All in my family have suffered from cancer. When they are terminal, I have always asked God to forgive their sins and to remember them [eternally], and it has worked. My family members have died in peace the day after I have lifted my plea to God.

I’m not sure if it’s wrong for me to do that, but I feel that God listens to me and really helps me, because watching someone suffer is very difficult. I hope I’m not making a mistake by praying for them in this way.

Dear Friend,

It sounds like you have experienced a great deal of loss. The death of a loved one is never easy, but when they have suffered, it is incredibly difficult. Naturally, those who are close to them want to prevent their loved ones from further suffering, so it is common to ask God to go ahead and take them to heaven.

However, prayer is not a magic formula that ensures that you will always get everything that you ask for. God knows what is best for each one of us, and He answers prayers with either “yes,” “no,” or “wait.” When we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we learn to trust that God will answer our prayers in the way that is best, even when we don’t like or understand the reasons.

Some people only pray when they are desperate for help. They have not asked Christ to be their Savior and Lord, and they have not developed a personal relationship with Him. They view God as a kind of Santa Claus who you only speak to when you want something. Then, if they don’t get what they have asked for, they are angry and blame God for anything negative that happens.

You say that you asked God to forgive the sins of your loved ones. The Apostle John and others who wrote in the Bible make it clear that each person must ask God to forgive his or her own sins. John wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”(1) Asking God to forgive us of our own sins is the path that leads to eternity in heaven.

You also say that you think God listens to you. God does hear each one of us. However, He expects us to listen to Him as well. He can speak to us in many ways, including through the Bible and through our consciences. Many people want God to listen to them, but they deliberately choose not to listen to Him. Listen to God today! Let Him deliver a message to your conscience.

We wish you well,

1 1Jn 1:9