All Saints Day – Can the Dead Pray for the Living?

Today is All Saints Day, a Christian celebration of remembrance of all those who have gone before us in the faith.  It tends to be a Catholic holiday, but many other Christians also see values in remembering days like this.

I was perusing a few All Saints Day prayers and posted this one on Facebook:

Father, All-Powerful and ever-living God,
today we rejoice in the holy men and women
of every time and place.
May their prayers bring us your forgiveness and love
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

I didn’t have much time to reflect on it; I just quickly copy and pasted it from this site.  Then Junia woke up and my day became consumed with toddler stuff.  Through this I began to reflect on the words “may their prayers bring us your forgiveness and love.”

Uh-oh…I hope none of my non-Catholic friends deem me some sort of heretic for posting a prayer that speaks of dead Christians praying for the living (so far, no problem).  But then, why wouldn’t dead Christians be praying for us?  The Bible speaks of living Christians being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 11:1), referring to those who have gone before.  And there is the hope that after death we will be with God, as Paul says he desires to depart and be with God (Philippians 1:23).  Christians pray for each other while living, why would separation from the body end this?

I actually find it quite beautiful to imagine not just my living friends praying for me, but the saints (and I guess as a non-Catholic I would say all Christians are saints) praying for me right now in heaven before God’s throne.

Happy All Saints Day!

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4 thoughts on “All Saints Day – Can the Dead Pray for the Living?

  1. IS PRAYING TO DEAD PEOPLE A SIN?

    Is it a sin to pray to the Virgin Mary and other dead saints?

    Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go Satan! For it is written,’ “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ ”

    Praying to any person or anything is worship.

    WORSHIP DEFINED: To revere, stressing the feeling of awe or devotion. Adoring reverence or regard.

    Any worship of anyone or anything other than God is sin.

    The Virgin Mary is not God nor does she have the power to grant petitions of prayer. If men could pray to dead saints and get them answered, then why not pray to saint Moses, saint John The Baptist, saint Abraham, saint Job, saint Enoch, saint The Thief on The Cross or any other dead saint?

    Dead people cannot hear your prayers and if they could they would not have the power to answer them.

    Prayer is worship and only God deserves our worship.

    God knows our every thought. God is aware of every sin we commit. God knows our every move.

    God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Those are the attributes of God and what you would need in order to answer prayer.

    Neither the Virgin Mary, Moses, John The Baptist nor any otherdead saint has the attributes of God. They cannot hear you nor can they answer YOUR PRAYERS.

    YES, TO PRAY TO ANYONE OTHER THAN GOD IS A SIN!

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

    1. I don’t think you actually read my post, but that is okay.

      I ask my living friend to pray for me and he does. (This is not praying to my living friend.)

      My friend dies and is now with God. Why wouldn’t my friend keep praying for me?

      The way I see it, to deny my friend is still praying for me is to deny that he is with God.

  2. Quote….”And there is the hope that after death we will be with God, as Paul says he desires to depart and be with God (Philippians 1:23). Christians pray for each other while living, why would separation from the body end this?”

    What you do here after using Philippians 1:23 is make the humanistic leap from Paul desiring to be with Christ after death to Paul now praying for us! The verse in no way says this or even implies it. This is heresy to claim anything other than what Paul is saying as an assurance of his faith in Christ’s resurrection.

    There is NO scriptural reference to claim that the Christians who have died before us are now our interssors. Christ is our only interssor. Hebrews 7:25 says….. “Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” It does not say…”Jesus and all the saint before us.”

    Romans 15:30 – “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in [your] prayers to God for me;” If God has his saints in heaven who have gone before us praying for us, why would we want to ask anyone here to pray for us? If what you say is true (which it is not) then I would rather have someone praying for me who has direct communication with God than asking a sinning Christian on earth that might not be heard by Jesus.

    From GotQuestions.org…..”So who are the “cloud of witnesses,” and how is it they “surround” us? To understand this, we need to look at the previous chapter, as evidenced by the word therefore beginning chapter 12. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the rest of the Old Testament believers looked forward with faith to the coming of the Messiah. The author of Hebrews illustrates this eloquently in chapter 11 and then ends the chapter by telling us that the forefathers had faith to guide and direct them, but God had something better planned. Then he begins chapter 12 with a reference to these faithful men and women who paved the way for us. What the Old Testament believers looked forward to in faith—the Messiah—we look back to, having seen the fulfillment of all the prophecies concerning His first coming.

    We are surrounded by the saints of the past in a unique way. It’s not that the faithful who have gone before us are spectators to the race we run. Rather, it is a figurative representation and means that we ought to act as if they were in sight and cheering us on to the same victory in the life of faith that they obtained. We are to be inspired by the godly examples these saints set during their lives. These are those whose past lives of faith encourage others to live that way, too. That the cloud is referred to as “great” indicates that millions of believers have gone before us, each bearing witness to the life of faith we now live.”

    Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/cloud-of-witnesses.html#ixzz2kXC7jesa

    1. Thanks for the comment. I don’t really care about this topic enough to think about it; my post was just some musings on All Saints Day. Whatever dead Christians are up to has very little bearing on my day-to-day life. So thank you again for your comment.

      I will just add be careful how you use words like “humanistic” and “heresy”. How exactly would it be humanist to think dead Christians, still part of the universal church, are praying? And the word heresy is just a quagmire; we’re all heretics if we think/read/write enough. But applying heresy to pondering the possibility that dead Christians may still pray seems to stretch the word beyond any use.

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