Paul Vander Klay
January 28, 2011
If you are praying to a saint, dead or not, does that not fall under the command "thou shalt not have any gods before Me"? (Exodus 20:3) because isn't praying the same as worshiping?<br><br>Romans 8:26 says the Spirit makes intercession for us. Is that the same as asking someone to pray for me (intercessory prayer)?<br> <br>James 5:16 says we should pray for each other. Isn't that the same a intercessory prayer? And can we not ask for that? Maybe people ask for prayers because they don't think theirs will be good enough. Maybe they need someone to come alongside them and help them with their spiritual life so they will feel confident in their prayer life.
Paul, I especially appreciate the thought and sensitivity of items 6 - 10.
Some of this would seem to arise from grief, at least if my own experience is any indication. In the year after my parents' death I lived in this half-life where at any moment it seemed I could walk back into the past. Time seemed to be utterly permeable. Even as that psychic whole finally began its inevitable filling, I kept up actions to preserve memory. The desire to remember, to relate seems deeply part of us. We don't just shut our door, turn our backs to our past. That people should personalize this in the form of saints or other semi-deities is not especially surprising.<br><br>Theologically, the Reformed and other low-church protestants have left themselves open here. We barely give lip service to the notion of praying <b>with</b> the saints, that our spoken prayers are but an extension of some greater, richer praise and worship. We've shunned such an understanding because of the nearness of "with" and "to", and because frankly that's what <i>they</i> do, as Paul VK points out.<br><br>Finally, it may be that we are so reluctant because we don't especially believe in the survival of the "soul" at death, at least not until the Last Resurrection. We don't have clear teaching here, and that only adds to the problem when it comes to saints (all the more when we find ourselves walking through grief, as above).
Yes the best words are from Jesus Christ, God our Father wants to give good gifts to His children. Does this mean wepray to saints --dead or otherwise - or our prayers to be directed to God --Father, Son or Holy Spirit ? When I ask a fellow believer ( Saint) to pray for me I know he or she will be petitioning God on my behalf, why should a dead believer in Christ be any better at praying to God my Father than a Saint here with me now? ( besides this being forbiden in Deut. Speaking to the dead)! The motto of Pope John Paul 11 was 'Totus Tuus', meaning "all yours" and refers to his total consecration to Mary, who he believed saved his life from the assassins bullet on 13th May 1981- which coincided with the anniversary of the first apparition of the Virgin Mary at Fatima. This is Idolitry & takes all Glory from Jesus Christ by who's stripes we are healed -& gives glory to a dead person.
Indeed a very interesting post Paul. Thanks. In my experience, Jesus Christ is the centerpiece of our faith; thru Jesus I can come to the Father. Why? Yes, to build a relationship with Him (I believe the love between a man and woman in marriage reflects something about our relationship with God). What does 'speaking to someone else than God' say about your relationship with God? That's what bothers me... (or is this just evangelical theology?)
Why do Christians sometimes assume that all the saints are dead? There's no question, is there, that it's okay for Christians to pray for one another? I believe that Jesus. the human manifestation of God, is the only intermediary between God and man, and so I pray to Him. When troubled I sometimes ask other (living) saints to pray with me.
James 5:13-15 "Is any one among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord."<br><br>Nothing wrong with calling for the leaders of the church to pray with and for the sick, discouraged, depressed, etc. Lifting up a brother/sister in need is part of what Christianity is all about.<br><br>Praying to the dead has to be handled very carefully.<br><br>Ecclesiastes 9:5 "For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know nothing." <br><br>Some people, especially in grief, seek for signs from the dead to help them deal with the suffering they are going through. Support must be there for them and timing is crucial when speaking to them of these things. Good comments! norma at <a href="http://www.norma-life-as-it-is.blogspot.com" rel="nofollow">www.norma-life-as-it-is.blogsp...</a><br><br>
"It is very common that people in my congregation will ask me to pray for them because they imagine the prayers of the pastor might work better than their own prayers."<br><br>I think you're projecting your own anxiety on them. The parishioner has likely prayed their last prayer, is on the verge of losing faith, and needs encouragement from a pastor.
Hmm. Some will just tell me that they think if I pray then God will hear it better and they'll get the response they're looking for. They're that u front. I don't find this notion uncommon at all especially among some groups I minister to. <br><br>Many within the church who ask me to mention something to the church either in a service or by email loop are usually wanting to get a message out and to ask the congregation to pray. Some then will be explicit about their hopes that the crowd-sourcing prayer method will get results. I'm not commenting on the edification of that idea, just that its there. pvk
They are not "imagining" anything, they are simply following James' direction. The "pastor" may feel awkward, almost like the king of Israel's response to Naaman, â€œAm I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!â€ Note however, James calls for the elders, plural. The notion of a single man with the title "pastor" would have been a foreign concept. We collapse the ministries of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, and Teacher into this one super office called "pastor" who is expected to be the healer as well and have the powerful and effective prayer of a righteous person. No wonder pastors burn out.
Its also interesting that the promise of "I will be with you" is only made by Jesus. Jesus never promises that your ancestors or other saints will "be with you". Just another data point.
An interesting post, not a topic I've thought about much apart from theological differences among Catholics & Protestants. <br><br>I find I do evoke the idea, or spirit of my dead Christian grandfathers when I'm wrestling with a decision or issue. I am not praying to or with them, merely meditating on their lives and ideas - what they might say to me at that moment. I think that's similar to "sanctified imagination" (see Richard Foster). I do revere, but not worship, some of my family's honored ancestors.<br><br>As an artist and teacher, I've always thought of Bezalel (master craftsman of the Tabernacle) as sort of a "patron saint" - someone I try to emulate in excellence and mission. <br><br>What do you think? Scriptural? Do you do anything like this?
"Christ" as expressed by Paul is united and crosses the dividing line of the grave. We profess to be within the communion of the saints and I find your appropriating spiritual ancestors in line with that communion. Being encouraged by past triumphs of the saints is what Hebrews 11 is all about. Thanks for your thoughts. pvk
<a href="http://adf.ly/2FvCb" rel="nofollow">http://adf.ly/2FvCb</a>Â Â life after death
Talking to the dead? God is never teaching that...if God doesn't teach that so why would we? Ahhmmm In Marc 11:24 "Therefore whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received them and it shall be granted unto you." we must believe in whatever we prayer. for more inspirations about prayer you like to visit: <a href="http://edwardbaloja.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/prayer-by-the-heart/...thanks" rel="nofollow">http://edwardbaloja.wordpress....</a>...
I think people misinterpret some things. When we are praying to the Saints we are not conjuring people up like Saul did with Samuel.
Scripture talks about a great Cloud of witnesses and Jesus says God is the God of the living not the dead. We believe Revelations shows the Saints praying in Heaven.
Second I want to kindly point out that just because I ask a Saint to pray with me does not mean I am also not simultaneously also praying to God. It is not an either or thing.
Third there are things I cannot pray to the Saints for. When I sin, I ask God not the Saints to forgive me. And yes in the Confessional both the Priest has you say a prayer to God telling him you are sorry for your sins.
I want everyone praying for me, sinner or saint, alive on this earth or alive in spirit.
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