We are told by the Church many times the importance of prayers for others. It would seem that we can help other people by praying for them, or, to be more precise, we can plead God's grace for those who we pray for.

Let us reverse this statement. Then it would seem that if we don't pray for others, then God will deny them His grace He would give them if we were praying for them.

This seems to be almost explicitly stated in Fatima apparitions:

Pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them.

Does this mean that God preconditions His aid for sinners on other people's prayers? If so, why? How to reconcile such a statement with God's infinite love, according to which He should do whatever is possible and whatever will not violate a man's freedom to save them from eternal damnation and bring them to Heaven? Since the fact that no one prays for a man is hardly their guilt, how to reconcile such a statement with God's fairness, according to which he probably shouldn't precondition His actions towards a person on anything other than that person's will, and especially not if eternal salvation is at stake?

  • One reason for mentioning Catholicism in the title is that I cite Fatima apparitions, which are unlikely to be believed in by non-Catholics.
    – gaazkam
    Aug 30, 2016 at 11:01
  • Personally I believe in Fatima, but it should be noted that the revelations of Fatima (1917) are in the realm of private revelation and as such Catholics are not obliged to believe them.
    – Ken Graham
    Aug 30, 2016 at 12:44
  • @KenGraham Yes of course, which is why I've put them only as an addition, I feel the question wouldn't loose all of its sense if these were to be removed; still, these revelations are a worthy addition to this question IMHO.
    – gaazkam
    Aug 30, 2016 at 13:45
  • @KenGraham Also putting this "catholic" in the title in parentheses was a conscious choice: citing these revelations naturally directs this question to the realm of Catholicism, plus I'm most interested in Catholic theology, but this question is meaningful to many more denominations and in the spirit of this site ("Christianity SE", not "Cathilic SE") I didn't want to needlessly limit the scope of this question in such a hard way(i.e. I didn't want to "prohibit" Protestants from answering).
    – gaazkam
    Aug 30, 2016 at 13:53
  • It looks like your question has been edited in such a way that it implicitly wants to accept only Catholic answers. This appears not to be what you want, but if you allow answers from multiple denominations (without explicitly requesting an overview of approaches in the question body), it may be closed as too broad. How would you like to proceed? Aug 30, 2016 at 19:13

1 Answer 1


First, you must understand what the RCC teach about grace. Here.


God's free initiative demands man's free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him. The soul only enters freely into the communion of love. God immediately touches and directly moves the heart of man...

Following this quote, if a person never responses he might need help from other's prayer. Through the other's intercessions, God can grant him many other opportunities where he can response. God will not violate man's free will and won't force him to response. If a man won't response God can't immediately touches and directly moves the heart of man.

You are saying

Does this mean that God preconditions His aid for sinners on other people's prayers?

Yes and no. First of all, God gives enough and sufficient opportunities to every man for his conversation. If a person runs out and fails to answer God's calling then other's prayers and sacrifices can bring more and new opportunities.

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