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?
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.
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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