One may point to 1 Timothy 2:5 as a proof text against anyone praying to Saints in heaven in order for them to pray for us on earth. After all, it does say:
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”.
Doesn’t it say as clear as day here, that no one can get in-between man and God, and by praying to saints, are Catholics violating what it so clearly teaches here? Well, in the first place commons sense tells us that if the Catholic position violates it, so does the Protestant practice of praying for others. After all, Protestants as much as Catholics always intervene by praying not only for themselves, but other people, all the time. When one asks them to pray for them, Do they say to one another “How dare you pray for one another all, there is only one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ!!!” No, Protestants as well as Catholics intercede for others all the time, and it is especially urged in the Bible. When Catholics pray to Saints, they are only asking them to pray for them. Even the immediate context of 1 Timothy 2 shows the need for Christians to pray for others, exactly as Catholicism teaches. Let us look at the immediately preceding verses of 1 Tim. 2:
1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men,
2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.
3This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
5For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
So in the immediate context Paul urges people to pray for others. It is good and pleasing to God that people intercede on the behalf of others. So obviously this text does not mean people should not be able to intercede for others. When we pray to Saints, we are only asking them to pray for us. Next, can Saints pray for us in heaven? What does the bible say?
Are there any witnesses in heaven of us? Paul tells us:
Hebrews 12:1 - Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great
A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
Do we come only to God or do we also come to the assembly of Saints in heaven as well?
Hebrews 12:22 But YE ARE COME UNTO mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 12:23 To the general assembly and CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, AND TO THE SPIRITS OF JUST MEN MADE PERFECT, 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.
Paul says yes.
He says we come directly not only to God, but to an assembly of Saints in heaven (The just men made perfect) exactly in the context of Jesus being the mediator!. Are we supposed to ignore them? The Bible says no!! Jesus is indeed the one and unique mediator. However, it is indeed him as a mediator, that makes all other mediation possible.
After all, Jesus is the supreme judge (John 5:27, 9:39; Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:1), yet Christians are called to share in Christ’s judgeship. They will be judges in heaven, even judging the angels (Mt. 19:28; Luke 22:30; 1 Cor. 6:2-3). Jesus is the king of the universe (Mk. 15:32; 1 Tim. 1:17, 6:15, Rev. 15:3, 17:14, 19:16), but he shares his kingship with all Christians, who in heaven will wear crowns, sit on thrones, and reign as kings alongside Jesus (Rev. 4:4, 10) – but will always be subordinate to him. Notice the promises that God makes (Rev. 3:21):
I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne.
Jesus is the one and only shepherd of the flock the Chruch (John 10:16), yet in a subordinate way he shares his shepherdhood in a subordinate way with others, beginning with Peter (John 21:15-17) and extends it later to others (Eph. 4:11).Pat Madrid, Any Friend of God is a Friend of Mine , Basilica Press, 1996, pages 58, 59.
Thus, in the same way that Christ is unique and the source of all these things, he still uses people to in a subordinate way to share in his work.
Do the saints pray in heaven? The book of Revelation tells us:
Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the PRAYERS OF SAINTS.
Revelation 8:3 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.
Obviously they do pray, and as we saw in Hebrews we come to these saints, who we see intercede for us.
Is there more evidence that the Saints are aware of what is going on at earth, and do they ask for justice?:
Revelation 6:9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
Revelation 18:18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What [city is] like unto this great city! 18:19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. 18:20 Rejoice over her, [thou] heaven, and [ye] holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
So we have further evidence that the Saints in heaven are aware of what is going on in earth, and they specifically pray for things that go on in earth. We must remember that Saints in heaven are not bound by time and space as we are. In eternity, 1 John 3:2 tells us:
Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
There is only one body, the Church. The church is not one church in heaven as opposed to one church on earth. The one church is intimately connected with each other (remember the image of the vine and the branches in John 15). And those in heaven are just men made perfect. As the body is called to love each other, are the saints in heaven, even though they are aware of what is going on in earth, according to scripture just given, careless as to what is going on in the lives of those on earth? Of course not!!! Christ calls perfected people to love the rest of the body. I can be confident that they will intercede for those on earth. What does it profit? James explains:
James 5:16 “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Those in heaven are perfectly righteous, and their prayers are efficacious. How can one ignore them?
Why can’t I just say, I don’t need those Saints in heaven to pray for us, I can go directly to God. (BTW, Catholics also do pray directly to God.) Why can’t I say I really don’t need the rest of the Church? What does Paul say?
1 Cor. 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many. 12:15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
12:16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 12:17 If the whole body [were] an eye, where [were] the hearing? If the whole [were] hearing, where [were] the smelling? 12:18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 12:19 And if they were all one member, where [were] the body? 12:20 But now [are they] many members, yet but one body. 12:21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
As an eye, I cannot say to the hand, I do not need you. However, those who are against praying to the saints, do exactly that by neglecting the rest of the body of Christ.
For a more in-depth discussion of the issue of praying to Saints, I suggest you get the book, “Any Friend of God’s is a Friend of Mine,” by Pat Madrid, which can be purchased at at a great price here: Click here.
© 1998 Why Do Catholics Pray to Saints?...by Matt1618. This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author.
Last modified September 3, 1998.