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“Ask a Priest: Is It OK to Pray for Someone’s Death?”
Q: Is it wrong to pray that someone will die? My elderly grandparents have mistreated me and my family for years. We have prayed for them to receive grace, and at every opportunity they have burned those moments. I prayed for as much mercy as possible for them at the final judgment. I stopped praying for them to receive grace and mercy. It became apparent to me that they were never going to take opportunities but instead destroy them. They’ve left a massive wake of hurt and destruction behind them. What do I do now? – J.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: It’s not good to pray for anyone’s death or misfortune. God “wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
It is good to remember that Jesus suffered and died on a cross for your grandparents. If he thinks they were worth his blood, that should tell the rest of us something.
I’m sorry to hear about your family situation. Perhaps your grandparents had difficult childhoods and ever since have taken out their frustration on others.
Nonetheless, it would be a great work of mercy to continue to pray for them. God’s grace can work at any moment, even at the point of death.
And if praying for them is hard to do, then at least do it for love of Jesus.
In any case, giving up on your grandparents might cause your own heart to harden. That would only help to keep alive their pain for another generation.
Wisely did St. Paul counsel in Romans 12:21 — “Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.”
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