Please explain praying to Mary and the Saints.

I am in this weird position between Protestant and Catholic. I do not fully agree with either but also agree with both. I have grown up Protestant and have recently been exploring the various Catholic doctorines. My question is this;

I do not disagree that the Saints and Mary are prying for us. I believe scripture is clear on that issue. However, I believe these are general prayers. Similar to me praying for the missionaries of the world. I do not know them individually or personally but I am prying for them and their needs as God the Father knows their needs and how to provide. How is it that Mary and the Saints can hear our specific prayers? When we ask them to pray for us don’t we already have confidence in the fact that they are? I believe the the teachings of the Catholic Church indicates that Mary and the Saints have no power to do anything for us but pray to God on our behalf. If that is the case what is the point in doing specific prayers to Mary and the Saints? Could/should we not pray thankfully “thank you_______ for your continued intercession on my behalf…”? Why is it that we are told to pray to patron saints? I can understand being advised to study their life to see how they overcame in a particular situation but do Catholics believe they have some divine power or privilege to God that we do not?

These links should give you the answers that you need. If you have any further questions or concerns that are not answered by this, please contact Catholic Answers directly.
Recommended Reading:

[LIST]
*] The Intercession of the Saints
*] Praying to the Saints
*] Saint Worship?
*]Is Mary’s and the saints’ intercession unbiblical?
*]What is the biblical reason Catholics pray to saints for intercession?
[/LIST]

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