Straighforward explaination for "praying" to Saints


I am a recent convert to Catholisicm. I have been defending and witnessing my faith a lot as of recently, however I am challenged to come up with a good explaination for how prayers for intercession work.

I believe it is correct to say that Catholics don’t (or should not) pray to Mary (for example) and in fact ask more for her intercession.

However, in speaking with a protestant, I had to defend the acutal nitty gritty of this. The saint is not omnipresent are they? If they are not, how can they hear our prayers for intercession?

Does it infact work more like we pray to our Lord, then he passes along the message to Mary that we would like to ask her for her prayers for us, and thus she prays back to Jesus?

What am I missing here? It seems confusing. This is compounded by the fact that it is complicated, and often times Catholics just say “pray to Mary” somthing that is easily misunderstood, and in fact seemingly quite wrong.



Straightforward? hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Okay, Let’s see.

We are called to pray for one another.

The prayers of the righteous affect much.

The prayers of the saints are offered up to God along with Incense.

Those in heaven are aware of what’s going on down here.

That it in a nutshell, If you want the scriptural points of reference, look here:


No, saints are not omnipresent. Where did you get that idea?


Hebrews 12:1a - 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…

What does a person need to do to count as a witness in a court of law? Don’t they need to have seen/heard what happened?

The Bible Christian Society has a couple of lectures you would benefit from. One is called Mary & The Bible; Purgatory & The Bible. The Communion of Saints explains how we are all the Body of Christ whether we are still on this earth or in Heaven. The analogy given is if you take a pin in your right hand (your prayer) and poke your left hand (the saints in Heaven), your left hand only feels the pain (the saints hear your prayer) because your brain, located in your head (Christ, the Head of the Church) sent the “Ouch!” (pray for me!) message to it. But do listen to the actual lecture - he puts it much better than I just did. :thumbsup:

Here’s a link you might find helpful. And more regarding Mary.



First of all, it isn’t necessary to know the HOW --the actual mechanics – of any aspect of our Faith to be able to accept it. HOW can there be three Persons in one God? HOW can Jesus be fully God and fully man? HOW are we saved by grace? HOW can bread and wine become truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ? HOW? HOW? HOW?

I could go on, but you get my drift. HOW is the wrong question when it comes to the mighty works of God. Suffice to say if God wants something the happen, he can do it by means within OR above our understanding.

With that out of the way, you can now say, that for the Saints to hear our intercessions, they don’t NEED to be omnipresent (defined as being every place in the universe at the same time). If it is God’s will that they hear our prayers and intercede for us He can make it happen.

This is compounded by the fact that it is complicated, and often times Catholics just say “pray to Mary” something that is easily misunderstood, and in fact seemingly quite wrong.

Catholics use “pray to Mary” or “pray to St. Miscellaneous” as shorthand for “seek the intercession of this particular saint that we may draw comfort and benefit from the fact that in the Communion of Saints we are part of an extended family of holy men and women who have gone before us and do not stop caring about us now that they are in heaven in the presence of God.”

I think “pray to Mary” rolls off the tongue a little easier, don’t you? :slight_smile: WE know what we mean by it and if others, after hearing our explanation and understanding of it, can’t, don’t, or won’t accept it, that is their loss.


I know that is not the case, what I was trying to understand is how the message gets to them. It just strikes me as odd the method that needs to be used.

Its like saying, to you Bobby [God], “hey, will you tell Johnny[Saint], to put in a good word for me, with you… Bobby?”

If that makes any sense at all.

Downloading that audio looking forward to it, thanks!


Rev 5:13: And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, “To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!”

Here we have John, not even at that point a perfected saint in heaven, who can hear every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea! That is much, much more than just hearing the prayers of intercession from some people on earth.

Omnipresent? Why is it necessary to be everywhere to hear prayers of intercession? Are those who are praying those prayers everywhere in heaven and on earth? Of course they aren’t.

Protestants make much of their brothers and sisters in Christ, but they ignore those brothers and sisters in Christ who are closest to God, who are perfectly aligned with His will. It makes no sense to ignore such fellow Christians.


Isn’t our ability to speak and to understand speech also a God-given ability? Is it odd then that we ask each other to pray for us on earth, using those God-given abilities?


Notice what Paul says in Corinthians, when talking of individuals who are part of the Body of Christ.

.” If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Are we still members of the Body of Christ when we are in Heaven? Yes, even more so than when we are living of this world, right?

So those who are of the Body of Christ are “in tune” with the joys and sufferings of all of the members. Doesn’t it make sense that they would pray with all their might for us?


If the Protestant is uneasy asking a Saint to pray for them, they should be equally uneasy asking the person sitting next to them in church to pray for them since…
“Isn’t their own personal prayer to God sufficient to get the job done, why does he need another person to help pray for himself?”


St Miscellaneous – patron saint of… a whole bunch of stuff. :smiley:

Hopefully not too many people have beaten me to this one. :slight_smile:


The question of ‘how’ falls within the domain of science. Ask your friends if they really want to engage a scientific enquiry on the nature of time, God, and perception. If they say yes, then hand them these links.


The Big Bang Theory
Philosophy: Null-A and the Catholic Church

If they can get through some of the thought-experiments – including the links – in there, then tell them they’re on and give them an invite to CAF. Remember, they can’t skip the linked articles in those threads. That’s the deal!

There are a dozen or so serious philosopher/apologists over here (not me) :nope: who can give them a ride on the CAF Membranemobile.


If they say ‘uncle’ and don’t want to explore the ‘how’ then explain to them ‘why’ we ask saints to intercede instead. God bless.


Forget about being beaten to, you better be worried about being beaten up…:smiley: for that one…:wave:


The Church is ONE body and is composed of saints in heaven (and Purgatory) and on earth. Like most other bodies, its various parts and members communicate with each other. Similarly, as one (Mystical) Body (of Christ), we can communicate with one another.

This is a very simple explanation of the Communion of Saints. If we are in communion with the Church, we are in communion with those in Heaven and Purgatory. It is therefore possible to speak to them, and to ask for their intercession. We may too, intercede on behalf of those who are in Purgatory by praying for them and by offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on their soul’s behalf.

Peace and all good,


This is an assumption that needs to be addressed. Why is omnipresence necessary for hearing a prayer? I don’t think it is.


Please forgive, I am just a simple sinner as the name implies, so not trusting my own best explinations, I thought I would post wide array of articles from different authors and sources.

I sometimes find that I can read 5 articles on something, and the sixth one I read can offer a clear argument that really resonates and clicks with me…

The last two are written by Jimmy Akin. I find his writing style VERY helpful.

Hope these help.

The Intercession of the Saints

Praying to the Saints

Saint Worship?

Do Catholics Worship Statues?


The Communion of Saints


Catholics Worship Statues??

Aren’t All Christians Saints?

Protestant Asks about the Communion of Saints

Dialogue on Objections to the Communion of Saints

Praying to Saints (Jimmy Akin)

Can the Saints Hear Our Prayers? (Jimmy Akin)


Protestant denominations are ok with asking one another to pray for them. As long as that person is still alive. We as Catholics believe the soul is eternal. God is God of the living. Our soul lives forever. It is just our body that dies. Just because my grandma died does not mean she stopped being my grandma. Likewise we believe the saints of the church who died in the name of Jesus are still family and still part of the Body of Christ even though their souls are separated from their bodies.


Paragraph 5. The Communion of Saints

Part Four
Christian Prayer



Matthew 18:19-20
19"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." I WONDER about this saying alot when people are sick and alot people pray for them.

That statement was being delivered to the Disciples, NO WHERE does it say that is can be transfered straight-up through time.


**And neither does it say that it cannot be transferred straight-up through time. **

Your comment is a strawman.

The Great Commission and other statements were said to the disciples, so by your logic I could say that nowhere does it say that the Great Commission can be transferred straight-up through time.

**Don’t you see your blunder? **


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