Why Pray to the Saints in Heaven ?
Short Answer – One Mediator
When we speak of “praying” to the Saints it is important to understand the meaning of that word. The word “pray” does not mean to worship. We worship God alone, because worshipping anyone else is Idolatry. To Pray means to ask.
In 1 Timothy 2:5 we read that Jesus is the One Mediator between God and man. And this is the foundation for our asking others to pray for us and with us to God. This is evident since St. Paul asks us to pray for others four verses before this at the beginning of this chapter. He makes no exceptions. For example, we even pray for non-Christians, leaders of our country, etc.
In 1 Cor 12:12-31 we read that Christians are one body in Christ, and that we need each other. We cannot say to the other members “I do not need you,” (verse 21.) And in Romans 8:38 we read that not even death can separate us from God and His love. And so, after our death we will still be part of the One Body of Christ.
Therefore, the Bible implies we need the help God wants to give us through the Saints in heaven and that we should ask for them to pray with us and for us to Jesus.
Consequently, if the Protestant wants to maintain that there is an exception for those members of the body of Christ in heaven, and that we do not need them, then it is incumbent upon those Protestants to find a verse that makes that exception or to find a verse in the Bible that makes the claim that there are actually two bodies of Christ, one for those in heaven and another body of Christ for those on earth to make their case that “the Bible does not encourage us to ask those in Heaven to pray with us to Jesus.” And of course, Protestants cannot do that because the Bible does not make those exceptions.
Therefore, the Bible encourages us to ask the Saints in Heaven to pray with us to Jesus for our spiritual needs.
And this is exactly how the early Church interpreted the Bible, and so we do.
More Details . . .
That to pray means to ask can be seen in King James Bible as well as more modern literature such as Shakespeare. The context shows that it just means to ask or beseech.
"I pray thee" was one of Shakespeare's favorite phrases. In the play Romeo and Juliet, Juliet says: “I would thou hadst my bones, and I thy news: Nay, come, I pray thee, speak; good, good nurse, speak!” (2.5.30)
So, when Catholics speak about praying to the Saints in Heaven we are referring to when we are asking for their help by praying with us to Jesus. While on earth we offer holy prayers for others. This is a manifestation of God’s grace working in our hearts, and in our love for them. God blesses us with the ability to enter into His holy work by offering prayers.
God is all-powerful. He enables us to do the good things that we do. It would be wrong to say that God is not powerful enough to enable the Saints in Heaven to hear all our prayers at once. (Since there are only a finite number of people that will be created there will only be a finite number of prayers from earth. Therefore, a finite and not an infinite power would be required. God has created space and time and therefore He is not bound by either. Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:9 and John 14:12.)
God works through a good Bible preacher to help others. God also works through the Bible publisher. He also, by His grace, works through those who offer holy prayers.
When a holy person dies his soul goes to heaven and in most cases their soul awaits the resurrection of their body on the last day. Since their soul is united with Jesus, the Author of Life (Acts 3:15) they are even more alive than we are.
Just as Jesus can work through the saints on earth by their prayers He
can even more so work though those who are united to Him in heaven. Since
they are closer to the source of all True Love, God Himself, they love us
even more. 1 John 4:16
Hebrews 12:1 says that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. Looking back at chapter 11 verses 4 – 32 shows that Paul was talking about the Old Testament saints. They had to wait for Jesus to pay the price of their sins to get into heaven and now they cheer us on to fight the good fight that Paul talks about in 1 Timothy 6:11-12.
Hebrews 12: 1, 18, 22-23
Also, in Job we see God telling Job’s false friends Eliphaz and Temanite that they are to go to Job and ask for Job’s prayers. God tells them that he will accept Job’s prayers on their behalf.
And we also see in the New Testament this Biblical encouragement to ask for other’s prayers.
The prayer of others can be life giving.
1 John 5:16
When the saints on earth die and go to heaven they are more righteous because they are even closer to God, and therefore they are even more open to the workings of God’s grace so that their prayers become even more efficacious for us. Asking for the prayers of others cannot violate Christ’s role as sole mediator, see Romans 15:30-32 above. We are all required to love one another and the Saints in heaven express their love for us by praying for us.
The ancient practice of asking the Saints in heaven to pray with us and for us goes back to the early church. The Bible shows that they are in heaven interceding on our behalf and taking our prayers up to God.
The Saints in heaven belong to the Body of Christ. And the Christians on earth also belong to the Body of Christ. So, we have the question, “How many Bodies does Christ have ?”
1 Corinthians 12:27
1 Corinthians 12:20
Therefore, the saints here on earth are united with the Saints in heaven in the one Body of Christ. We would be wrong to ignore the help that Jesus wants to give us through them and their intercession on our behalf.
We need the prayers of the Saints in Heaven because we are all one family, and part of following Jesus is being humble enough to accept that we the help that God wants to give through His creatures in heaven. Luke 22:43
1 Corinthians 12:20-21
Therefore, it is a good and holy thing to avail ourselves of help that God wants to give to us through their intercession done in Jesus Christ.
We will never love Mary as much as Jesus does. We don't have to be
afraid of Mary. She is in heaven and her will is completely conformed to
God's will [ as will our own when we go to heaven.] She points us to her
Son, and tells us
And Jesus gives us an example of humility by accepting help from a
It is also worth noting that the only disciple that remained faithful in following Jesus all the way to the cross was the one who was strengthened by walking with Mary. It is revealed that this “beloved disciple” is none other than John the Apostle, the author of the fourth Gospel. See John 19:26 and John 21:20-24.
Some people see it as Jesus or Mary, but that is not correct. Mary and all the other Saints in heaven are united to Jesus. Matthew 18:20 states: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
When we go to Mary, Jesus is more present not less present. Jesus came to us through Mary, and so we imitate Him when we go to Him through her.