I just realized my site feed (with mysitefeed.com) is a mess... So, I'm going to try to make improvements. Those of you who read me via site feed, I'm sorry. Hopefully, I'll fix the issue. The changes will require you to subscribe again so keep an eye out for that possibility.
*EDIT* Stupid me... the fix was so obvious, I can't believe I ever tried to use mysitefeed.com in the first place. If you subscribed to my blog through mysitefeed.com, please resubscribe using the link here... Thanks!
Logan is a 13 year-old boy who lives on a ranch in a very small town in Nebraska. Logan listens to Christian Radio station 89.3FM KSBJ which broadcasts from Houston, TX. Logan called the radio station distraught because he had to take down a calf . His words have wisdom beyond his years.
I wish I had this kind of insight at the age of 13!
This post is in response to a comment made by Russell. His part is in quotes and mine is bold. If anyone else has something to add to the response for Russell, please feel free to comment.
“I'd just like to make a few comments on this particular post. First, I pretty much agree with you on the "One Mediator" point. But there is a difference between praying "for" someone and praying "to" them. We pray TO Jesus (and ONLY to Him / God) because of His role as Mediator in paying the full price for sin on our behalf. But nowhere in Scripture are we allowed to pray TO anyone else. It is not the same thing as praying FOR other people, e.g., for health, blessings, guidance, etc.”
When Catholics “pray to” Mary and the saints, we are asking them to pray FOR us… this is no different than you asking me to pray for you, except that it’s done mentally, instead of vocally because they are in heaven. Mary and the saints then pray TO Jesus FOR us, just as I would pray for you. We do not pray TO them as if they have the power to answer our prayers or in a sense of worshipping them. Again, we are merely asking them to pray (or intercede) for us. This IS in Scripture. (1 Tim 2:1-4) This might be better understood if we remove the word “pray” and the meaning you are applying to it. Catholics ASK Mary and the saints to pray for us. We are not praying in the sense of worship but praying in a historical meaning of the word, which is “to ask or beg”.
“Concerning those in Heaven, yes, they are very much alive. But the two passages you offered in Revelation simply tell us that the angels and elders "offered" the prayers of the saints to God. It never says that the prayers were first directed to the angels, or anyone else in Heaven.”
How can they offer our prayers if they don’t know what our prayers are? How do our prayers, not a physical item, get to them in order for them to be able to offer them? Do we not need to tell them what those prayers are first? Clearly, they must know of our prayers by mentally ask them to pray for us, since we cannot ask them vocally. I see no issue here. We are asking them to pray for us and those prayers are offered by them, indicating they must know what those prayers are… There is nothing in scripture that tells us we cannot ask those in heaven (also Christians) to pray for us. If we cannot ask them to pray for us, then we should not be asking each other either. But THAT would contradict Scripture.
“The verses you quoted in Psalms are not directing us to PRAY TO the angels, but are simply exhorting ALL (even the Heavenly hosts) to praise and exalt God, because He is worthy. You didn't mention the next verse (103:22), which encourages His "works" (not just living creatures) to also praise Him. Does that mean that we pray to all His "works" also? What about when PEOPLE are admonished to praise Him? Are we praying to THEM too?”
This again boils down to the meaning you are applying to “pray”. The angels are addressed and a request for joint praise is offered. But if we were not to address those in heaven at all, then this concept would not be tolerated. This is the point I was making with this passage. Catholics do the same when we address Mary or the saints… asking them to intercede TO God FOR us or maybe even just asking them to join us in praising God!
“It is perfectly fine to pray FOR someone here on earth. But we find no precedent in the Bible where anyone obediently prays to ANYONE ELSE but God.”
Again, Mary and the saints pray FOR us. No one is praying TO anyone else. We simply pass our intentions along to them “mentally” instead of vocally, which we call “praying” (to ask). Nothing in scripture speaks against this and nothing in scripture limits “praying for each other” to those on earth alone.
Furthermore, to deny the saints’ ability to fully act as members of the body of Christ (which includes praying for each other), or to deny that they are necessary, is to go against Scripture:
1 Corinthians 12:20-21 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"
Our view of the body of Christ is limited by our humanity on earth but once we are in heaven, we see the full picture. Why is it impossible to believe that the body of Christ that is in heaven wouldn’t have a full picture or understanding of the body of Christ? And, in having this full picture, that they would not be able to see or hear (solely by the power of God, of course) what is going on with the rest of the body here on earth? Can they say, “I do not need you”?
1 Corinthians 13:12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And then we see that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. Who is more righteous than those who are in heaven?
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
I hope this helps to shed some light on the Catholic position. Christians are called to pray for each other. Those in heaven are also Christians, a part of the body of Christ and just as “necessary” as the rest of the body. They are the most righteous, making their prayers powerful and effective. To ask them to pray FOR us is not only encouraged in Scripture, but is logically a very good idea! The passages in Revelation (5:8, 8:3-4) clearly show that those in heaven offer our prayers TO God on our behalf. To do this, they must first receive the prayers FROM us… “The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand.”.
Thanks for stopping by, Russell. It’s good to hear from you again.
I've started a mailing list for my website. If you'd like to be added, just fill out the form on the contact page and request it.
The newsletters will be varied and will not come at regular intervals at this time. They'll contain apologetic stuff, words of encouragement, updates, etc. and sometimes, they will be used to announce book contests, new rosaries for sale or specials.
I apologize that my writing has been nearly non-existent lately but the efforts we're making to help my sister raise money for her adoption costs, plus school, work, kids and Church, are all taking up a considerable amount of my energy. Even when I have the time to write, I simply don't have the brain power to do so!
God bless anyone who is keeping me and my family in their prayers! And, a thank you to anyone who has already purchased a rosary!
One of the most difficult challenges I face with family and friends since my conversion is dealing with the straw man attacks against my beliefs. There are few things more frustrating...
Recently, I was informed that there is "one mediator" between God and man. Of course, I absolutely believe this. It's straight from scripture. What I don't agree with is a very hard-lined, literal, out-of-context interpretation of this. Of course Christ is the one mediator. Only He, through his death, is able to reconcile us to God. And only He is fully God and fully man: the bridge between God and man.
But, we are all mediators in a smaller sense when we pray for one another. This role, in no way, diminishes Christ's role as the one mediator.
I think it's important, instead of taking ONE verse, to look at the entire passage in context:
1 Timothy 2:1-6 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.
Clearly we see that praying for others on their behalf is good and pleasing to God. It does not take away his role as the one mediator in any way.
If one is going to say that Christ is the only mediator and we should "pray only to Jesus", then one should also not ask others to pray for them... lest they be contradicting themselves. One must understand what it means for Christ to be the one mediator before they throw the argument on the table. Of course, we should also pray to Jesus but even Jesus himself encouraged us to pray for others (Matt. 5:44).
What follows this explanation is usually, "Well, those in heaven are dead. They can't hear us."
Is this true?
Revelation 5:8 says, "And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." (See also, Rev. 8:3-4)
Here we see 24 elders (humans) in heaven offering the prayers of the saints. In order for them to offer the prayers of the saints, they must know what these prayers are. Prayers are not physical elements and must be offered mentally.... And, on another note, those in heaven, are only dead in earthly body. Their souls remain alive in Christ. There is only ONE body of Christ (Ephesians 4:4) and those who pass on to heaven do not cease being a member of that body. In fact, they are perfectly united to Christ! They are made righteous and the prayers of the righteous are "powerful and effective" (James 5:16). Would God not permit those in heaven to pray for us when their prayers for others are pleasing, powerful and effective?
In addition to Rev 5:8, we see prayers to angels in Psalms 103...
20 Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
Clearly, the Bible directs us to pray to those in heaven through this passage and ones like it.
The bottom line is, we must take all of Scripture into account when we discern what a passage means. Christ as the one mediator does not mean that others cannot pray for us, including those in heaven. Scripture tells us that those in heaven can hear our prayers and that they offer them to God for us. This is part of the beauty of the Christian faith: that we are not disconnected from other parts of the body of Christ but that, through the power of God, they are able to intercede for us! This does not limit God's role but magnifies it! It is only by His awesome power that we are able to remain in communion with ALL the members of His Body. He IS, indeed, the One Mediator between God and man. This role is specifically what allows us to intercede for one another and for those in heaven to intercede for us!
Please note that it is the intent of the author to accurately present Church teaching. However, the author of this site does not claim or guarantee that everything posted within is perfectly in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Anything found contradictory to Church teaching should promptly be reported to the author via email so that corrections can be made.