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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Prayers to Mary and Saints

Linda asks: Do or don't Catholics pray to Mary and others they call 'saints'? Prayer is for God only.

My response: Yes. Catholics do pray to saints and to God, but there is a distinct difference in those prayers. A prayer to a saint, is a petition or intercession. We are asking a saint to pray for us and with us about something. We are not looking to the saint as 'God-like' to be worshipped. Only God is to be worshipped.
Christians are one family, united. We are the Family of God and death does not separate God's Family, because God is the God of the Living (Luke 20:38). To ask a saint in heaven to pray for you and with you is no different than asking your next door neighbor to say a prayer for you. We are one Family in God, all alive in Jesus Christ our Savior. The saints are our brothers and sisters in Christ, they love us and wish to pray for us and with us together as a Family in God.
Here are some definitions of 'prayer' and I think if you look at them you will see the distinction made. The first, second and third definition is how we 'pray' to God and God alone. The seventh definition is how we 'pray' to saints. As you can see there are many ways people use the term "pray".

prayer –noun
1. a devout petition to God or an object of worship.
2. a spiritual communion with God or an object of worship, as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession.
3. the act or practice of praying to God or an object of worship.
4. a formula or sequence of words used in or appointed for praying: the Lord's Prayer.
5. prayers, a religious observance, either public or private, consisting wholly or mainly of prayer.
6. that which is prayed for.
7. a petition; entreaty.
8. the section of a bill in equity, or of a petition, that sets forth the complaint or the action desired.
9. a negligible hope or chance: Do you think he has a prayer of getting that job?

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