Can we ask the saints/Mary to pray for us?

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By BibleAsk Team


The Roman Catholic Church teaches to ask the saints/Mary to pray for us

The official position of the Roman Catholic Church, which is that to ask the saints/Mary to pray for us, is no different than to ask someone here on earth to do that. However, the practice of many Catholics show that they do in fact pray directly to saints and/or Mary, asking them for help as seen in the following passages:

The Liturgy of St. Basil said: “By the command of your only-begotten Son we communicate with the memory of your saints . . . by whose prayers and supplications have mercy upon us all, and deliver us for the sake of your holy name” (Liturgy of St. Basil [A.D. 373]).

John Chrysostom said, “He that wears the purple [i.e., a royal man] . . . stands begging of the saints to be his patrons with God, and he that wears a diadem begs the tentmaker [Paul] and the fisherman [Peter] as patrons, even though they be dead” (Homilies on Second Corinthians 26 [A.D. 392]).

Augustine said, “At the Lord’s table we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps” (Homilies on John 84 [A.D. 416]).

Pope Leo I said, “Let us rejoice, then, dearly beloved, with spiritual joy, and make our boast over the happy end of this illustrious man in the Lord [the martyr Laurentius] . . . By his prayer and intercession we trust at all times to be assisted . . .”  (Sermons 85:4 [A.D. 450]).

What Does the Bible Teach?

The practice of asking the saints/Mary to pray for us has no biblical basis. The Bible declares, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (First Timothy 2:5). There is no one but Jesus that can mediate between God and man.

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 the believers need the dead saints to intercede for them?

The Holy Spirit also does intercede for us. “but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26-27). Now, with the 2nd and 3rd persons of the Godhead already interceding for the believers before the Father in heaven, where would mere human intercession amount to?

Further, the Bible teaches that after death a person: returns to dust (Psalms 104:29), knows nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5), possesses no mental powers (Psalms 146:4), has nothing to do with anything on earth (Ecclesiastes 9:6), does not live (2 Kings 20:1), waits in the grave (Job 17:13), and continues not till the Resurrection Day (Job 14:1, 2). For more on the state of the dead, check the following link: 

So, if the dead saints are in a state of unconsciousness waiting to be awakened at the Resurrection, how can the believers contact them for help?

In fact, whenever the Bible mentions praying to or speaking with the dead, it is in the context of sorcery, witchcraft, necromancy, and divination—activities the Bible strongly condemns and forbids (Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:10-13).

The Word of God exhorts the believers to go directly to the throne of God for help “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Those, who make it a habit to go daily to the throne of grace for a fresh supply of God’s mercy and grace will enter into the “rest” that the He has provided for His people.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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