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Praying to the Saints

michael_legna's picture

In another thread a poster presented some arguments against this practice and rather than derail that thread I have decided to respond to the poster here where we can continue it freely.

DannyG said -
Why would anyone settle for less when the Father has clearly provided His very best, His Most Precious Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Who says we are settling for less by asking others to pray for us? Do you think this having others pray for us in some way prevents Christ from acting on our behalf? That it in someway prevents Christ from also interceding for us? Because if you do then you will be hard pressed to offer a reasonable interpretation for all the places in scripture where we are told to pray for each other because this would be just as preventative.

DannyG said –
And for those who mistakenly continue to do so when no where in Scripture are we instructed to do so, least of all by the Master Himself, is evidence that 1 Cor.2:14 & Rom.8:5-7 apply in this case.

Lets take a look at these two verses you reference:

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Rom 8:5-7 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

You seem to want to imply that you are the judge of what things are of the Spirit of God and which are not since you apply this verse to those who disagree with your interpretation of scripture. I think you take too much upon yourself.

As to only doing those things which we are instructed to do perhaps you could tell me if you are married or plan to get married by a minister of any sort, or if you pray to Jesus or the Holy Spirit? If so can you show me in scripture where we are told to do these? I ask because I know there is “no where in Scripture are we instructed to do so, least of all by the Master Himself”.

DannyG said –
The Bible nowhere instructs believers in Christ to pray to anyone other than God.

It does instruct believers in Christ to ask others to pray for us. And since the thin line between life in our mortal bodies and spiritual life with God in heaven is nothing to God, we consider those who have gone before us to still be part of the Church. They are the Church Triumphant, just as we are the Church Militant, and any member of the Church can pray for any other.

DannyG said -
The Bible nowhere encourages, or even mentions, believers asking individuals in Heaven for their prayers.

It appears you do not know scripture as well as you claim because does indeed mention people speaking to Saints in heaven, and asking them to even intercede for them. I am thinking of course of Luke 16:22-28 where Lazarus is in heaven and the rich man is in hell yet they communicate and the rich man asks Lazarus to intercede in his behalf. How is this even possible in your view of all this?

And this is not the only place where the Saints and Angels in heaven are shown to act in relationship to the prayers of those on earth. Such as the following:

Rev 8:3-4 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.

DannyG said -
Why, then, do many Catholic pray to Mary and/or the saints, or request their prayers? Catholics view Mary and saints as "intercessors" before God. They believe that a saint, who is glorified in Heaven, has more "direct access" to God than we do. Therefore, if a saint delivers a prayer to God, it is more effective than us praying to God directly.

It is not a more direct access, but it is a more effective access – just as scripture teaches because the prayer of a righteous man availeth much. This clearly implies that the prayers of someone less righteous will avail less, or be less likely to avail anything.

DannyG said -
This concept is blatantly unbiblical. Hebrews 4:16 tells us that we, believers here on earth, can "...approach the throne of grace with confidence..."

Of course I just showed this is not an unbiblical idea because it is based on scripture. But I will address your misuse of the verse you think supports your claim. Being able to approach the throne of grace with confidence means that we can be assured of mercy and understanding (because Christ also suffered temptation as we did). This boldness or confidence does not mean that our prayers will be as acceptable as a righteous man – unless you want to claim that Heb 4:16 contradicts James 5:16.

DannyG said –
1 Timothy 2:5 declares, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." There is no one else that can mediate with God for us. If Jesus is the ONLY mediator, that indicates Mary and saints cannot be mediators. They cannot mediate our prayer requests to God.

You misunderstand what mediation means. It does not mean that no one else can ask anything else for us, or join us in prayer for our petitions, otherwise everywhere scripture encourages us to pray for each other it would be contradicting your interpretation of this one verse in isolation. Clearly that cannot be – so we are left to conclude that your interpretation of the meaning of mediation is what is mistaken here.

DannyG said -
Further, the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ Himself is interceding for us before the Father, "Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them" (Hebrews 7:25). With Jesus Himself interceding for us, why would we need Mary or the saints to intercede for us? Who would God listen to more closely than His Son? Romans 8:26-27 describes the Holy Spirit interceding for us. With the 2nd and 3rd members of the Trinity already interceding for us before the Father in Heaven, what possible need could there be to have Mary or the saints interceding for us?

Why wouldn’t we want everyone we could get interceding for us to do so? Do you think other Christians who pray for us are not interceding for us? Or do you think this intercession is wrong – even though we are told to do so in scripture? When others intercede for us by praying for our petitions along with us they in no way prevent or make less effective the intercession of Christ. If anything they only add to it.

DannyG said –
Catholics argue that praying to Mary and the saints is no different than asking someone here on earth to pray for you. Let us examine that claim. (1) The Apostle Paul asks other Christians to pray for him in Ephesians 6:19. Many Scriptures describe believers praying for one another (2 Corinthians 1:11; Ephesians 1:16; Philippians 1:19; 2 Timothy 1:3). The Bible nowhere mentions anyone asking for someone in Heaven to pray for them.

I have already shown you that scripture does indeed ask that and more in the example of the rich man and Lazarus.

DannyG said -
The Bible nowhere describes anyone in Heaven praying for anyone on earth.

Yes it does, as that is symbolically represented in the active participation of even the angels presenting the prayers of those on earth to God on His throne. Or do you think this form of intercession doesn’t exist either and is in some way spoken against in Heb 7:25? Once again you end up with scripture contradicting scripture if we accept your interpretations. Clearly your interpretations just don’t work.

DannyG said -
(2) The Bible gives absolutely no indication that Mary or the saints can hear our prayers. Mary and the saints are not omniscient. Even glorified in Heaven, they are still finite beings with limitations. How could they possibly hear the prayers of millions of people?

They are what ever God wants them to be. They are capable of doing anything God wants them to do. They are vessels of gold and silver, vessels of honor meet for the masters use, prepared for every good work, as described in 2 Tim 2:20-21.

DannyG said -
Whenever the Bible mentions praying to or speaking with the dead, it is in the context of sorcery, witchcraft, necromancy, and divination

Once again you are wrong. Besides the example of the rich man and Lazarus (which is not sorcery) we have the case of the Transfiguration where Moses and Elijah spoke with Jesus and which the Apostles witnessed – again no sorcery or divination.

DannyG said –
God does not answer prayers based on who is praying. God answers prayers based on whether they are asked according to His will (1 John 5:14-15).

That is clearly unbiblical since I have already shown from scripture that the prayers of a righteous man avail more than those of someone less righteous.

DannyG said –
Roman Catholics attempt to "bypass" these clear Scriptural principles by claiming they do not “worship” Mary or saints, but rather that they only "venerate" Mary and the saints. Using a different word does not change the essence of what is being done.

You are correct changing the word alone does not change the essence of what is being done. But then you are not equipped or qualified to judge the essence of what is being done, since worship is an interior attitude and is not determined by the mere outward acts. The outward act does not determine the meaning of our intent, only the intent determines the intent. For instance I can refer to a judge as your honor and never intend the worship I do when I use the term to refer to God, or I can kneel to be knighted and not intend the same thing I intend when I am kneeling in prayer to God. Since you cannot see into anyone’s heart you cannot judge what is worship and what is not by simply viewing outward appearances. Doing so is to as James said be partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts; and not make a righteous judgment.

DannyG said –
When forced to admit that they do, in fact, worship Mary, Catholics will claim that they worship God through her, by praising the wonderful creation that God has made. Mary, in their minds, is the most beautiful and wonderful creation of God, and by praising her, they are praising her Creator.

You should stick to presenting your own position, because when you try to present the case for those you are attacking you slip into building strawmen, intentionally weaker versions of their arguments so you can more easily knock them down and this is a dishonest form of argument. That is what you do hear because by claim this instance (of Catholics being force to admit they do in fact worship…) never happens. It is merely a figment of your imagination, and so the response of these imaginary Catholics you have invented also never happens, and yet you build this entire fake scenario just so you have something easy to attack, so as to make your position seem artificially stronger. But anyone can see right through this ploy, so it only ends up hurting your position.

DannyG said -
Yes, Mary was a godly woman, but assuredly not, as they adoringly call her the “Mother of God”

So now you deny Jesus is God? Is not Mary the mother of Jesus? Is not Jesus God? Therefore Mary is the mother of God – just as Elizabeth calls her:

Luk 1:43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Or do you deny that the term Lord here is representative of Jesus being God?

DannyG said -
Prayer is an act of worship.

Worship is not determined by mere acts, it is determined by internal intents – something you are incapable of judging.

We know this because Paul knew that eating of food offered to idols was an act of worship toward those idols, but yet he told us that we could do even that as long as our understanding was correct. It is the intent behind the act that is what makes the act worship or not, and you cannot judge that intent.

DannyG said –
Another way Catholics "venerate" Mary and the saints is by creating statues and images of them. Many Catholics use images of Mary and/or the saints as "good luck charms."

Once again you resort to strawman attacks and all it does it make your position appear dishonest and desperate. Catholics do not use images as good luck charm, they are used as aid to focus our veneration and worship. In this way they are no different that the angels on the mercy seat, or the engravings of oxen and other creatures on the Temple.

DannyG said -
Any cursory reading of the Bible will reveal this practice as blatant idolatry (Exodus 20:4-6; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 1 John 5:21).

There is your problem, you rely on a cursory reading of scripture and interpret verses in isolation instead of interpreting scriptures together as whole so as to let scripture interpret scripture.

If you look at scripture as whole you will see that images are not always spoken against, only when they are viewed for worship, which the images in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches are not.

DannyG said -
Rubbing rosary beads is idolatry. Lighting candles before a statue or portrayal of a saint is idolatry. Burying a Joseph statue in hopes of selling your home (and countless other Catholic practices) is idolatry.

Now you are just ranting – throwing out claims with no supporting arguments. But I also need to point out that the last issue you bring up (of burying a statue of St Joseph) is denounced by the Catholic Church and those who do so are in conflict with the teachings of the Church so your argument is once again directed against a strawman instead of the true position of the Church – which you apparently are unfamiliar with and so have pre-judged.

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