What does the Bible say about praying to saints? Are there biblical foundations for the Catholic tradition of asking saints to intercede for us?
Oftentimes we’re challenged by our protestant brothers and sisters with the question, “Why pray to saints when you can just pray to Jesus?” You’re not alone if you believe there’s a good answer to that question but struggle to explain it yourself.
As All Saints Day approaches, Dr. Edward Sri walks us through scripture passages wherein holy men and women from the Bible intercede before God for their communities.
This episode will leave you not only with a good apologetic answer for why Catholics pray to the saints, but—more importantly—with a renewed sense of appreciation for the cloud of witnesses that inspire us, intercede for us, and draw us deeper into communion with the blessed Trinity.
What does the Bible say about praying to saints?
The Bible reveals that the saints who have died aren’t disconnected from and uninterested in those who are alive on earth
Old Testament Example:
Jeremiah 15:1–Long after their deaths, Moses and Samuel are depicted pleading for the Israelite people on earth
New Testament Examples
- Revelation 8:3 – The prayers of the saints rise up before God, and then God acts on earth.
- John 15 – “I am the vine, and you are the branches.”
- St. Paul – We are the “body of Christ.” It doesn’t make sense that death would rupture this bond.
- Hebrews 12:1 – The saints are a “cloud of witnesses”
Intercession for Others Isn’t Optional for Christians
Love of God and love of neighbor go hand in hand. The saints are our neighbors and our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. When we grow in fellowship with our fellow Christians, we grow in fellowship with Christ. This is the vision of the Church that the New Testament gives to us.
2 Corinthians 1:11–St. Paul commands the Christians in Corinth to pray for him.
1 Timothy 2:1–Timothy commands the Christians to pray for each other
How to Grow in Fellowship with the Saints
- Pick a few saints that you want to get to know.
- Read their writings and learn about their lives. Fill your mind with their stories and their example.
- Talk to those saints, every day. Share your weaknesses with them and ask them to walk with you in your difficult times. Don’t just ask them to pray for you…invite them to be with you in every part of your life.