Invoking the Saints: What it Means to Ask for Intercession


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Do you ever feel like there’s more to life than what meets the eye? Do you find yourself seeking guidance and comfort beyond your own understanding? If so, invoking the saints may be a practice worth exploring.

From St. Jude, patron saint of lost causes, to St. Anthony, patron saint of lost items, these holy figures have been revered as intercessors between humanity and God for centuries.

But what exactly does it mean to ask for intercession from the saints? Is it idolatry or a legitimate form of prayer?

In this article, we’ll delve into the historical roots and theological basis of invoking the saints in Christianity, explore how different denominations view their role as intercessors, address common misconceptions and criticisms, and discuss practical applications for daily life.

So grab a cup of tea or coffee and join us on this journey through the fascinating world of invoking the saints.

The Historical Roots of Invoking the Saints in Christianity

You’re transported back in time to early Christianity, where believers looked to past holy figures as role models and sought their guidance through prayer and offerings. The practice of invoking the saints has its origins in the early Church, where Christians venerated martyrs who died for their faith.

As Christianity spread across Europe, this practice developed into a more formalized system of saint worship. The development of this system was partly due to the need for local communities to have their own patron saints. These saints were often chosen based on local legends or historical events that took place in the area.

As these stories were passed down through generations, they became a part of the local culture and tradition. Communities would build churches and chapels dedicated to these saints, where they could go to pray for intercession. Over time, the number of recognized saints grew, with each one having their own particular area of expertise or patronage.

The Theological Basis for Asking for Intercession

Understanding the theological basis for requesting the aid of holy figures can deepen one’s appreciation for the value of seeking guidance and support from those who have gone before us.

In Christianity, the practice of asking for intercession is rooted in a belief in the communion of saints, which affirms that all believers are united in Christ and connected to one another through him. This means that those who have died in faith are still part of the church and can pray for those on earth.

Scripture provides support for this idea, as seen in Hebrews 12:1: ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.’

This passage suggests that those who have gone before us serve as examples to inspire and encourage us on our journey. Asking for intercession builds upon this idea by acknowledging that these holy figures not only inspire but can also actively assist us through their prayers.

Ultimately, asking for intercession is an expression of personal faith in God’s power to work through his saints both here on earth and beyond.

The Role of Saints as Intercessors in Various Christian Denominations

As a Christian, you may find it enlightening to learn about how different denominations view the role of saints as intermediaries between believers and God.

In Roman Catholicism, for example, intercessory prayers to patron saints are an important part of the tradition. These saints are believed to have lived exemplary lives and are therefore seen as powerful mediators between humans and God. Catholics often pray to specific saints for help with particular needs or issues.

In Eastern Orthodoxy, on the other hand, intercession is typically directed towards Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. She is considered the greatest of all saints and is believed to be able to intercede on behalf of all humanity. Orthodox Christians also believe in seeking the help of other saints who have been canonized by their church, but this practice is not as prominent as it is in Catholicism.

Ultimately, whether one prays directly to God or seeks the assistance of a saint, Christians across denominations believe that prayer has the power to connect them with something greater than themselves.

Common Misconceptions and Criticisms of Invoking the Saints

Don’t let misunderstandings or negative opinions hold you back from experiencing the potential comfort and guidance that praying to saints can bring to your faith journey.

One common misconception about invoking the saints is the idea that it is a form of worship, which is reserved for God alone. However, as previously discussed, asking for intercession from saints does not mean worshipping them. Instead, it is a way of seeking their help in bringing our prayers to God, just like we would ask a friend or family member to pray for us.

Another criticism of invoking the saints stems from the belief that it is only practiced by Catholics and Orthodox Christians. Contrary to this notion, many non-Christian religions also have similar practices of calling upon ancestors and revered figures for guidance and protection. Moreover, there are also Protestant denominations that recognize the role of saints as intercessors in prayer.

Debunking myths about saint worship can help us understand and appreciate this aspect of Christian tradition better, allowing us to draw closer to God through the help of those who have gone before us in faith.

Practical Applications of the Practice in Daily Life

Praying to those who have gone before us can provide a sense of comfort and guidance in our daily lives. Through invoking the saints, we are able to connect with individuals who have lived their lives in faith and devotion.

It’s important to note that saintly intercession should not be seen as a replacement for direct communication with God, but rather as an additional form of prayer.

To cultivate a personal relationship with the saints, one can begin by learning about their lives and the virtues they embodied. Reading their writings or biographies can provide inspiration and guidance on how to live a life of faith.

Additionally, incorporating specific saints into your prayer life can deepen this connection. For example, if you struggle with anxiety, Saint Dymphna may be someone you turn to for intercession. By seeking out the help of these holy men and women, we are reminded that we are not alone in our struggles.

The benefits of incorporating saintly intercession into prayer life include feeling more connected to our Catholic heritage and community. We are part of a larger family of believers who have sought out the help of these holy individuals throughout history.

Asking for their intercession allows us to recognize that there is power in numbers – we’re not just praying alone but alongside those who have gone before us. Finally, it provides a sense of hope – knowing that others have overcome similar challenges through faith and perseverance gives us strength when facing our own obstacles.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do saints become intercessors?

So how do saints become intercessors?

Well, it all starts with the process of canonization. The Catholic Church has a rigorous system in place for determining who can be recognized as a saint. This includes an investigation into their life and writings, as well as the role of miracles attributed to them.

Once they’re officially declared a saint, they’re believed to have a closer relationship with God and the ability to intercede on behalf of those who pray to them. It’s not just about having good deeds or being popular – there’s a divine aspect involved in the recognition of saints as intercessors.

So next time you ask for the intercession of a particular saint, remember that this isn’t just any ordinary person – but someone who’s been specially chosen by God for this role.

Can someone ask for the intercession of a saint who is not officially recognized by the Catholic Church?

If you’re wondering whether or not you can ask for the intercession of a non-Catholic saint, it’s important to understand the concept of intercession eligibility.

While the Catholic Church has an official process for recognizing saints, there are many individuals throughout history who have been venerated as saints by various communities and religious traditions.

However, just because someone is considered a saint by their followers doesn’t necessarily mean they are eligible for intercession in the Catholic faith.

According to Catholic teaching, only those who lived lives of heroic virtue and were known to be in heaven can serve as intercessors.

So while you may find comfort and inspiration in the stories of non-Catholic saints, their ability to act as intermediaries between you and God is not recognized by the Catholic Church.

Is it necessary to pray to saints in order to receive God’s grace and blessings?

Do you ever wonder if praying to saints is necessary in order to receive God’s grace and blessings? The truth is, while saintly intercession can be helpful, it’s not the only way to seek divine favor.

Some people prefer to pray directly to God or Jesus, believing that they’re just as capable of granting blessings without the assistance of saints. Others may find comfort in seeking guidance from spiritual leaders or reading scripture for inspiration and insight.

Ultimately, the most important thing is that you approach your faith with sincerity and a desire for deeper connection with the divine. Whether you choose to seek out saintly intercession or explore alternative methods of seeking God’s grace, remember that your relationship with God is personal and unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how best to deepen it.

How do we know if our prayers to saints have been answered?

When you engage in intercessory prayer, it’s important to understand what it means and how to evaluate its effectiveness.

Intercessory prayer is the act of asking someone else to pray on your behalf, such as a saint or loved one who has passed away.

To evaluate the effectiveness of intercessory prayer, look for signs that your prayers have been answered, such as feeling a sense of peace or receiving unexpected blessings.

However, it’s important to remember that not all prayers are answered in the way we want them to be and that sometimes God has a different plan.

Ultimately, the power of intercessory prayer lies in our faith and belief that our requests will be heard by a higher power.

Are there any potential dangers or risks associated with invoking the saints?

When it comes to invoking the saints, there are potential risks that need to be considered. Misconceptions and misunderstandings can arise if one doesn’t have a clear understanding of what it means to ask for intercession.

However, personal faith plays a crucial role in this practice. Belief and conviction are necessary for those who choose to invoke the saints. It’s important to approach this with an analytical mindset, as well as a sense of humor. After all, we’re all human and prone to misunderstandings at times.

But ultimately, invoking the saints can provide a sense of belonging within a larger community of believers who share similar beliefs and practices.


So there you have it, a comprehensive understanding of what it means to invoke the saints and ask for their intercession.

From the historical roots in Christianity to the theological basis and practical applications in daily life, this practice has been an important aspect of many Christian denominations for centuries.

Despite common misconceptions and criticisms, invoking the saints can bring comfort and aid in times of need. Whether it’s asking for Saint Anthony’s help finding lost items or seeking Saint Jude’s intercession during difficult times, calling upon these holy men and women can provide a sense of connection to something greater than ourselves.

So go ahead, try it out for yourself and see what blessings may come your way through the power of saintly intercession.

Pedro is an active member of his local Military Community Parish. When not worshipping God and spreading his good word, you can find him spending quality time with his family.

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