The following is a book excerpt from my book Practical Keys to Raise the Dead, in the chapter titled “When Do I Quit Praying?” The book addresses real-life issues that come up when a loved one dies and we pray to raise them from the dead.
“The whole stopping praying thing is difficult to communicate clearly in writing because it is so situational. It is hard to know when (or if) to stop actively pursuing resurrection, and the ‘when’ will vary for each situation. Part of what makes the idea of ceasing a prayer attempt difficult is that the God of the Bible is the God of the living and it is always His will for everyone to be raised, every time, period. As such, there is never technically a “right time” to stop from a theological standpoint, but there may be one practically. The best I can do is give you some guidelines and ask questions that should help you to make the wisest decision possible for your circumstances.
Do you have the time to keep going? If you stop other things in your life, how long can you keep that up until it causes problems that will be hard to recover from whether the attempt fails or succeeds? For example, this may involve taking time off work. If the attempt fails and you keep taking time off work such that you lose your job, you may be in far more hot water than just losing your loved one. On the other hand, if losing your job is what it takes to get your loved one back, it may well be worth it. If it were my wife or grandchild and all I had to do was give up my job to get them back, it would be an easy decision to make—but there are no guarantees. You may be able to use provisions under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to take unpaid time off during this period while keeping your job legally protected on your behalf. Talk to wise counsel and get advice on the best way to approach this issue for your unique situation.
Do you have the money to keep going? Financial considerations are a hard, cold, and very real part of this issue. Often the resurrection attempt involves paying for the body to be housed somewhere. If you have to borrow the money, how long will it take you to recover financially if the attempt fails? I don’t recommend you gamble on “if it works then I will be fine.” The truth is it might not work, and wisdom makes a plan based on the worst scenario, not the best one. If you blow through money in a few weeks that will take you a decade to recover from (depending on your financial situation), that may be a poor decision. Your attempt to walk in faith will put you under financial bondage. On the other hand, God may lead you to do exactly that and then provide the means for you to come out from the bondage to debt, with a resurrected loved one to boot! God is not limited by money troubles, so you don’t have to be either, but this is still a very real consideration, and there is no shame in deciding it is simply something you cannot manage. Again, this is a situational thing you will have to decide (and live with the decision). Wise counsel is recommended.
Another question to consider is are you actually standing in faith, or has this moved into denial? It is legitimately possible to couch denial in “faith” terms. In other words, you may have shifted away from believing the person is going to return, but you are having trouble coping with the loss and don’t want to deal with it. The longer you try to raise him, the longer you can push the unpleasant grief away. This is unwise and is probably a good reason to stop—at least for a season. Under such circumstances, the attempt has probably gone on for weeks already, not just a few hours or days, and you may need to work on finding a way to move on. I don’t say this to suggest that grief means you need to stop, but if it has become unhealthy, it may be time to go forward with your life.
Is the body even still there? If the body has been buried, I personally recommend you stop. This sounds like a strange piece of advice, but I know of multiple situations where people are trying to raise their beloved years and years after the fact. It can get to the point where it becomes an unhealthy obsession, completely halts the grieving process, and is essentially detrimental not just to you but to those around you. When you are emotionally paralyzed to the point where you cannot get past the fact that the person is dead and the attempt failed so you keep trying, you are most likely being bound by demons who intend to keep you in denial and/or grief, and this doesn’t bode well for your future. In this case it shortchanges your own life because you are so focused on trying to continually bring the person back that you don’t live an abundant life of your own. I am not saying this applies if it is hours or days after the fact, but if you are months or years later still trying to raise someone and it is sucking the life out of you, this is a good indicator that you need to get help to move on.
Practically speaking, if the body is buried underground, for the resurrection to succeed the body will have to be both supernaturally translocated to an aboveground location and simultaneously resurrected. We don’t typically have crypts or tombs that someone can climb their way out of if he returns—he will have to break out of a coffin in a sealed vault beneath a layer of dirt in the middle of an otherwise uninhabited field. And while God is the God of the impossible and *can* do anything, there comes a point where you do have to move forward on some level. I am probably the first to suggest resurrection any and every time, but you have to use wisdom and learn to recognize when enough is enough. I suggest that unless God has clearly spoken otherwise, when you decide to bury is a good time to stop attempting a resurrection. If it is someone else’s decision to bury and you are praying from the sidelines so to speak, then I recommend stopping once the body is buried as well although it seems entirely reasonable to me to pray up until the minute the body is in the ground and being covered over.
If you or those around you are able to get clear guidance from God, ask Him to show you what to do, and if it comes to that point (which hopefully it will not), to lead you in when to stop. Two different women I spoke with who prayed for their deceased loved ones, the Lord gave specific dates by which the family member would either be raised or the family should stop praying. When those dates came, even though it hurt their hearts, they stopped praying according to the Lord’s direction. If you don’t know how to hear from God, then look at the situation with the recommendations and questions shared above and make your best decision possible. At the end of the day you can’t really make the “wrong” decision if you do your best. God is very kind and will generally let you know one way or another what to do.
If you are interested in reading more, you can find the book Practical Keys to Raise the Dead on Amazon by clicking the photo below: