Prayer to Saints is Wrong


Jerry: The body of Christ are to pray together or alone for each other but never to Mary or to the Saints who have gone to Heaven. Only to God the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit.

BFHU: Where does scripture forbid asking Mary and the Saints to intercede for us?

Jerry:

Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

Luke 11:1-4

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2He said to them, “When you pray, say:

” ‘Our Father…”

Acts 4:23-30 shows us that we are to pray to God only.

BFHU: The scripture in Acts 4 is the recounting of the prayers of the Christian community in thanksgiving for the release of Peter and John from prison. It tells us that:

they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said……

But none of these passages forbid the intercessory prayer of the saints in Heaven. This first passage explains that the Spirit will intercede for us when we do not know what we ought to pray for. That is a great comfort of course. The Catholic Church believes this as well. The second passage is a prayer we pray at every single mass. And the third passage is an example of direct prayer to God.

The issue of “praying to Mary and the Saints” is different than what any of these passages address. For Catholics, asking Mary or another Saint to pray for us is basically exactly the same as asking any other Christian to pray for us. It is all simply intercessory prayer. Just as you stated:

“The body of Christ are to pray together or alone for each other…”

Since Mary and the Saints are all a part of the Body of Christ we are asking them to pray together with us as you said. We consider them to be just as much a part of the Body of Christ as they were on Earth. And even more completely alive as they contemplate Our Lord in Heaven. And their love and concern for us is beautiful.

What you may have misunderstood is that “Prayer to Saints” is NOT the same thing as “Prayer to God.” Prayer to Saints is a request, to the saint, to pray FOR us to God or pray WITH us to God. We know that God is the ONE who answers our prayer. Where as, in “Prayer TO God” we are directly asking God to answer our prayer. We believe both types of prayer, direct and intercessory, are legitimate.

For more info see my post: Why do Catholics Pray to Mary?

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33 Responses

  1. Great explaination of this great gift to the Church!
    Thanks for that!
    Tim

  2. But if Jesus, who is our ultimate example of how to live a holy life, NEVER asked a saint to pray for Him, why would we, as Christians, be encouraged to do so? In fact, no holy person of the Bible is mentioned to have done this? Does anyone know how long this Catholic practice has been in place and why it was instituted? To be honest, it seems to me that the information I have come across to support it is flimsy at best. The Bible mentions asking other Christians to pray for us in the New Testament. This is specifically directed to other Christian church memebers, not those who have risen to be with our Lord. Anyway, I hope this doesn’t come off as closed-minded. I am actually very curious, as I have a great deal of respect for the Catholic religion. This is my one sticking point that inhibits my conversion (I am a Christian, however.) to Catholicism. If I could find a solid biblical recommendation of this practice (ie. not having to “read” too much into a scripture so as to distort it), then I would be a devoted Saint/Mary prayer warrior 🙂 Any help is appreciated.

  3. Jennifer,
    If you haven’t already read it you might want to see my post, “Why do Catholics pray to Mary?”

    JESUS OUR EXAMPLE
    Jesus did not ask saints to pray for Him.

    This is true, however, I can’t think of a time He ever asked anyone to pray for Him. So we can’t take this to mean we should therefore never pray for one another. Especially since James specifically tells us to pray for one another.

    DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW LONG THIS CATHOLIC PRACTICE HAS BEEN IN PLACE?

    Clement of Alexandria

    “In this way is he [the true Christian] always pure for prayer. He also prays in the society of angels, as being already of angelic rank, and he is never out of their holy keeping; and though he pray alone, he has the choir of the saints standing with him [in prayer]” (Miscellanies 7:12 [A.D. 208]).

    Origen

    “But not the high priest [Christ] alone prays for those who pray sincerely, but also the angels . . . as also the souls of the saints who have already fallen asleep” (Prayer 11 [A.D. 233]).

    Cyprian of Carthage

    “Let us remember one another in concord and unanimity. Let us on both sides [of death] always pray for one another. Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love, that if one of us, by the swiftness of divine condescension, shall go hence first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord, and our prayers for our brethren and sisters not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy” (Letters 56[60]:5 [A.D. 253]).

    Anonymous

    “Atticus, sleep in peace, secure in your safety, and pray anxiously for our sins” (funerary inscription near St. Sabina’s in Rome [A.D. 300]).

    “Pray for your parents, Matronata Matrona. She lived one year, fifty-two days” (ibid.).

    “Mother of God, [listen to] my petitions; do not disregard us in adversity, but rescue us from danger” (Rylands Papyrus 3 [A.D. 350]).

    “Therefore, we pray [ask] you, the most excellent among women, who glories in the confidence of your maternal honors, that you would unceasingly keep us in remembrance. O holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in you, and who in august hymns celebrate the memory, which will ever live, and never fade away”(Oration on Simeon and Anna 14 [A.D. 305])

    Cyril of Jerusalem

    “Then [during the Eucharistic prayer] we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition . . . ” (Catechetical Lectures 23:9 [A.D. 350]).

    Hilary of Poitiers

    “To those who wish to stand [in God’s grace], neither the guardianship of saints nor the defenses of angels are wanting” (Commentary on the Psalms 124:5:6 [A.D. 365]).

    Ephraim the Syrian

    “You victorious martyrs who endured torments gladly for the sake of the God and Savior, you who have boldness of speech toward the Lord himself, you saints, intercede for us who are timid and sinful men, full of sloth, that the grace of Christ may come upon us, and enlighten the hearts of all of us so that we may love him” (Commentary on Mark [A.D. 370]).

    “Remember me, you heirs of God, you brethren of Christ; supplicate the Savior earnestly for me, that I may be freed through Christ from him that fights against me day by day” (The Fear at the End of Life [A.D. 370]).

    The Liturgy of St. Basil

    “By the command of your only-begotten Son we communicate with the memory of your saints . . . by whose prayers and supplications have mercy upon us all, and deliver us for the sake of your holy name” (Liturgy of St. Basil [A.D. 373]).

    Pectorius

    “Aschandius, my father, dearly beloved of my heart, with my sweet mother and my brethren, remember your Pectorius in the peace of the Fish [Christ]” (Epitaph of Pectorius [A.D. 375]).

    Gregory of Nazianz

    “May you [Cyprian] look down from above propitiously upon us, and guide our word and life; and shepherd this sacred flock . . . gladden the Holy Trinity, before which you stand” (Orations 17[24] [A.D. 380]).

    “Yes, I am well assured that [my father’s] intercession is of more avail now than was his instruction in former days, since he is closer to God, now that he has shaken off his bodily fetters, and freed his mind from the clay that obscured it, and holds conversation naked with the nakedness of the prime and purest mind . . . ”

    Gregory of Nyssa

    “[Ephraim], you who are standing at the divine altar [in heaven] . . . bear us all in remembrance, petitioning for us the remission of sins, and the fruition of an everlasting kingdom” (Sermon on Ephraim the Syrian [A.D. 380]).

    John Chrysostom

    “He that wears the purple [i.e., a royal man] . . . stands begging of the saints to be his patrons with God, and he that wears a diadem begs the tentmaker [Paul] and the fisherman [Peter] as patrons, even though they be dead” (Homilies on Second Corinthians 26 [A.D. 392]).

    “When you perceive that God is chastening you, fly not to his enemies . . . but to his friends, the martyrs, the saints, and those who were pleasing to him, and who have great power [in God]” (Orations 8:6 [A.D. 396]).

    Jerome

    “You say in your book that while we live we are able to pray for each other, but afterwards when we have died, the prayer of no person for another can be heard. . . . But if the apostles and martyrs while still in the body can pray for others, at a time when they ought still be solicitous about themselves, how much more will they do so after their crowns, victories, and triumphs?” (Against Vigilantius 6 [A.D. 406]).

    Augustine

    “A Christian people celebrates together in religious solemnity the memorials of the martyrs, both to encourage their being imitated and so that it can share in their merits and be aided by their prayers” (Against Faustus the Manichean [A.D. 400]).

    “There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for the dead who are remembered. For it is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended” (Sermons 159:1 [A.D. 411]).

    “At the Lord’s table we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps” (Homilies on John 84 [A.D. 416]).

    “Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ” (The City of God 20:9:2 [A.D. 419]).

    From these quotes I hope you can see this practice is very ancient. These comments, except for Jerome’s, speak of the intercession of the Saints matter of factly, indicating its universal acceptance.

    • Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name. Psalm 30:4

      Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15

      I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints will ever sing for joy. Psalm 132:16

      But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever. Daniel 7:18

      And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Romans 8:27

      They urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 2 Corinthians 8:4

      For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. Ephesians 1:15

      And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18

      And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Revelation 5:8

      The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Revelation 8:4

      Then the king said to the man of God, “Intercede with the LORD your God and pray for me that my hand may be restored.” So the man of God interceded with the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored and became as it was before. 1 Kings 13:6

      Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household. Ephesians 2:19

      so praying to saints is biblical…

      source:http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2710525/what_the_bible_say_about_saints.html?cat=34

      • It is important to note that in the Bible when the “saints” are referred to, it is not the same thing as when Catholics refer to Saints. “saints” in the Bible referred to the followers of Yahweh. So when the authors writing the Bible refer to the prayers of the saints, they do not imply the Saints of the Catholic Church. I do believe they include these individuals, but also a broader perspective- Christians as a whole community in God. These followers of God praying as “saints” in the Bible are just that- followers of God, praying together. NOT the Saints of the Catholic Church that are oft prayed to. (althought once again, they are included as well)

  4. Praying to saints or Mary or anybody who is dead is wrong and quite frankly useless. Care to know why? Because they are dead and there is nothing that they can do for any of us.

    Ecclesiastes 9:5-For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten.

    Psalm 6:5-For in death there is no remembrance of you;in Sheol who will give you praise? (now think about that for a moment…if we cant praise God in our graves-then how can dead people intercede for our prayers?)

    Psalm 30:9-What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you?(again, no awareness in death)

    Conclusion-no man can speak to God when he is dead because he has no awareness in the grave. So with that being said…dead people (saints or not) cannot intercede for our prayer requests because they cannot hear us.

    Who can intercede our prayer requests?
    The Holy Spirit can-the spirit of the LIVING God. (Romans 8:26)

  5. Lena,
    Do you believe the fullness of faith and spiritual realities is revealed in the OT? Do you realize that these are probably the very same passages the Sadducees cited in their rejection of the resurrection of the dead? More light has been given to us in Christ. We know that even though our bodies die our souls live on and are eternal. So, our eternal souls are alive even after our bodies die. Even Jesus said, Matthew 22:32
    ‘ I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

    Surely you do not mean to contradict Our Lord.

  6. I don’t understand how the church of one denomination can tell us who the saints are. The bible isn’t written to denomination it is written to the whole body of Christ. So what has empowered the Catholic church to claim Francis was a saint who wasn’t even in the bible? Denomination is man’s opinion of God’s truth that what was spoken about in Rev. God’s word specifically warns us against falling for man’s doctrine and not His. The Catholic Church I’m sorry to say is wrong for providing laws instead of relationship. Jesus died for us to have relationship not for us to follow one man.

  7. In Matthew 16:19 Jesus gave Peter the Keys of the Kingdom and all the apostles the power to bind and loose. This is a Hebrew idom for “Authority to Rule” So, the Catholic Church founded by Christ 2000 years ago exercises this authority to make decisions to assist the faithful in their journey to Heaven. One of these, is the examination of people, acclaimed to have lived a heroic Christian life. When these people’s lives are found to be exemplary the Church canonizes them in order to point out unusually holy examples of how to live the Christian life well.

    Those who are Saints are some of the best examples of having a deeply devout relationship to Jesus. And this very relationship is exactly why they were able to pursue holiness beyond their neighbors.

  8. Mark 9:3 And there appeared to them Elias (dead) with
    Moses (dead): and they were TALKING with Jesus.
    This proves the spirit lives on.
    I often have people tell me I am in their prayers or they will
    pray for me. Yet they don’t understand why I ask the saints
    to pray for me. The saints are right there with God. Why do
    they not realize the greater power of the saints prayers?
    I appreciate my friends prayers as well, but their argument
    is to pray directly to God. Why then are they trying to inter-
    cede for me, instead of telling me to pray directly to God
    myself?
    Also, if the dead know nothing, why heaven & why hell?!

  9. I attend both a Catholic Church and a Protestant Church. My friend converted to the Catholic faith in 1999 and I love the peacefulness of their Mass. I love the silence and I love kneeling in prayer and getting blessed during communion. I also attend a Pentacostal Church sermon on Sunday nights for a more lively experience. I love the singing and music and clapping of hands and hearing people speaking in tongues and hearing the translations, Maybe I should choose one or the other but why should I choose sides as if one is wrong or one is right? They ‘re both right for me as they fill a void within my soul, it’s a personal thing for me I guess.
    The Catholic Faith spells things out so logically and lovingly and makes it easy for me to understand things I was totally misinformed and predjuiced about for no other reason than I was told this by other misinformed people who were also misinformed, and on and on.
    I do love the fact that I have NEVER heard the Catholic Priest put down other demoninations. I watch ewtn regularly and learned how to say the rosary by watching ewtn and learned another prayer the Mercy Chaplet. These prayers are so soothing and help one to totally cut off the outside world and concentrate on prayer time. I also like the Protestants way of praying on my on and my own words. Sometimes I find it hard to put things into words but I feel better knowing he knows what you need even before you ask.
    I love the sign of peace during the Mass, and I can honestly say when I shake hands or hug someone in Mass this is such a nice time coming together as Christians under the sign of peace. Peace be with you, I love this. I also love walking up the aisle at the Sunday night sermon to recieve prayers from the congregation. Everyone comes together and lays hands on you if you need special prayers and it’s a wonderful feeling knowing these people love praying for you.
    For me both offer me things I need spiritually. For this reason I have no idea why people want to argue who’s right or who’s wrong? Pointing fingers and putting down one’s faith is wrong. It’s wrong if someone believes differently than you. If a particular faith fills one’s spiritual need then why should that bother me? I should be happy for them and rejoice that they have found what is drawing them closer to God, not condemning them! This is WRONG! It’s wrong to busy yourself with things you don’t understand. Passing judgement on one’s religion when they’re trying to have a relationship with Jesus is something I feel is just pure mean. What do you gain when you belittle someone’s faith?
    I guess when I feel the need to totally devote my entire life to one or the other I will know, but until then I will continue my practice of going to the Catholic Morning Mass and the Pentecostal Sundy Night Sermon. PEACE BE WITH YOU ALWAYS!

  10. If there is a well in a field, free to all, but someone pulls up water and sells it for a dollar, then another one takes that water and sells it for two dollars, where would I go for my water?

    I have always wondered, if I can go directly to God, why settle for a lesser route. I can take my request directly to the Creator of the universe who understands fully and needs no interpretation. HE loves to hear from his children personally.

  11. Dear Scott,
    Of course you may go directly to God. Catholics can and do also. Prayer to Saints is the same thing as when Christians ask their friends to pray for them.

    Protestants ask each other for intercessory prayer. And Catholics do too. We just don’t limit our requests for intercessory prayer to members of the Body of Christ who are alive on Earth. We ask for the prayers of the members of the Body of Christ who are alive in Heaven, also.

  12. “I do love the fact that I have NEVER heard the Catholic Priest put down other denominations. “(from Jillian)

    I know this is an old post, but amen to that.
    Having just converted, I have to say how refreshing it is to go to a Catholic Mass that focuses on God and the worship of HIM and not who is wrong and why…… Much of a reason that I left protestant churches!

    If everyone put their focus on praising, worshiping, doing good for others (following Jesus) and not spending all their time telling everyone else how wrong they are, just think where the world would be!!!???
    🙂

  13. @ally and Jillian

    I totally agree with your posts. I have attended many Churches during my journey to find my place. I am a peaceful, loving, and accepting individual. (I now faithfully attend the Catholic Church, which is were I started as a child) During my journey I always felt out of place. I just couldn’t sit and participate in the negative behaviors. To the people around me, they were just trying to SAVE PEOPLE. In my mind, I saw people so consumed by SAVING others that the failed to realize what they were doing to themselves. Paying so close attention to what others were doing and judging them. Is there any other Judge that matters other than GOD himself.

    On my journey I will admit that I learned a lot about different scriptures. I think it is better that I say I was introduced to many different scriptures, because the interpretation of the scriptures differed from one Church to another. Still to this day, after I attend Mass I go home and reread the scriptures covered. I pray for God to send me his message.

    I find the Catholic Church to be a loving, positive, spiritually filled environment. No one is looking at the people around them with judgement, nor are they looking at the people worshiping at other locations with judgement. I know that I have found my place, my Church, my home away from home to love and worship the Lord. Let others say what they may, because they are only hurting themselves by living their lives with such anger, judgement, and hatred. However, they will never see their behavior for what it is because again they consider it SAVING OTHERS. I love all people regardless of where they worship and I will pray for those who choose to judge me and all who are Catholic.

    Love and Peace be with you! 🙂
    Kathy

    • Kathy, I think that you posted that beautifully! Yes! I agree!
      I have found a group of people that are so devoted to just worshiping the Lord!

      Peace be with you!
      🙂

  14. @ bfhu.

    Is it possible to contact you and ask some questions. Do you have an email address that you share. I totally understand if you choose not to.

  15. please pray to dear god/jesus for me to please make me perfect and complete always – not lacking anything
    please also pray that dear god/jesus will crush satan to nothing everyday until satan is wiped out forever by james/god/jesus – amen

  16. “Mother of God, [listen to] my petitions; do not disregard us in adversity, but rescue us from danger” (Rylands Papyrus 3 [A.D. 350]).

    This is exactly what every evangelic – catholic difference is aroused from.
    Please do not be mistaken I don’t want to criticize offensively in any way, though this NEEDS to be taken in mind…

    Here the qoute states: “Rescue us from danger”. There is a big difference in request for intercession and requesting salvation. This is exactly why this subject is so oftenly misguiding, if you were to only pray for the interceding of a brother in the Lord, it would be one thing, but too many have gone past that and requested miracles and even healing in many church communities from saints and mary when all worship and request for any form of salvation should be directed to Jesus. Another BIG example of this is the rosary prayer, where you are accustomed to light up candles and present an image of mary. You there may be saying intercede for us, though you are idolizing mary over God who is not mentioned except in the our father prayer. This has really gone unresponded, and I personally feel that though there are many who pray for intercession, there are many more that idolize the saints and mary and pray for even miracles when peter rebuked their prayers to him as a man on earth.

    • Dear Justin,
      I understand your concern. It does sound like Mary is expected to answer the prayer. You will find many writings like this. I don’t know what to say except they are just hyperbolic. The Church just does NOT teach that Mary is to be worshiped, idolized, or that she answers prayer. These are writings of Christians but they are not doctrine. They are not infallible. Protestants really need to let this go. Clinging to an error about the Catholic Church just causes Protestants to lose credibility. We KNOW we don’t worship Mary.
      -May you all have a Blessed Feast of Mary the Mother Of God. 1/1/11

  17. It must be said that “rescue us from danger” is hardly the same thing as “requesting salvation.” No properly catechized Catholic will fail to understand that salvation comes through Christ ultimately. Having said that, do you think the saints and angels in heaven are frozen and dull, or just idling with no tasks or missions to perform? Protestants have a very hard time understanding how “good works” can be initiated and effected by grace and that prayers of the saints do not distract from the work of Christ (but point us to Christ and let God’s glory be made manifest). I understand your concern about misplacing our adoration and devotion through imprudence and ignorance. Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water !

  18. “I am saying all this especially for you Gentiles. God has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles. I stress this, for I want somehow to make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles have, SO I MIGHT SAVE SOME OF THEM.” Saint Paul – Romans 11:14

    Saint Paul saved some Gentiles????

    This is a very interesting discussion, and I would like to add an Eastern Christian perspective. I am a formerly-Protestant convert to the Greek Orthodox Church.

    Think about the following…

    1) We know that those Christians who have fallen asleep in the Lord are in Heaven with God – THEY ARE MORE ALIVE THAN YOU AND I – they are in the presence of God. We think that we are alive and they are dead, but we are shadows compared to those Christians who have left this world.

    2) We also know that the saints in heaven intercede before the throne of God. This is scriptural – it is beyond dispute. Read Saint John’s vision of Heaven in Revelation. What does Saint John say the Saints in Heaven are doing? Interceding before God’s throne.

    3) We also know that we are to ask each other for intercessory prayer, and we are to intercede for each other. Christ is the ultimate mediator between God and man, but we are to pray for each other to Christ (that is the definition of intercession)

    4) We also know that Christ is the conqueror of death. This is a key point, something the Protestants, at least that I’ve met, don’t seem to grasp. Death has been defeated and trampled down by the Savior. It is nothing for the Christian. When He rose from the dead, death was forever defeated. For those in the Body of Christ, death is nothing – it does not separate us. My connection with those in the Body of Christ who have passed from this world is no less than if they were sitting beside me….Christ has wiped death off the map for those who believe on him. Death can’t separate Christians; it has no hold on them.

    Just think through the above carefully, step by step.

    There is nothing possibly wrong with showing respect and reverence for those who, only by the power of the Holy Spirit and grace of God, have ran their race, and asking them for ther intercessory prayer. They are as alive as you and I, they are in the presence of God, they intercede for us, and we are connected as members of the Body of Christ. Sometimes the Holy Scriptures don’t have to state things explicity because it is just so obvious if you think about it.

    When Roman Catholics and Orthodox venerate saints, they will often kiss or bow before images of the saint. This used to disconcert me, at least until I spent some time in the Middle East and realized how different eastern culture is from the west (America). I saw middle aged people bow and kiss the hands of their grandparents to show love, respect, and devotion. That is a custom of the Middle East. To claim that they are worshipping their grandparents just because we don’t do the same practice in Texas or Iowa is beyond preposterous. Excuse my bluntness, but it is supremely arrogant and a lie. Folks, like it or not, Christianity is 100% a Middle Eastern religion. It didn’t origin in Arkansas or Kentucky. When Catholics and Orthodox make a bow or prostration or kiss an image of a saint, it has nothing to do with worship – only the Uncreated can be worshipped – it is an act of love and respect, absolutely nothing more. If you can’t get over that, you are just so stuck in your own CULTURAL (not scriptural or theological – CULTURAL) mind set that you can’t understand the meaning of anything that occurs outside of that rigid framework.

    In part of the Divine Liturgy, in the Orthodox Church, the priest faces the icon of the Theotokos (the Virgin Mary) and recites “Most Holy Theotokos save us”. When I first heard this, I cringed. It was only much later, when I let go of my PRIDE and understood what was really being said, that I found myself praying the same thing along with the priest. We save each other through our prayers (James 5:16). Furthermore, the Theotokos – the God-Bearer – has played a role in our salvation as the mother of our Lord.

    Christ is the Savior, but he acts in different ways. Fire saves (I Corinthians 3:15); prayer saves (James 5:20); angels save (Isaiah 63:9); Baptism saves (I Peter 3:21); preaching saves (I Corinthians 1:21); and yes, the Aposte Paul saves (Romans 11:14). Christ is the Savior – the only Savior – but he acts through his Saints, through his Church.

  19. Amen. This is the apostolic traditions from the two lungs (East-West) of the church …. not the kind of American exports some 2000 years removed from the cradle of Christianity.

  20. I still don’t see the connection. All of your citations from the Bible are concerning living people communing and praying TO God FOR each other. You really have to squint hard and hold your tongue just right to interpret scripture as saying we should ask Mary and the Saints to pray for us. When we as Christians gather together in worship and prayer, it is good for us to ask each other for prayers. It helps us to feel that Christian love and support in the here and now.

    I don’t object to praying to the Saints at all. I’m just still not convinced that the Bible supports or encourages the practice.

    Love in Christ

    • You have missing links, and need to read and understand the whole and complete bible. Firstly, sola scriptura is not biblical so insisting to prove everything and only from scripture is wrong. Secondly, you are steep in a Protestant tradition which is very wrong about the last things. The people of God is one living body, consisting of the Church Militant (on earth), Church Suffering (purgatory) and Church Triumphant (heaven). After death, one does not just “sleep” until Final Judgment.Day. There is a Particular Judgment which occurs immediately. After death is already final certainty. We need to pray for the souls in purgatory and the saints in heaven can also pray for us who are still “running the race” on earth (and those in hell are already too late). The believing Christian is even more alive in Christ after death. So yes, Christians should continue to pray for each other because it is still the same living body of Christ on both side of the chasm.

    • Bruce,

      We don’t need a Scriptural passage commanding us to ask the saints for their prayers because it naturally and logically flows from everything else we believe. It is sort of like the ever-virginity of Mary. It doesn’t have to be explicitly stated because it is so basically and fundamentally implicit from our other beliefs. We don’t need the Bible as a mechanical, step-by-step instructional manual.

      I believe that Christians who have departed this world are alive. Christ has defeated and trampled down death, and it has no hold on us. Christians who fall asleep in the Lord experience temporary physical death, but their spirits never taste death.

      “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall NEVER die. Believest thou this?” John 11:26

      In fact, I believe that they are more alive than you and I. Those Christians who have parted this world have a fullness of life that we can’t begin to comprehend.Their physical bodies are temporarily dead, but they are spiritually present with God. You can’t get much more alive than that. They are no less a part of the Body of Christ, and they do not cease to be our brothers and sisters.

      It is illogical therefore to suggest that they cannot pray for us. Furthermore, and more importantly, it is not biblical. We know from Saint John that the saints are before God’s throne offering prayers to God.

      ” And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” Revelation 8:3-4

      If the prayers of a righteous person on Earth are of much avail for our spiritual healing, how much more availing are the prayers of a righteous man or woman who has been allowed into heaven and is standing before God’s throne?

      “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16

      As far as biblical support, I guess it just depends on how you interpret the Scriptures. We don’t look at the Bible as an instructional manual. Now, please don’t jump off the deep end and suddenly say that I’m advocating throwing out the Bible and not using it. I’m not saying that. The Orthodox Church upholds that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant word of God. It was the Orthodox Church that canonized the Scriptures, and we uphold the Bible as God’s holy word. We can’t justify anything that goes against Scripture. However, it isn’t an instructional manual in the sense that we rigidly adhere only to what is explicitly spelled out in Scripture, in a literalist manner. There is just no way that that is even feasible.

      For example, I don’t see any support in the Bible for honoring Christ’s birthday and resurrection, and yet only an extremely tiny percentage of Protestants who claim to believe in Sola Scriptura do not observe Christmas and Easter. Do you have a Christmas tree and give gifts on Christmas? Why? Where is that in Scripture? Do you have a day set aside in April to celebrate Christ’s resurrection? Can you show me any passage in Scripture to justify this practice? I think you would have to “squint hard and hold your tongue just right” to get any of this out of the Bible.

      We uphold the communion of the saints because it is consistent with what we read in Scripture, it flows naturally from what we believe, and because it is part of the apostolic tradition.

      “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”
      2 Thessalonians 2:15

      We believe that this is a teaching which has been handed down to us from the Apostles. The Church Fathers of the ancient church are unanimous in their support of intercessory prayers. We know from historical record that the early christians believed in the intercessory prayers of the saints and no break or division between members of the church on Earth and those in heaven. It wasn’t until 1,500 years after the founding of Christ’s church that this came into any doubt.

      I like the way Cyprian of Carthage summed it up in AD 253: “Let us remember one another in concord and unanimity. Let us on both sides [of death] always pray for one another. Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love, that if one of us, by the swiftness of divine condescension, shall go hence first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord, and our prayers for our brethren and sisters not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy” (Letters 56[60]:5).

  21. The only person i remember from the bible was King Saul who tried to get help from dead Samuel. Praying to the dead is like practicing witch craft. So do not practice and also do not encourage.
    Jesus is the only way.

  22. You are right about Saul. However, there is a VERY BIG difference. What Saul did was divination:seeking occult knowledge from the dead. That is an abomination and it still is.

    But we do not do anything of the sort. We do not seek knowledge from from those who are in Heaven. We are asking them to join their prayers to ours. That is all. Anyone who seeks knowledge from the dead would be committing an abomination and heresy. We are merely asking for intercessory prayer.You need to read the whole story and not just allow someone to teach you that Catholics are doing the same thing based on a vague recollection of what Saul did.

    • 1timothy 2:5-6 it clearly says that jesus is the medior between man and God. colossens 3:17 says everything you do in word or accion do in the name of jesus. john 14:13 says that everything that you ask the father in his name he will do. romans 8:26-27 the holy spirit is the one that helps us not another saint. God bless you all and may the spirit of God help you understand God’s word. dont forget that proverbs 16:25 says that there is ways that seem correct to man but at the end is a path of death. ill be praying for yall.

      • Sal,
        Thanks for all the scripture quotes we agree with every one of them. But we do not agree with your interpretation. Mary and the saints are intercessory mediators. They join their prayers to our. Jesus mediated our reconciliation with God the Father through His sacrifice. Two very different things.

        We do all in the name of Jesus. We do not offer our works and sufferings to Mary and the Saints but to Our Lord. The Holy Spirit does help us but the Saints and Mary help us with their prayers. There is no verse that teaches this is wrong. The Scripture does not say anywhere,
        “not another saint.” (helps us) those are your words. And how can you be so sure that the Catholic way leads to death and not the Protestant way?

  23. “But none of these passages forbid the intercessory prayer of the saints in Heaven.” Your argument is basically this: “Nothing is said one way or another in the bible about praying to saints, therefore it’s okay to pray to saints. Its absence from scripture is proof of its legitimacy.” That’s absurd! The fact is, all the examples in the bible show prayer as being directed or offered up to God. That is positive evidence that we are to pray to God and God alone.

    Also, the RCC’s practice of praying to the saints assumes that the saints are omniscient — a quality that only God can have.

  24. Michael, “prayer to Saints” is merely asking that Saint, a brother or sister in the Body of Christ to pray for us. The Catholic Church does not adhere to Sola Scriptura. We accept both Scripture and the Teaching of the Apostles. Protestants know nothing of what the first century Christians actually believed and how they practiced their faith so they think it is absurd to ask the Saints for intercession. Because of this information gap Protestants must rely on Scripture alone. On this basis they can only proclaim that one must pray to God alone. We do that also.

    But you admit that: “Nothing is said one way or another in the bible about praying to saints” and therefore, your conclusion is, it is condemned. But you base this on NOTHING explicit. The practice of baptism of the dead is mentioned also in scripture. We are not told to do it or not do it. Do you and your church baptize the dead?

    Catholics base our practice of the intercession of the Saints on the Teaching of the Apostles and the practice of the early Church. If you want to reject the Christianity of the First Century you have that freedom. But I embrace it.

    We do not think the saints are omniscient. They hear our prayer requests by the power of God.

  25. All I want is what God wills for me. Saints praying will have no effect on that. Jesus wants me to have it that way, too. Done deal. RIP, saints.

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