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Why pray to the dead?

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by Battle-Scarred, Apr 26, 2002.

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  1. Battle-Scarred

    Battle-Scarred New Member

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    Why do Catholics pray to the dead?

    I'm not bashing Catholicism. This is a subject that I truly don't understand, and that I would like to learn more about. I've done a lot of research on the topic, and haven't seen any biblical evidence for praying to Mary or the Saints.

    in Christ,

    Kris
     
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  2. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +39
    Catholic
    Hi Kris,

    I'm not Catholic but I'll share why they do it. Actually they don't pray TO the dead. They ask saints in heaven to pray for us (to intercede for us). There's a BIG difference between praying TO and asking saints.

    Anyway, as for intercession of the saints I'll have to explain about 'family' first.

    Heb 12:1 say that we're surrounded by a cloud of witnesses (Heb chapter 11 talks about those witnesses). I used to think of this passage as referring to the fact that we know of these people as having been faithful, so we can have faith like them. But now I take the passage literally meaning that these witnesses are among us. Why? Read on =)

    Heb 12:22-24 says that believers have come upon the heavenly Jerusalem, "to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN, WHOSE NAMES ARE WRITTEN IN HEAVEN. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the SPIRITS OF RIGHTEOUS MEN MADE PERFECT". Did you catch that? We're among other brethren in spirit! So the fact is that the church is a "family in heaven AND earth" (Eph 3:15) as "one body" in Christ (Eph 3:6).

    Many will say that asking saints to pray for us is ancestral worship. But scripture clearly says, "He is not the God of the dead, but of the LIVING, for to him ALL are alive." (Luke 20:38). In other words all who are in Christ are living! This gives legit reasoning for me to believe that asking saints to intercede for us is fine, since we're among many believers (Heb 12:22-24). Even Jesus intecedes for us (Rom 8:24, Heb 7:25). By the way, the Holy Spirit does it too!! (Romans 8:26-27) :) So if ALL the saints are praying (Revelation 8:3), and if they're in heaven, where they do not need to worry about things, then we can safely conclude that maybe they're interceding for us that God's will be done on earth as it is heaven (Matthew 6:10) =)

    And if we are "one body" (Eph 3:6) on "earth and heaven" (Eph 3:15), then why wouldn't it be wrong to ask saints to join in on our prayers? Technically, you can have a MASSIVE prayer meeting with countless number of saints (like everyone in Matthew chapter 1), since ALL of us live in Christ (Luke 20:38). If anything they're probably more 'alive' than we are! LOL! =)

    I don't know if you'd agree with that but it makes sense to me.

    God bless!

    -Jason
     
  3. jukesk9

    jukesk9 Dixie Whistlin' Papist

    +82
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    We don't pray to the dead. Contact with the dead is forbidden by the Bible. We do, however, ask those united with Christ in Heaven for their prayers for us. We believe in what is called the Communion of Saints. Part of this doctrine is derived from St. Paul's teachings about the Body of Christ and how we are all members of it. When one part of the body is honored, the rest rejoices. When one part suffers, the rest suffers. St. Paul also teaches us to pray for each other and explains how powerful the prayer of a righteous person is. How powerful a prayer from someone in Heaven must be for they indeed are righteous, having obtained eternal life.

    We also believe, from Romans, that nothing separates us from Christ. Nothing, not even death. So those that have gone before us that have achieved salvation are alive in Christ. We learn from Revelations that the elders received bowls full of prayers from the faithful on earth and delivered them to the Throne. So, indeed, those in Heaven can hear our prayers. We're taught from the Bible that Angels rejoice at a sinner's inward repentance! We're also taughtfrom the Bible that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. Those witnesses include Moses and others that have gone before us.

    You may disagree with the Church's interpretation of Scripture. But the Church derives the practice of the intercession of the saints FROM Scripture. We don't believe that a Saint or Mary (who is a saint) can do anything for us OTHER than pray for us. Take a look at several prayers that are composed to the saints. The majority end with "pray for us." The most famous of them all possibly, is the Hail Mary. It ends with "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

    How can Mary hear thousands of prayers said at once? Well, Heaven has no concept of space nor time. Again from Revelations we see the elders receiving several prayers at once. Mary couldn't hear these prayers herself. God allows her to. It is by the power of God that these saints hear and pray for us.

    Well doesn't that take away from Christ being the one mediator? No. He still is. He still mediates these prayers. Who is Mary praying to for us? Jesus. Remember from the Bible we are taught to pray through Jesus. We are. If you ask me to pray for you, whom am I going to pray to? God, through Jesus. For example, "Lord I pray that Battle Scarred understands the Communion of Saints and I pray that we welcome this new cyber-brother with open posts! In Jesus name, Amen."
     
  4. Battle-Scarred

    Battle-Scarred New Member

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  5. MissytheButterfly

    MissytheButterfly Back and Better than EVER!

    +5
    I have a question: Why do Catholics feel they need someone other than Jesus to intercede for them ?
     
  6. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

    +1,762
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    Why do Protestants ask their friends and family to pray for them?

    Whatever your answer is, there's your answer. :)
     
  7. ZooMom

    ZooMom Thanks for the memories...

    +983
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    Bingo. :)
     
  8. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +39
    Catholic
    Amen =)

    I know this is a bit out of context, but it's relevant:

    And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:18)

    God bless!

    -Jason
     
  9. MissytheButterfly

    MissytheButterfly Back and Better than EVER!

    +5
    I asked the question seriously..And I seriously doubt it's for the same reason. I wanted actual documentation of why since I have never read in the Bible to pray to someone other than Jesus..
     
  10. ZooMom

    ZooMom Thanks for the memories...

    +983
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    Wols answered you seriously. Catholics believe in the Communion of Saints, the Unity of Christ's Body. We are ONE Body with the saints on earth *and* the Saints in Heaven.

    Why *do* you ask your friends and family to pray for you? Because they are your brothers and sisters in Christ? Because they love you and they love God? Because the Scriptures tell us to offer intercession for the needs of everyone at all times? Those are the same reasons that Catholics ask the Saints to add their prayers to ours. Add to that that the Saints are perfected and in the Presence of God, well able to deliver supplications on our behalf (the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective), and united with us through our common trials and Christ's Body, why would they *not* pray for us?

    And until we get past the idea that 'pray to' doesn't mean anything more than 'to ask', we aren't going to make alot of progress.
     
  11. MissytheButterfly

    MissytheButterfly Back and Better than EVER!

    +5
    Thank you. It's one of those things were we are just not on the same page and won't be, but I understand the Catholic viewpoint and respect it. I am done. Bless you.
     
  12. ZooMom

    ZooMom Thanks for the memories...

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    Thank you. Peace be with you.
     
  13. niwde

    niwde Member

    256
    +1
    i encourage u all to read the writings of maria valtorta
    it can answer some of ur question
     
  14. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +39
    Catholic
    Hi MissytheButterfly,

    Catholics don't pray TO the saints, they pray to our Lord. They simply ask other brothers/sisters (in heaven) to join them in prayer.

    Personally, as a protestant, I don't see any problem with that.

    God bless!

    -Jason
     
  15. MissytheButterfly

    MissytheButterfly Back and Better than EVER!

    +5
    Thank you Hoona, I don't see a problem either for them. I just choose not to. Bless you.
     
  16. niwde

    niwde Member

    256
    +1
    i agree with what u say
    those people who r dead do not have any battle to fight
    so they themselves pray for our victory
    it doesn't matter whether u want them to pray for u or not
    they just do it
     
  17. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +39
    Catholic
    Uhm..they're alive, not dead ;)

    It's just that they're not living in the flesh anymore =)

    "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive" (Luke 20:38)

    -Jason
     
  18. niwde

    niwde Member

    256
    +1
    in other words
    whether they r living ot dead so long prayers r said
     
  19. Apologist

    Apologist 2 Tim. 2:24-26

    +10
    Christian
    That's not much of a comparison Wolseley.
    Having fellow believers pray for you is not the same as praying to the dead if that's what you are implying.
    Besides that the dead do not know what's going on here on earth as I believe the Spirit is saying through Solomon in Ecclesiastes 9:5.

    God Bless
     
  20. jukesk9

    jukesk9 Dixie Whistlin' Papist

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    Well, as Catholics, we take St. Paul's teachings about all being one in the Body of Christ seriously. We also take Romans to heart where we are told death does not separate us from Christ. So, you may see them as dead but we see them alive in Christ. So, to us, it is the same thing as asking our fellow believers to pray for us. The dead may not be aware of what's going on down here, but those sharing in eternal life are as Hebrews describes nicely the cloud of witnesses that surround us. Also, we're told that Angels rejoice at a sinner's repentance.
     
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