Does the prayer of a saint in heaven have more efficacy than the prayer of a saint still living on earth?

Does the prayer of a saint in heaven have more efficacy than the prayer of a saint still living on earth?

My guess would be that the prayer of a saint in heaven sharing in the fullness of communion and union with God would “carry more weight” than the prayers of a “living” saint.

Of course, the decision of how and when our prayers are answered is solely up to God.

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?" ST. JEROME Against Vigilantius 6 AD 406

I would be inclined to say, as a non-Roman Catholic, that a saint in heaven praying does not have more “efficacy” than a saint on earth praying. I say this because I take issue with the idea of a prayer having “efficacy”, which to me seems to imply that it’s sort of like an incantation which only works if the magician is skilled enough. All people, living and dead, are the same in the eyes of God and thus it seems to me that he would here all petitions the same, no matter who they are from.

So, does the prayer have more efficacy or doesn’t it? On the one hand you say that it does, on the other hand you seem to imply that it does not because prayers will be answered in accordance with God’s will no matter who is praying them.

I think it is assumed for the purposes of this discussion that the catholic teaching on the matter is correct. The question is not whether the saints do pray, or how much they do pray, the question is whether God is more likely to answer the prayers of departed saints than living ones.

Hi Hopeful,

The efficacy of our prayers does depend on us to a degree :

Matthew 21:21
Jesus replied, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.

A saint in heaven sees God “face to face”. His/her faith is as perfect as it can be. It would therefore seem that their prayer would be more efficacious. But falth is a gift that comes from God and he gives it to whom He wills. We have seen saints perform great miracles while on earth. So the question is moot and possibly futile.


And yet the Bible tells us that the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective.

Name a saint living on earth that has been canonized as a Saint by the church.

Very interesting. Thank you, I will continue my research so I can learn better.

If a genuine Roman Catholic knows better I am willing to be corrected, but the canonization process does not permit someone who is still alive to be canonized. In order for a heavenly saint to be recognized, they must perform miracles for those who pray to them after their death, so I can’t imagine that an example of a saint canonized while still living is possible.

It would have to because a Saint is a Saint I guess. But either way if the Prayer of the Saint is not in line with he will of God the answer will be the same. No

I was going to bring this up. You have to die to be a Saint. There is no such thing as a “Saint still living.”


Does not matter. The question is does a prayer of a Saint hold the same value we could say. And I believe the answer is yes.

As far as a Saint existing we know it is possible because Christ called us all to be a Saint. He called us to that in this world.

Obviously, I’m not referring to canonised saints only.

Really people… :rolleyes: some things are self-explanatory.

How does one know if a living person is a saint? Only God knows the true state of our souls. Many of us suffer weaknesses and failings, we fall (or walk) into sin, God-willing when we realise this we seek to be reconciled with God. I suppose we are saints under construction or wanna be saints.

I believe, that the most powerful prayers come from our hearts and souls. Jesus said something about this when he compared the sinner (I think it was a tax collector) with the Pharisee. For me personally, I am grateful if anyone (on earth or in Heaven) prays with, or for me, however, the most efficacy in prayer comes from my heart and soul.

Again, self-explanatory – we don’t. God only knows. This is a hypothetical question, not a practical one.

Really, things are obvious within context and you guys stretch the question to include things that are not within its original scope and challenge it on things should have been figured out in the first place.

The two people who responded, Christus_vincit and rinnie, were able to understand the question without trying to dissect it and make it out to look like my question is non-sensical, then presuming to condescendingly lecture me on rudimentary concepts while not really addressing the question that was asked.

But the point of the matter there are Saint’s here on earth. Rather or not we know or they even know it they do exist.

We have to believe that because if this were not possible Christ called us to thrive to be something we are not capable of becomming.

But is somewhere were perfected in the faith, personally I can truly see this in a lot of Old People who read the bible everyday, are superkind to others, and never has a mean word come out of their mouths.

Personally I can show many Saints. A Saint is a person who has no sin and no bad in them.

That would be what we call people with Downs. They truly cannot sin, and have nothing but Love in them.

But like Christ and the Saints they are rejected in this world, because they truly are not what this world is made of. Pure Love and Goodness.

This is so funny- 'cause I was just thinking of this question myself the other day. I was trying to explain to a non-Catholic why we can pray to saints in heaven and ask them to pray for us.

Then this thought (the stated question topic here) came into my head. Thank God he didn’t ask me- 'cause I didn’t know what I would say. I kept it to myself. Haha. So I prayed about it.

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can say to this mountain be thou removed- and it will move”.

In Mark 9:24 the man said to jesus “Lord I do believe! Help my unbelief!”. Haha.

As much faith as the holiest saint on earth has- we are only seeing thru a mirror dimly. The saints in heaven see Jesus face to face and have no need for this type of “faith” to move mountains. They do not say “help my unbelief!” 'cause they are looking right at him.

I would tend to think their prayers are more efficacious because they don’t have the possibility of doubt, again, looking directly into Jesus’ beautiful face.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit