Jürgen Moltmann discusses Calvin and Luther's positions on prayers for the dead, and explains why he prays for the dead. This audio clip is from the fifth session of the 2009 Conversation with Jurgen Moltmann by the Emergent Village. To listen to all the audio for that conference, see my previous post.
"Well what do you want to pray for? There's a long tradition of prayer for the dead. This was the medieval Catholic tradition, the prayer for the dead. Luther said to pray three or four times for the beloved dead and then stop and hand it over to God because they are included already in the prayer of Christ. And Calvin, said no, don't follow the old Catholic tradition. I think I am praying for the dead, because the dead are not dead. They died but we cannot say that they are dead now. For Martin Luther, it was, they are sleeping until the day of resurrection. For Calvin, they are watching over us, they are with us, in their own way. And I think this is the truth of the so-called ancestor cult in Asia. The dead are not, in a modern sense, dead and gone and annihilated and away. They are present. If we believe Romans 14 that Christ is the Lord over the Living and the Dead, then we have a community with the dead in Christ, and a community of hope, because we were raised from death together. And therefore, we must overcome this modern understanding of death as annihilation. We should learn from the ancestor veneration in africa and asia again. And this would help, then you may pray for your grandmother."