“To imagine that saints or angels can be influenced to intercede for us is not only delusion; it is to cast doubt on the perfect adequacy of the intercession of Christ on our behalf and thus to deprive ourselves of the fulness of the security which is available to us only in Christ. Our Lord clearly taught that no man can come to the Father except by him (John 14:6) and that our requests to God are to be made in his name (John 14:13f.; 15:16; 16:23, 24, 26), precisely because there is no other name which avails and prevails with God (cf. Acts 4:12) (Philip E. Hughes, Hebrews, p. 353).
If it is wrong to ask saints to pray for us, then why is it okay to ask friends, family, and others here on earth to pray for us?
Does the Lord feel as though I have superseded him when I intercede for my friends?
To ask another person to pray for us does not deny Christ as God and mediator to the Father, Rather, it recognizes our unity and communion with one another in the Body of Christ. Sometimes I don’t know how to pray for what I need, but a friend (or saint in Heaven) does. Furthermore, the intercession of those in Heaven is even mentioned in Revelations 5:8, where the four creatures and the elders are bringing the prayers of the saints (all those who follow God, whether dead or alive) to the Lord.
“In Christ alone my strength is found,” and sometimes, often actually, Christ gives us his strength through the strength of other people.
Then, we must never pray for one another when facing a challenge such as surgery or any other serious undertaking.
Your friends would know how to pray for your needs if you have shared this with them, but saints in heaven would not because they do not share the attributes of God.
“Sometimes I don’t know how to pray for what I need, but a friend (or saint in Heaven) does.”
Omniscient- God knows everything and his knowledge is complete. Job 37:16
Omnipresent- He is present in all places at all times. Jeremiah 23:23-24
The saints in heaven cannot be all places like God; they also do not share the trait of being
Your friends know what you share, God knows what you need that you don’t even know about.
Are you saying we can only pray for someone if we know their specific needs? I can’t think of a good friend I haven’t seen in a long time and pray, “Lord give her mercy and peace”?
As for omniscience…all powerful…yes, I do believe God is omniscient.
In fact, the God I believe in potentially has the power to enable saints to hear me ask for their prayers, to know my needs, and to pray for me, similarly to how the Holy Spirit has inspired my friends on earth to tell me things they couldn’t have known naturally that I needed to hear.
Does your God have the power to do that?
I’d also like to know how you explain Revelations 5:8 then.
In Rev 5:8 the prayers of the saints (all believers, not just those elevated by men) are being brought to the Lord. Notice that they (the four creatures and elders) are not praying nor have they been asked to intercede for, believers still on Earth. We are told to pray for one another but no where in scripture are we encouraged to ask for a dead person to pray for us. That practice came into the church from pagan religious practices when Christianity became the state religion and several pagan sects adopted Christian equivalents so they could continue to practice their religion but call it Christian.
These are some other good sources for explanation:
A basic explanation against the main arguments:
An explanation that also references several Church fathers PRIOR to Christianity becoming a state religion in the 300’s:
The oldest known prayer to Mary, Mother of God (Theotokos), asking for her prayers in 250 AD (prior to Christianity becoming the state religion):