What are the spiritual benefits of praying to the saints and Mary?

I am a protestant who was taught to pray to God our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ. For example, when praying for wisdom, physical healing, my wife or other loved one, a friend, for help with a problem at work, – you name it – I pray to God in the name of Jesus our Lord and Savior for His intercession.

That is how I was born and raised to pray. It is a simple concept and is easy for me to grasp in my mind and spirit.

At times, I will also ask my brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for me, if the request is not too personal or confidential.

The other day I turned on EWTN and heard Mother Angelica, whom I admire as a godly woman who is full of wisdom and common sense, praying to St Michael.

It got me wondering as to why Catholics so freely are able to pray to saints and Mary. I am not condemning this practice or looking down on it in any way because I realize there is a God and I’m not Him :slight_smile: and I realize there is additional wisdom that I may not have come across in my life.

I just want to better understand the reasons behind the practice because it is totally foreign to me and makes me feel (at first impression) like I am end-arounding God by not going to Him directly and that it is adding complexity to the whole equation by praying to others in heaven.

Question 1:: *What does praying to saints and to Mary accomplish in your life that praying to God directly through Christ can’t accomplish? *

**Question 2: ***What I am missing out on for not doing so? *

Thanks in advance for your insights. :tiphat:

Praying to the Saints is getting a lot of people on your team. A lot of righteous people who will fervently pray for you even when you don’t! James 5 says the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. I believe the main reason is that they will actually pray fervently instead of just giving lip service.

Similarly if you faced a crisis you might ask your pastor to pray for you rather than your coworker acquaintance, the reason being confidence in the pastor to pray for you.

This was something I accepted but was not comfortable with because like you, It was foreign to me.

But last year for lent I really wanted to overcome a habitual sin I had struggled with for many many years. I prayed the rosary everyday and asked the blessed mother to pray for me. I also prayed the litany of saints asking them to pray that my burden be lifted.

It was

And I can only say from my perspective it was a pure miracle.

1 Like

For us, its not a matter of Christ not accomplishing something - Christ accomplishes everything, even through the Saints and Mary. Praying with the Saints are like recognizing the entire family, just because you can talk to your dad doesn’t mean you don’t talk to the rest of your family. Just because you know your dad will allow you to go somewhere doesn’t mean you might not ask your mom something, or mention it to your brother.

**Question 2: ***What I am missing out on for not doing so? *

For one, you miss out on the rest of the family. They exist, they are a major part of the Church community. Why would you talk to your pastor - for example - and not your fellow parishioners? Would you not speak to the deacon, or the music minister because you can go directly to the pastor to accomplish something?

You ever ask someone to pray with you? Jesus said whenver 2 people are gathered in his name, he is among them. I believe in Heaven and when I pray with the Saints, I’m simply praying to God with others… They just happen to be in Heaven

Also viewing this video helped me a lot to gain respect and understanding for praying to saints.

To see the humility and the communion of saints coming together is very moving.


Thanks for the reply, Jon S. I am happy to hear of the breakthrough you encountered through doing that. Can you elaborate on what *praying the litany of saints * is? Is that like doing a repetitive prayer (like the Rosary) but to the saints? I am not familiar with this. Sorry for my lack of familiarity.

An example of the litany of the saints is the video I posted in my other link.

God Bless!

Hi SyroMalankara;,
I think I follow you for the most part. Your analogies help, although I sometimes view it like this:

*If God knows my every thought and need and the Bible says we can boldly approach the throne of grace in His name, praying for intercession from a saint comes across to me like a child who is afraid of his father so he asks his mother, brother, or Uncle Joe to go his father in place of doing so himself because of an implied doubt that his father might not have the time or desire to listen to him. *

I realize this may be wrong thinking on my part but sometimes I think this, probably based on my religious upbringing.

Ok, thanks. I’ll view it. Much appreciated.

This only could be the case if Catholics didn’t do both. What if you went to your Father, and then asked your close friends to pray for you too, isn’t that the same thing? Now realizing your closest friends are the Saints in heaven who are not distracted by anything in this world, but are constantly, fervently praying before the throne of God for you.

Thanks for sharing that, Jon S. The singing of the litany of the saints was absolutely beautiful. I recognized some of the names of the saints but not all.

What was the congregational response saying? Was it “Pray for Me?”. It was a little muffled to me but that’s kind of like what it sounded like.

That was profound. I really liked it and it touched my heart and spirit.

That analogy I can better understand and relate to, SyroMalankara. Thanks for sharing.

Yes it is “pray for us”

I love it and it is THE saint prayer of the church.

Note how it starts by going to Jesus, then asks the saints to join us then finishes with the petitions being asked to God.

The only thing asked of the saints is “pray for us”

Everything else is asked of Jesus.

Thanks. Things are coming into better focus now. Much appreciated, sir. :tiphat:

I think they key is to realize that Catholics are not replacing Christ with the saints and Mary like I originally thought was taking place, but actually asking for them to pray *along with us * to God if I understand correctly. That makes more sense to me if that is the case.

Good answer… Tommy 999 actually answered his own question when he said : “At times, I will also ask my brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for me, if the request is not too personal or confidential.”

When asking the saints & Blessed Mother, we can ask for anything, personal or not!

Tommy, one thing to remember is that no matter how much God loves us, He loves certain people more. That may seem incomprehensible. How can God love one person more than another? Well, we see all the way through the bible that God definitely favors some people. He favored Abel over Cain:

Abel also offered of the firstlings of his flock, and of their fat: and the Lord had respect to Abel, and to his offerings. But to Cain and his offerings he had no respect.

He favored David over Saul:

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

Mary found favor with the Lord. (Boy, did she ever!). Her soul “magnifies the Lord”. All generations shall call her “blessed”. Even the angel greeted her with Hail!, like a queen.

John was the “disciple that Jesus loved” (What? He didn’t love the others? Maybe, maybe not, but He loved John the most). Peter was favored over the other apostles, being given a change of name and the keys to the kingdom of heaven.

The best example of God favoring one person over another is Job:

After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; **and my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you **according to your folly; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has done.”

Certain people have an extraordinarily close relationship with the Lord, and those are the people you want in your corner, praying for you. “The prayers of a righteous man availeth much”. The saints are those “righteous men”. As you can see from the above quote from the Book of Job, sometimes God simply does not want to hear your prayers, but He will listen, and grant your requests, if someone He favors prays on your behalf.

When I first re-converted to the Catholic Church, I had real trouble asking saints to help me, and I avoided doing so for a long time. But after I studied the saint’s lives, and became aware of all the graces that flow through saints to us, I started seeing them with different eyes. I started looking at them as friends. Friends in high places! :smiley: You can never have too many friends. If the saints are ready, willing and able to help us on our journey, it’s really foolish to turn down their helping hands. So when we ask saints for their intercession, we are really acknowledging the God Who made the saints what they are. The saints always point us toward God, in this life and in the next.

The issue is that not all people in positions of authority in the Catholic Church teach this. For example, the pastor at my local Catholic Church recently said during his homily that you can not go directly to God and you must instead go to Mary. He also put the same in the bulletin… it was baffling. More troubling is that this was not an isolated incident concerning one rogue priest… there are many priests and lay people that teach this same thing as though it was a bonafide teaching of the Church. That is where the confusion comes in.

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.