the situation would have been resolved one way or another long before now.

So, I suddenly wondered – had that prayer been wasted? Did it have any effect at all? After a few moments thought, I decided that since God knows all, the end from the beginning, and all time is “present” to Him, that yes my prayer now was as effective as it would have been 3 years earlier.

It helps to be a Dr. Who fan. :slight_smile:

Remember, this was before I dreamed I’d be a Catholic someday.

But, having become settled on this long before, when I was introduced to the teaching that at Mass, we participate across time in the one sacrifice of the cross, and that the Eucharist we eat is the flesh of the one Passover Lamb that was slain once, yet is present in all time, this was easy for me to understand and accept.


Very beautiful post Gary.:wink:

You’ve been giving comfort to Our Lord all this time without realizing how deeply you have lifted His burden and sufferings.

I love to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and my eyes always go to the huge Cross of Jesus. I picture myself lowering Him down and washing each of the wounds on His hands.

It makes sence that our prayers can help souls by praying for past events. I wish I had heard Fr. Corapis talk because he’s an awesome speaker.


I totally agree. :thumbsup:

Awesome post Gary and BradW! This is a cool topic - very thought provoking and humbling…

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