Why do Catholics ask the saints in heaven to pray for them? Some people believe that such prayer is unnecessary since, through Jesus, everyone has a direct line to God; no “helpers” are needed.

It is certainly true that God wants us to ask him for things directly – and we do – but he also wants us to ask each other for prayers (I Timothy 2:1-3).

If someone asks you to pray for them, do you refuse and say instead, “Why ask me to pray for you when you can go directly to God yourself?” As Catholics we believe that the prayers of others are effective, as noted in the letter of James: “The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful”. (James 5:16).

Just as the prayers of living people can be very powerful, so too are those of Christians who are in heaven and who we believe can intercede on our behalf with God. We believe that we are still in union with those who are in heaven, all members of the Body of Christ, and that these saints want to share in God’s work.

Further reading:
Bishop Robert Barron: Satellites and the Communion of Saints
Fr Mike Schmitz: Do Catholics Worship Saints?
Ascension Press: Why do Catholics pray to the Saints?
Catholic Answers: The Bible Supports Praying to the Saints

"Our Lady of the Southern Cross - Help of Christians" used with permission of the painter, Paul Newton

Rev. Dr Paul Connell, 8 November 2021

Bishop Shane Mackinlay, Bishop of Sandhurst, 8 November 2021

8 November 2021

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