Why don’t Protestant Christians pray to Mary and other saints, seeking their help and intercession?

Christians who pray to Mary and saints in heaven to intercede for them sometimes say that praying to Mary and the saints is no different than asking living fellow believers to pray for them. They say that the Scriptures tell us to uphold each other and intercede for each other in prayer (Matthew 5:44; Ephesians 6:18; James 5:16).

Though Scripture doesn’t affirm it, it is conceivable that friends and loved ones who have preceded us to heaven are able to pray for us. But when Christians ask living friends and loved ones to pray for them, they don’t worship or attribute godlike qualities to them. They don’t assume they have unique intercessory abilities and special influence with the Savior. They don’t approach particular strangers and ask for their prayer support. Above all, they don’t “pray” to living friends. They ask them to share the burden of their prayer concerns with the Lord.

Christians who pray to Mary and the saints are assuming much more, believing that Mary and the saints are in a position to help in unique and specific ways: St. Anthony helps locate lost objects; St. Anne combats infertility; St. James the Greater heals arthritis; St. Jude offers hope to “lost causes”; St. Sebastian protects athletes; and many other “saints” are reputed to do specific things for many other categories of needy people.

The pagans of the Roman Empire once prayed to specific gods for help relating to the problems and challenges of life; and when Theodosius I officially outlawed pagan worship in ad 380, many people transferred their devotion from pagan gods to the saints. Thus, prayer to saints came to parallel devotion to the pagan gods of popular Roman religion.

Scripture doesn’t support the idea that “specialist” saints in heaven share with God the ability to hear thousands of prayers simultaneously. Nor does Scripture imply that particular people in heaven are able to intercede with God in a unique way in the case of particular kinds of needs. By attributing such abilities to these saints, we detract from the centrality of Jesus Christ as our divine and human mediator. We project the Savior’s unique qualities (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:26-28; Hebrews 9:24; 1 John 2:1-2) on fellow believers who share our own sinful tendencies and frailties. Instead of honoring the Son of God who gave His life for us, we glorify the needy creatures He came to save. (See the ATQ article Why don’t Protestant Christians worship Mary and the Saints?)

 


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3 thoughts on “Why don’t Protestant Christians pray to Mary and other saints, seeking their help and intercession?

  1. I am a Catholic. Not a protestant.

    Luke 4:8: Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'”

    Jesus is never wrong.

    1. We ask Mary and the Saints for their intercessory prayers just as we ask each other on earth for their prayers for the scriptures talks about intercessory prayers of the saints. We here are saints / sinners and in heaven we are SAINT, no one worship them, they are in Heaven where they can sin no more for in heaven is no sin. When we ask the SAINTS in heaven to pray for us we can count on it and know they won’t forget as we sometimes do on earth. The church is one body, wherever on earth or in Heaven the body of Christ is one, death doesn’t sever us from those who has gone before us. God is Glorified in his Saints.

  2. Being raised as a child as a Baptist and then Pentecostal i enter into the Greek Orthodox Christian faith, i believe it is in James that’s tells us that God hears the prayers of a righteous person, we believe the church and the saints are here on earth and also the church in heaven and the Saints. One Lord, one Faith, On Lord of all, one baptism. We ask the saints to pray for us for they are alive in Christ not dead and death doesn’t sever love. They are more alive in Christ, they pray for us just as much as we ask each others to pray for us. This is intercession of the saints as scriptures says is intercessory prayer. God is glorified in his Saints. No one i know of in my faith or the catholic faith or the Anglican or High Lutheran or episcopal doesn’t worship Mary or the Saints, we honor them as we honor veterans and church fathers etc. We love them for we are called to love, and we Bless Mary for all generations shall call her Blessed, So if they are in heaven they finish the race and now behold all the Glory of Heaven Father, Son ,and Holy Spirit, they are where no sin can reside. I know for sure when i ask them for intercessory prayer that they don’t forget to pray for us as we on earth sometimes forget. Whatsoever we do we do for the Glory of God. They are the clouds of witnesses in the balconies of Heaven that cheers us on and intercedes for us.

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