Praying to Mary


Someone commented to me that one “problem” with the Catholic church is that they pray to Mary as well as others, and that you are only supposed to pray to God.

I stated that in my very limited knowledge (from lurking here) it wasn’t “praying” so much as it was “asking”.

She said, “and the difference would be??”

Ok, I’m stumped. What makes talking to God “praying” and talking to any other deceased saint or person “asking”?

Thanks for letting me ask.



for one, the saint isn’t dead since God is the God of the living, and two, this sums it up better than what i could write.


Just my thoughts…

I guess praying is a form of worship, and worship is to be directed to God only. And prayers are not answered by saints, but by the Grace of God.

Asking saints to pray for us is well and good because saints are a part of our (God’s) family and family members should pray for one another. I can’t imagine protestants having a problem with this.

I guess the problem with your protestant friend is whether or not saints know our intentions.



The site is wonderful for explaining why talking to them is ok (thank you!) but I guess I still dont understand the difference between praying and “asking” or “talking to”.

Unless the answer was that there is no real difference, and I was wrong in what I said about not praying?

I’m new here, with no reputation what-so-ever. Please don’t think I’m arguing the point, just trying to have it make sense to me. I know the board is’t set up for debate, so I’m hoping I don’t sound like that.


Actually, THAT made sense. Thank you!


praying to God is a form of worship yes. but praying to mary and the saints is not. catholics venerate mary, we do not worship her. we can ask for her intercession yes, but we do not worship mary in prayer or otherwise.


I guess praying is a form of worship, and worship is to be directed to God only.

There’s a problem with this from the Catholic perspective.

Catholics believe that God still requires sacrifices for worship (as He did in the Old Testament). That is why we believe that the sacrafice of Calvary is made present at each Mass; the Sacrifice of Christ is our Worship of God. Perhaps the sacrifice of desires contrary to the Will of God may be seen as sacrificial and thus as worship in prayer, but it pales in comparison to the True Sacrifice of Our Lord at every Mass.

Also coming into play are the three types of veneration: Dulia, Hyperdulia, and Latria. The Saints get Dulia. Mary gets Hyperdulia. Only God gets Latria. Catholics are taught these different types of veneration and so easily recognize differences between them, just as even a child knows the different types of Love given to a sister, best friend, and their principal (just three random examples, not a parallel to God, Mary, and the Saints).


To pray is to be in conversation with. It is not simply one way. If I pray to God, I must also be silent in His presence so that I might hear his answer.
Oftentimes we might ask a friend to pray for us, meaning to intercede on our behalf. When I pray to Mary or a saint, that is what I am doing.
We can go to the scripture passage which says “where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there.” Praying to the saints is asking that saint to join me as I pray.
Jesus spoke of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the present tense because they were still alive. This is the Catholic view of the saints. They are alive and able to join with me in my prayer.


Have you ever asked a friend to pray for someone?

A friend of mine asked me to pray for a friend of hers who had been hurt in an accident. So of course I prayed for that person even though I don’t know the person who was hurt, he was only a friend of a friend.

Asking a saint or asking Mary to pray for you is like asking a friend to pray for you.

We don’t pray to Mary, we don’t worship her, we do hold her in high regard. She is the Mother of God. Jesus no doubt respects His Mother and would expect no less of us.

Those that say Catholics pray TO Mary do not understand the Catholic faith. But I bet most , if not all, of them understand about asking their friends to pray for them. When our prayers involve Mary or a Saint, they are the same as asking any friend to pray for us.


I wanted to ask you…Has this person ever read the words to the different prayers?
Ok, let me give a little example here. :slight_smile:

*O Blessed Archangel Gabriel,
we beseech thee,
do thou intercede for us
at the throne of Divine Mercy
in our present necessities,
that as thou didst announce to Mary
the mystery of the Incarnation,
so through thy prayers
and patronage in heaven
we may obtain the benefits of the same,
and sing the praise of God forever
in the land of the living.


This prayer is to Saint Gabriel, for intercession. It’s asking for his intercession that he may intercede for us. Just like we would ask our friends, family, etc to pray for us. We don’t believe that it’s St. Gabriel answering our prayers. It’s our Heavenly Father answering prayers. St Gabriel is only interceding for us. Mary is interceding for us. She is the closest to HIM. She is HIS mother as she is ours too. Who better to ask for intercession than our mother Mary… Or the saints (who are very much alive) in heaven?
I hope I made sense :o it’s past my bedtime. :slight_smile:


The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. (James 5:16b)

Who more righteous than those already in heaven? Asking them to pray for us just makes sense. Nobody really prays TO saints. We ask them to pray with us and for us, just as we ask our Christian friends on earth.

God bless,


Exactly! :thumbsup: To quote one of Catholicism’s “most prayed” prayers (the second half of the Hail Mary):

“Pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our death.”

It couldn’t be any clearer that this is an “asking for” prayer…


For many non-Catholics, praying is an act of worship, an act that should only be given to God alone. Catholics do not feel that prayer is, in an of itself, an act of worship. It can be, but the important thing to explain is that, when a Catholic prays to Mary, or the Saint, he is NOT worshiping Mary or the Saint.


G-d has a mother ? :confused: :shrug:


Sure, why not? You don’t believe Jesus was Her Son? :wink:
But I know your reasoning, you might say that God creates everything; therefore, Mary could have not existed before God.

Surely, she is His Creature, but He has chosen Her to be His Mother.


I’m not Roman Catholic, I’m actually Anglican, but from experience, we ask Mary and all of the saints in Heaven to pray “with” us to God, not as a mediator but as someone in church is praying with us for needs and such. Intercessory prayer isn’t so much praying for but praying with.


This is something that I did not know until last year. During the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest takes three steps back from the altar in order to make room for the communion of saints. The Mass is outside of time and all members of the Church are included in the celebration, not just those we see.


Not really. This is a limited understanding.

The Catechism is explicit that you may both pray TO Mary and WITH Mary.

Also you will find beautiful prayers of Pope John Paul where he is praying directly TO Mary.

**CCC 2679 **Mary is the perfect *Orans *(pray-er), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus’ mother into our homes, for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope.


I have to say that you have posted an excellent explanation. I would be unable to explain it any better myself. Great job!!! :thumbsup:


In my opinion the problem is not enough people pray the rosary.

My answer is that the church is divided into three parts. The Church Triumphant in heaven. The Church in waiting in purgatory. And the Church militant on earth. But its basically all one big church. So, just as you can ask a friend to pray for you, you can ask anyone belonging in the other two churches to pray for you as well, including Mary. Anyone who prays for you is an intercesor, and Our Lady is a very powerful intercessor.

When we pray to Mary we ask her to pray for us and to intercede within us and for others. This is how spiritual principles operate. One must “invite” either god or saint and angels to participate in one’s life.

Also, look at the fruits and judge for yourself. You don’t have to convince anyone. If they don’t want to see for themselves, that is their problem and fault. Live by good example, not by convincing arguments or words.

Blue Knight

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