How exactly does Mary "intercede" for those to pray to her?

And what exactly does it mean?

God must already know EVERYTHING about each person. What could Mary tell him that he hasn’t already taken into account?

It makes me think of Jesus as a sort of hard dictatorial judge and it takes Mary’s kindness and sweetness to influence to be merciful towards us.


The same way she interceded at Cana.

Using your logic about God, why ask for anything in prayer, he knows what we need? If that is the case, why pray at all?

The same way any other Saint does. By praying for us, and asking her Son to show us mercy in our petitions.
We, as humans, are always asking each other for favors. Please help me paint the house,
can you drive me to the airport, can you babysit for me tomorrow night…etc.
Our Lady and the Saints are our “go-to” with spiritual matters as well as earthly needs.
Yes, God “knows” everything, but remember, He also doesn’t interfere with our free will.
If we ask for help in making the right decision, Mary and Saints will pray along with us, for the ability to choose correctly.
God bless you.

Such intercession is touched upon in James 5:13-18. The reason we ask the prayers of those who are more righteous than ourselves, including the saints in heaven, is because, as James says, “The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.” (verse 16)

The cause of things is not quite what we imagine in our empirical world. We think the powerful thing causes the less powerful thing.
So, when God answers prayer, we think he is the “full cause”.
But from God’s point of view, he is “sharing causation” with us. God “knows” he will do things for us, but our prayer is part of what he knows. He knows at least two causes for our answered prayer - when those two things happen, then the answer will be caused.
The cause we are already aware of is his power, or will, in action. The second cause is our prayer. By praying we are participating in the “work” (causation) of God.

And why does he want this? So that we are like him, doing the works of God with him. Doing this, working with him, we will know we are Children of His when we see him face to face, rather than being fearful that we are worthless in his presence.

Notice how we now honor Mary, as Queen of Heaven. We saw her without fear telling a problem to the King, and we saw the King being somewhat surprised at her timing, but we saw the King accept her timing and start his business as King early for her. turning water to wine. And now, not only the Jesus have a great reputation among us, but Mary also. And God wants this to continue in regard to her, wants her to look glorious in our understanding of her, and so he grants her the privilege of bringing requests to him as a part of his causation of answers to what we need and pray to Mary to help with. Always prayers build up the stature of the person praying to make them a co-causer with God, so that we all shine with our Father and our King in heaven.

Not sure I have said this clearly, hope so.

The prayers of a righteous person availed much. Mary is the most righteous non-Divine person who ever lived.

So God could will that her intercession would be the cause of his granting a request.

Perhaps it would help to have more of an idea of her role in the Church. Pope St. John Paul II gave many wonderful reflections on the Blessed Mother. One of them is below; you can read the others here:****%between%


1. [W]e are now going to cast light on the immense spiritual wealth Mary communicates to the Church by her example and her intercession.
**The Blessed Virgin invites the church to meditate constantly on the mystery of Christ and she witnesses to the significance of quiet humility and loving obedience…We would first like to pause and briefly reflect on some significant aspects of Mary’s personality, which offer all believers valuable guidance in accepting and fulfilling their own vocation.

Mary has gone before us on the way of *faith: *believing the angel’s message, she was the first to welcome the mystery of the Incarnation and did so perfectly (cf. Redemptoris Mater,n. 13). Her journey as a believer began even earlier than her divine motherhood and developed more deeply throughout her earthly experience. Hers was a daring faith. At the Annunciation, she believed in what was humanly impossible, and at Cana, she urged Jesus to work his first miracle, pressing him to manifest his messianic powers (cf. Jn 2:1-5). Mary teaches Christians to live their faith as a demanding and engaging journey, which, in every age and situation of life, requires courage and constant perseverance.

Mary’s was a humble and hidden life

  1. Mary’s *docility *to the divine will was linked to her faith. Believing in God’s word, she could accept it fully in her life and, showing herself receptive to God’s sovereign plan, she accepted all that was asked of her from on high.
    Our Lady’s presence in the Church thus encourages Christians to listen to the word of the Lord every day, to understand his loving plan in various daily events, and to co-operate faithfully in bringing it about.
  2. This is how Mary teaches the community of believers to look to the future with total abandonment to God. In the Virgin’s personal experience, *hope *is enriched with ever new reasons. Since the Annunciation, Mary concentrates the expectations of ancient Israel on the Son of God, incarnate in her virginal womb. Her hope was strengthened during the successive stages of Jesus’ hidden life in Nazareth and his public ministry. Her great faith in the word of Christ, who had announced his Resurrection on the third day, prevented her from wavering, even when faced with the drama of the Cross. She retained her hope in the fulfilment of the messianic work and steadfastly, after the darkness of Good Friday, awaited the morning of the Resurrection.
    On their difficult path through history, between the “already” of salvation received and the “not yet” of its fulfilment, the community of believers know they can count on the help of the “Mother of Hope”. After experiencing Christ’s victory over the powers of death, she communicates to them an ever new capacity to await God’s future and to abandon themselves to the Lord’s promises.
  3. Mary’s example enables the Church better to appreciate the value of silence. Mary’s silence is not only moderation in speech, but an especially a wise capacity for remembering and embracing in a single gaze of faith the mystery of the Word made man and the events of his earthly life. It is this silence as acceptance of the Word, this ability to meditate on the mystery of Christ, that Mary passes on to believers. In a noisy world filled with messages of all kinds, her witness enables us to appreciate a spiritually rich silence and fosters a contemplative spirit.
    Mary witnesses to the value of a *humble and hidden *life. Everyone usually demands, and sometimes almost claims, to be able to realize fully his own person and qualities. Everyone is sensitive to esteem and honor. The Gospels frequently mention that the Apostles were ambitious for the most important places in the kingdom and they argued among themselves as to which of them was the greatest. In this matter Jesus had to teach them the need for humility and service (cf. Mt 18:1-5; 20:20-28; Mk 9:33-37; 10:35-45; Lk 9:46-48; 22:24-27).

What a sad way to view Mary and Jesus. I look upon Mary as the wonderful gift from Jesus to us. Jesus gave us a Mother to turn to when we have no mother on earth. He gave us mentor to guide us when we are feeling alone. He gave us a woman to love us when we are not feeling loved. Most of all He gave me a dear and trusted friend on whose lap I can lay my head when my heart aches.

That’s a lovely sentiment but the only reason I would need someone to intercede on my behalf is because my judge is inclined to answer “no” to my request. Isn’t that so?

So does Mary actually change Jesus’s mind? Does Jesus say, “Well, I wasn’t really planning on giving Joe the strength to get thru this ordeal but since you’ve told me what a good and faithful person he is I’ll do it.”?

When people don’t ask for Mary to intercede does Jesus think, “Well I would have if you’d asked my Mother to pray for you but since you didn’t…the answer is no”

Why is a whole choir of prayers from Saints more meaningful then 1 honest prayer from a good christian?

How do YOU pray for those who ask you to pray for them?

Luke 11: 5 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ 7 and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.

Do you think that it’s possible that what you described might actually be the case? Perhaps God is not always inclined to give us everything we want, when we want it, but that he can indeed be persuaded? And if the persistence of one is persuasive, imagine the persuasiveness of several intercessors!

I have always thought the church taught that God’s mind and will were unchanging.

This is a false idea about prayer. Prayer is never a matter of conveying information to God: that would be completely absurd. But it's common to the mindset that reduces communion to passing on information or to twisting the arm of God to do something that He's unwilling to do.

The point of prayer is not to get what you want; but rather to enter into the divine life by seeking the mercy of God for others and for oneself. And Jesus Himself insists that we do this.

Asking for intercession is asking the assistance of someone who is more alive than we are, and filled with God, to help purify our intentions; to fit our requests to the purity & justice of God. We want those who are perfect -- and Mary, as the Mother of the Incarnate Word, is the most perfect of all created beings -- to offer to God what we offer imperfectly. It also makes us more fit to receive what we ask for; because in receiving it, we understand better the sublimity of the Incarnate Word Himself, who humbled Himself to share in our humanity. Only through this acquisition of the life of humility, seeking the help of those who prepared the way into the life of the Holy Trinity, can our prayer ever be turned into more than a narcissistic demand to grab the goods of God for our own purposes rather than His.

1 honest prayer from a good Christian is a good thing.

I think of Mary and all the saints like a family. I pray for my family. My family prays for me.

Maybe you don’t want or need extra friends who you can turn to. Maybe, the gift of Mary is superfluous to you in your world. That is fine. God most certainly hears your prayers and loves you. But I am so grateful that God has given me Mary to love me. To wrap her loving arms around me when I grieve for those whom I have lost.

I am so grateful that I have a whole chorus of friends here on Earth and in Heaven that that I can sing with when I sing the glories of God. The voices are God’s gift for me and for you and for anyone who wants to hear and listen. Singing by myself is okay. But there is nothing in this world quite like singing in choir, blending my voice and my prayers with theirs.

This is a very wise post.


I didn’t know that is how things work. If everything is fixed, then you don’t need to pray, you don’t need to study to be a doctor and somehow we all will pass our exams and end up being doctors/nuclear scientist etc because God knows/decided everything and hence we should all sit back and do nothing. But I am sure that’s not how things work.

I look at it this way since I am no theologian. God knows, but I don’t. So I must ready myself so that when God ask me whether did I toil in his vineyard, I can truly say I did. I am not so cocky enough to tell God, since you know the answer ,why ask me.

Similarly, if I didn’t “solicit” support for my prayers from Mary and all the saints, perhaps that may be an indicator of my level of sincerity/need. Don’t we do that when we want something bad enough, that’s what we do? Heck, I’ll pull in my relatives, friends, classmates even total strangers if the need is great enough. For example, you have a very sick child looking for a specific type of blood for transfusion for a critical surgery. Won’t we ask everyone that we can think of to obtain that blood? Every string that you can pull, IOUs etc

And when it comes to God, only me and you God, no outsiders? One on one. Not even his Mum and his friends? That is a mighty strange way for a personal relationship with the Almighty that you want to seek permanent abode with.

to intervene between parties with a view to reconciling differences.

This means if you will learn from Mary, who is perfect love as a created person, the difference between your imperfect love and God’s perfect love will be reconciled.

The pinnacle of living is to become the perfect love of our heavenly Father. Since we are imperfect and created, we will have to learn from imperfect created people who become the perfect love of our heavenly Father (saints), the perfect created person (Mary), the perfect proceeding person (Holy Spirit), the perfect begotten person (Son), and the perfect person (Father), in order to fulfill our purpose. Each person aside from the Father acts as an intercessor, who helps us reconcile the difference between our imperfect love with the perfect love of our Father.

Thanks for sharing the interesting question!

And yet you still pray, why?

Same reason.

From St. Thomas

“Supplication” is an adjuration not for the purpose of compelling, for this is forbidden, but in order to implore mercy.

More here:

As St. Thomas explains, anyone who sees the face of God sees also in God all things pertaining to himself, through God. The petitions of the members of the Church militant, pertain to the saints in heaven. And for this reason they see these petitions supernaturally, through the Beatific Vision. Notice also in the selection from St. Thomas that he points out that “it pertains to their glory that they assist the needy for their salvation.” God doesn’t need the saints to intercede for us. He has given them a great gift, in allowing them to participate in this glorious way, in His work of redemption.
Because God is love, He does not do everything Himself. He created us, and gave us real causal powers. So, He doesn’t operate by the principle, “If I can do it, then there is no point in having anyone else do it.” He works by love, which is the very opposite of such egoism, because by love He gives to us the dignity of participation in His glorious activity. This is what we mean in speaking of His love as self-effusive. Strictly speaking, God did not need to give us causal powers of any sort. God could have done everything, entirely, Himself. He loves to give to us the opportunity to participate as real [secondary] causes in His work. That’s one of the gifts He has given to the saints in heaven, by allowing them to be genuine intercessors on our behalf.

probably the saints do not intercede for those who commit sin leading to death if they do they will only be in heaven for the saints sake and not because God is pleased with that person though God loves that person He may not trust that person so that even if Moses Job or Samuel stood before Him He would not be favourable
Actually God does not trust anyone but He made a condition to even spare His enemies out of pity

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