Prayer to Saints


#1

I understand the Catholic viewpoint on praying to saints and Mary. (At least I think I do). But why don’t Protestants do this? It just seems like such a good idea to have the Christians in Heaven on your side. Why do they see this as un-Biblical and whatnot?


#2

[quote=Unfinished]I understand the Catholic viewpoint on praying to saints and Mary. (At least I think I do). But why don’t Protestants do this? It just seems like such a good idea to have the Christians in Heaven on your side. Why do they see this as un-Biblical and whatnot?
[/quote]

Many Protestants use John 14:6 as their opposition to praying to saints and Mary. They also believe the word “prayer” to mean worshipping.

In Him,
Tim


#3

Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA), Jehovah Witnesses, and I suppose other denominations, reject asking for prayers from God’s saints in heaven because they believe in a doctrine known as “soul sleep” which essentially affirms that there’s no one yet in heaven to hear our requests for prayer (other than Jesus) - and they can most certainly make a case for such a doctrine largely from Old Testament “proof texts”.

According to the doctrine (as I’ve had it explained to me by SDA’s), a living human being is a combination of “flesh and breath” which together make up a “human soul”. - For comparison, we as Catholics believe a living human being is a combination of a material body (flesh) and a spiritual soul (with intellect and will). - When a “living human soul” dies (according to “soul sleep”), the body component decays and “the breath of life” - which had animated the body - returns to God but this “breath of life” is not a human spiritual soul…it is not conscious… therefore communication by way of prayer between us and the faithful departed in Christ is impossible. The dead are simply “in the grave” until the General Resurrection.

For a non-Catholic “Scripture Alone” evaluation of the doctrine see: Bedtime for Spirits at tektonics.org/qt/sleepy.html.

Your everyday Protestant tends to reject “prayer to the Saints” - not because they don’t believe there are Saints in heaven - but because they think that asking for their prayers violates the Sole Mediatorship of Jesus Christ:

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

To understand how asking the Saints in heaven to pray does not contradict our Lord’s “one mediatorship between God and man” see: Praying to the Saints at catholic.com/library/Praying_to_the_Saints.asp

Keep the Faith
jmt


#4

[quote=Unfinished]I understand the Catholic viewpoint on praying to saints and Mary. (At least I think I do). But why don’t Protestants do this? It just seems like such a good idea to have the Christians in Heaven on your side. Why do they see this as un-Biblical and whatnot?
[/quote]

I think the reason is that they do not understand the role and relationship of faith with works the way we do as Catholics. They specifically avoid the notion of merit, so they have no basis to render fitting honor to the saints.

They have to do this, because part of their confidence of being “saved” has to do with the understanding that what is done in this life “doesn’t matter” for salvation, apart from believing that you are saved. (This is a generalization).

They have to claim their stance is Biblical, because they reject the Pope’s authority and Catholic teaching. The Bible does not support their claim, but they typically ignore or recast the meaning of verses that don’t support their pre-defined position.

hurst


#5

Some of us Protestants are very comfortable praying to the saints in Heaven…
Now, I think that for many people, this may be more to their own departed loved ones, than to anyone “formally” a saint…
But even there, there is more & more acceptance…I recently read an excellent book on prayer, borrowed from my (Methodist) pastor–and written by another Methodist pastor. An entire chapter was devoted to the rosary! And there was a discussion of the whole concept of the communion of the saints which I think might surprise many who think that protestants never would think of such a thing.
Indeed, John Wesley himself :yup: said the rosary every day of his adult life!


#6

[quote=Zooey]Some of us Protestants are very comfortable praying to the saints in Heaven…
Now, I think that for many people, this may be more to their own departed loved ones, than to anyone “formally” a saint…
But even there, there is more & more acceptance…I recently read an excellent book on prayer, borrowed from my (Methodist) pastor–and written by another Methodist pastor. An entire chapter was devoted to the rosary! And there was a discussion of the whole concept of the communion of the saints which I think might surprise many who think that protestants never would think of such a thing.
Indeed, John Wesley himself :yup: said the rosary every day of his adult life!
[/quote]

You need to get this book to my Aunt… she’s a former Catholic turned anti-Catholic now wanna-be Methodist. :wink:


#7

A protestant co-worker of mine said that, at least in his church, they teach that the dead can’t hear us. They’re dead and with God and that’s that. It just seems so sad to me; they’re missing out on such a beautiful part of our faith.


#8

I think it is sad too that they are missing out of such a lovly thing. My aunt always asks me when I bring this up, “Why would you go to anyone else other than Jesus?” but, always encouraged me to go to (living) others for prayer request. I always thought that was odd and rather (well) odd.


#9

[quote=aurora77]A protestant co-worker of mine said that, at least in his church, they teach that the dead can’t hear us. They’re dead and with God and that’s that. It just seems so sad to me; they’re missing out on such a beautiful part of our faith.
[/quote]

They follow their own man-made tradition. As shown below, I have quoted some scripture verses that demonstrate that our forefathers are both alive and able to hear and talk. We as Catholics can apply this to those who have gone before us in the faith.

Matt 22:32 … He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

Matt 17:2 And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. 3 And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him.

Perhaps they will acknowledge this much?

hurst


#10

Consider asking her what this verse refers to:

1 Tim 2:1 I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men

Once you accept that it can be helpful, then you can see why someone would go to someone else. It doesn’t stop you from still approaching Jesus.

I think Protestants often assume that once you pray to someone else, that it implies you have to stop praying to Jesus. It is a built-in tendency of thinking they have.

But consider a big prayer that even Protestants use, and it is not a prayer to Jesus:

Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

There is not one mention of Jesus here. Nor is the focus on Jesus at all. It is on the Eternal Father in Heaven. And yet, we are not ignoring Jesus, Who is One with the Father.

But these Protestants won’t accept the implication so readily, because they are holding to their doctrine tenaciously in order to avoid having to obey the Catholic Church.

hurst


#11

[quote=aurora77]A protestant co-worker of mine said that, at least in his church, they teach that the dead can’t hear us. They’re dead and with God and that’s that. It just seems so sad to me; they’re missing out on such a beautiful part of our faith.
[/quote]

How can you be dead and with God? Isn’t our God the God of the living? Doesn’t make sense…


#12

One thing that no one has mentioned is Hebrews 12:1 which says:
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us

I see here a great cloud of witnesses (enumerated somewhat in Hebrews 11 as well as the things they went through for the faith) and an exhortation for us to run our race well because of them. Have you EVER seen a race where the fans (“witnesses”) just sat there stoically? Can anyone really imagine that those holy saints who have finished their race would not be seriously aware and interested in our races? Especially since it is a race with such eternal consequences for other memebers of the Body of Christ?
Pax tecum,


#13

[quote=Semper Fi]How can you be dead and with God? Isn’t our God the God of the living? Doesn’t make sense…
[/quote]

Well, I think (and I don’t believe this way, so I may not be explaining his position correctly, but I’ll try) that we’re bodily dead. Our souls go to Heaven and we’re with God. We have no more interest or interaction with the things/people of the Earth. Once we’re dead we can only see/be with those who subsequently die, not those we left behind. I’ve had personal experience that shows this to be untrue and have heard stories from others–I know for a fact that the dead know and care about us.

To me, this seems to contradict the scripture from Hebrews that Church Militant quotes. I just love that idea of the people who loved me in this life as well as those who are strangers, but fellow members of the Body of Christ cheering me on as I run this race that is my life.


#14

Luke 16: ( KJV )

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

here is a man in hell, praying for his brothers… if a man in hell
can pray for his brothers, then why can’t a person in heaven,
with God, pray for his… (( yes, i know this is a parable, but
Jesus always spoke in the whole truth, so it does happen ))

:slight_smile:


#15

Yes, consider this really happened. Now, look what God revealed to St. Catherine of Sienna about this very incident:

How the damned cannot desire any good.

"And their hatred is so great that they cannot will or desire any good, but they continually blaspheme Me.

And do you know why they cannot desire good? Because the life of man ended, free-will is bound. Wherefore they cannot merit, having lost, as they have, the time to do so. If they finish their life, dying in hatred with the guilt of mortal sin, their souls, by divine justice, remain forever bound with the bonds of hatred, and forever obstinate in that evil, in which, therefore, being gnawed by themselves, their pains always increase, especially the pains of those who have been the cause of damnation to others, as that rich man, who was damned, demonstrated to you when he begged the favor that Lazarus might go to his brothers, who were in the world, to tell them of his pains. This, certainly, he did not do out of love or compassion for his brothers, for he was deprived of love and could not desire good, either for My honor or their salvation, because, as I have already told you, the damned souls cannot do any good to their neighbor, and they blaspheme Me, because their life ended in hatred of Me and of virtue. But why then did he do it? He did it because he was the eldest, and had nourished them up in the same miseries in which he had lived, so that he was the cause of their damnation, and he saw pain increased to himself, on account of their damnation when they should arrive in torment together with him, to be gnawed forever by hatred, because in hatred they finished their lives."
Dialog of St. Catherine of Sienna, p. 47-48
catholicprimer.org/catherine/catherine_dialog.pdf

Furthermore, in support of the case that this really happened, it was revealed to Anne Catherine Emmerich that it happened a number of years before Christ preached, and in a nearby town where he told this parable. So some of the older people knew what he was talking about.

hurst


#16

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