Can We Pray For People In Hell?

No, absolutely not. These next verses were spoken by Jesus Matthew 25:46, And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” It is the same Greek word used for everlasting and eternal, the word, “Aionios.” Both places are eternal.

  • Matthew 18:8-9, “Cast him into everlasting fire, into hell fire.”
  • Mark 3:29, “Eternal damnation.”
  • Matthew 25:41, “Depart from me ye cursed, into everlasting fire.”

The belief that you can pray someone out of hell is similar to the doctrine of Purgatory, a waiting place in-between heaven and hell. The Bible says there is no such place. There is no Purgatory. The belief that a person can be prayed out of this state of existence is false. A person will never escape hell. There are many other verses spoken by God in the Bible regarding hell being eternal.

Once a person dies, their destiny is fixed. Jesus is describing the rich man’s situation who went to Hell, and part of what Jesus revealed is that the rich man’s location cannot be changed. Once a person dies, it is impossible to ever depart from hell.

  • Luke 16:26, “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…”

There is no getting out, ever. This describes the current hell, or hades. Later on at Judgment Day there will be a casting into the lake of fire forever and ever as Revelation 14:10-11, Revelation 20:10, and Revelation 21:8 state. 

Robert A. Peterson states in Hell Under Fire, page 155,

“He will separate the people of the world and consign them to one of two destinies: eternal punishment, or eternal life, pg. 167  …At death, Lazarus and the unsaved rich man left their bodies and went to places of bliss and woe, respectively.”

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary, page 946,

“Thus the decision of this awful day will be final, irreversible unending.”

The MacArthur Bible Commentary, page 1176,

“The punishment of the wicked is as never ending as the bliss of the righteous. The wicked are not given a second chance, nor are they annihilated…The wicked are forever subjected to the fury and wrath of God. They consciously suffer.”                                            

The next verses state that there are only two places, and each place is eternal.

  • Daniel 12:2, “and many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting shame and contempt.”
  • Matthew 3:30, “Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
  • Matthew 13:38, “the good seed are the children of the kingdom, but the tares are the children of the wicked one.”
  • Matthew 13:48, “and gather the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.”

Good does not mean you’re a good person. The righteous are referred to as the good, the wicked are those who ignore or reject Jesus Christ and refuse to repent of their sins. 

Psalms 9:17 says, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all nations that forget God.” 

Praying for someone who has died and is now in hell is error and is a wasted prayer. 

Copyright 2007-2023 Soul Choice Ministries – All Rights Reserved
By Bill Wiese, author of 23 Minutes in Hell