or anyone other than God, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit? I tried to search for a thread on this, so if you want to redirect me, thanks.
St. Paul tells us that we are one body in Christ, not divided by time or death–he referred to those who have gone before us as a “great cloud of witnesses.” Revelation tells us that the saints pray for those still on earth. Jesus told us the dead are not dead but living. All these factor into what the Church calls the Communion of Saints.
Those in heaven are the Church Triumphant. Like Moses and Elijah, who spoke with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration, they know what is happening here and they pray for us. Since they are perfected in love they will only what God’s wills. When we ask them to pray for us, we are asking them to pray in that perfection–to rid our prayers of all selfish motives and to be in line with God in our petitions.
When you ask someone here to pray for you, why do you do it? You can go directly to God. But you do it because you know their prayers will be effective and that God wishes us to pray for one another. That doesn’t end when we die, rather, those in heaven are perfectly in tune with God, even more so that the greatest prayer warriors on earth. Why shouldn’t we take advantage of their prayers–their loving concern for us still fighting the good fight?
Talking to the saints is 100% optional.
Praying to saints is not required as the last poster wrote, but it can bring about a wonderful good. Many miracles have occurred with the intercession of saints. Think of the saints as your prayer friends, many saints are known for something they were dedicated to on earth. Saint Gianna Beretta Mola is the saint for pediatricians and pregnant women or those trying to get pregnant for example. Praying to saints is not the same thing as worshiping them. Worship is reserved for God alone. God bless you on your journey.
One reason comes from James 5:16 –
" … The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. "
Who among us is truly righteous? The saints in heaven and especially the Mother of Jesus!
If I am going to ask anyone to intercede on my behalf, be it for myself, someone else or a cause, there is no one better suited to ask then the citizens of heaven who already see Our Lord face to face.
As a Catholic I look upon saints as my friends. They are my role models. I ask my friends in Heaven to pray for me exactly as I ask my friends on Earth to pray for me. By asking my friends here on Earth to pray for me, to console me, to help me think through my problems does not mean that I am worshiping them nor am I placing them above or equal to God. It is the same with the saints in Heaven. Because I ask the same of them as I do my dear friends on Earth does not mean that I am worshiping them or placing them equal to God.
I believe that God has given us these friends and wants them to be part of our lives just as He wants us to be part of His Church here on Earth.
Friendship, love and fellowship with the Church Triumphant is a special gift God is given to all of us. Catholics are especially fortunate that we are aware of this gift.
Is it Ok to ask the living to pray for us?
Praying to the saints is equivalent to talking to them. We should pray to them and ask them to intercede for us for the same reason we should ask our friends to do the same.
We don’t ask the saints for salvation, we ask them for spiritual help. Salvation is from God alone, through Christ alone.
I’m surprised to hear this. Doesn’t the Mass (or other services) include prayers to the saints? Our Orthodox ones certainly do.
However, I was referring to private devotions. My apologies for not being clearer on this point.
As Roman Catholics we worship Jesus the Christ, present, body, blood, soul and divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. See the Gospel of John 6:53, NAB Rev. If your church doesn’t believe this, then you can only worship through lesser forms such as prayer. If you ask your mother to pray for you, are you worshipping your mother? Such are we asking the saints to intercede for us. We only worship God.
Lot’s of good answers already.
As mentioned, private prayer to the saints is totally optional. If one is uncomfortable with it…don’t do it. No sweat.
We are truly blessed to have so great an intercessor in Christ Jesus our Lord and we should never neglect our prayers to the Father through the name of Jesus.
But you asked “Why should we pray to the saints…”. There can be lots of reasons for asking for a saint’s help or intercession.
One might feel unworthy to pray directly to God…
Or one might have some special intention and there a many “patron saints” who are considered to be good models or intercessors in those areas.
Or one might identify closely with a given saint based on that saint’s life or teaching.
We see prayer to the saints to be no different than talking to another Christian and asking them for their prayers or help. Additionally, in each of these cases, the saint provides a help to the pilgrim Christian here on earth to focus their thoughts and prayers.
While personally I do not generally pray to the saints, I see many benefits in such a practice and see this as a great gift from our Lord.
Don’t you ask your family members to pray for you or you for them? Aren’t you a living family member of Mystical Body of Christ? Aren’t saints who have fallen asleep living family members of the Mystical Body of Christ and in close contact with Him in heaven? That’s what communion of saints mean in the Apostle’s Creed which I believe you do profess.
I can think of two practical reasons why we should prayerfully requesting the Christian intercession of the saints in heaven: (1) because the prayer of a righteous man is especially efficacious and the saints in heaven are perfectly righteous (James 5:16; Hebrews 12:23); (2) because communal prayer is especially efficacious (Matthew 18:19) and the saints are always near (Hebrews 12:18).
Prayerfully requesting the Christian intercession of the saints in heaven also tends to strengthen the bond of love among the members of the body of Christ. Remember, the saints in heaven are members of the body of Christ with us. How can you say you don’t need them? That’s certainly not the attitude St. Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.
This has been on my mind more and more as time goes by.
I’ve now been a Catholic for 19 years (as of this May). The communion of the saints is something I accepted long before converting, but even though I do pray to St. Joseph and St. André I do not rely on the intersession of they saints as much as I feel that I should.
We have a wonderful heavenly family! I want to know my family better.
I frequently ask people to pray for me, to keep me in their prayers.
I dont care if they are still pilgrims here in this life or have passed on.
I dont understand why people think we shouldnt continue to ask for others to pray for us even though they have passed on.
I find it illogical. Why shouldnt we? They still love us, still care of us. Why shouldnt they pray for us???
There were two things I was missing as a protestant in the Apostolic Creed.
I believe in the Holy Spirit (not that one)
the Holy Catholic Church (that one)
the Communion of Saints (that one)
the forgiveness of sins (not that one)
The order is important, it is not a random order, each statement is dependent on the previous one.
I’ve found that most people who ask this don’t understand the English word “pray” and have not done any scholarship to find out. The best way to understand this is to get some literature from the period in which the word first appeared. This would be the Olde English of the 13th to 15th centuries.
Here is some information to help inform you as to the meaning of the word.
Origin of PRAY
Middle English, from Anglo-French prier, praer, preier, from Latin precari, from prec-, prex request, prayer;
Full Definition of PRAY
: entreat, implore —often used as a function word in introducing a question, request, or plea
: to make a request in a humble manner
So, for example, in the States of New York or Pennsylvania, a petition for intercession of the court on a plaintiff’s behalf the plea will contain language like “We pray the court”.
So, IOW, to pray is to ask. If you ask your pastor or the congregation to pray for your sick parent, you are praying to them for intercessory prayer. This is the same as asking those who are now most closely united to Christ, those in the Body of Christ in heaven, to join you in praying to God for you.
I think you’ll find that a very little bit of research will often clear up your misperceptions.
I hope this helps you understand now.
May God guide you on your continued Faith journey.
Thanks for your answers. I get it and it now and appreciate your thoughtfulness in your responses. God bless.
Question… Who made the so called saints, Saints? Was it God or man? If it was man who did , then by what authority did he have? How do you know if a particular person , who died, is in Heaven???