• Michael Haldas

Intercessory Prayer


“Why do we ask people to pray for us? We do so because we believe the prayers of others, especially the prayers of people who seem to be holier than us, are effective. All throughout Scripture people pray for each other. We all need spiritual covering and protection from others. Further, Christ teaches that God is the God of the living and all are alive before God (Mark 12:26-27). We can ask anyone to pray for us, people we know, departed loved ones and others, and of course, the saints.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

“It is often our custom that when we want to express something meaningful on the occasion for example, a person’s birthday, wedding anniversary, graduation, etc., we will often send them a greeting card and one that usually has a message, verse or poem in it. Couldn’t we have just used our own words and “gone directly” to that person? Yes, but the words of the card say it better. Since we are presumably sincere about our message to that person we choose a way in which our sentiments will be expressed in the loftiest and most accurate way possible. So, we let the greeting card “intercede” for us, just as we do with the saints.” (Father Thomas Loya)

“When we venerate the saints, we are showing love and respect. Kissing an icon of a saint is much the same as kissing a Bible. When we kiss a photo of a loved one, we are not worshiping the person but demonstrating in a concrete way our love for the person. This is the very thing we are demonstrating when we kiss the icon of a saint. When we are in need of prayer, we don’t head for the nearest tavern and ask the man slumped over the bar to pray for us; rather, we ask for prayers from those who are close to God. No one is closer to God than those who’ve lived holy lives or who have died as martyrs..." (Abbot Tryphon)

“We are not praying to them [saints] like we pray to God or substituting our prayers to God. In other words, we are not worshiping them in prayer, but simply asking them to pray for us. We do this because they have achieved more of a union with God than we have, thus are more present with God. Because of this we believe their prayers will have greater effectiveness than our own. Further, these prayers are not a substitute for our direct prayers to God. The saints are not substitute spokespersons for us and the Lord. We simply do both, pray for ourselves and ask them to do so as well.” (Sacramental Living)

“Too often we see prayer as a time for comfort, reflection, or making requests to God...Prayer is a weapon that all believers should use in interceding for others.” (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 15:30)

“The energy that drives the intercessory prayers of the Church is love…Intercessory prayer is ultimately an expression of love and compassion for all that exists…in a society plagued by selfcenteredness and excessive ego gratification, the act of intercessory prayer draws us out of ourselves to the other; the other being God and our neighbor. Intercessory prayer is a selfless act on our part although we do receive benefits from such prayer – all prayer done in a spirit of faith and love.” (Father John Oliver, Father Jason Delvitto)

“Whenever we offer up intercessory prayers, asking that God take care of our friends and family, we are offering up those people to God. When we read about a disaster or a war somewhere across the globe, and we prayerfully ask God to watch over and protect the people caught up in it, we are offering those people up to God. When we offer up our world to Him, we invite Him to transform it.” (Elissa Bjeletich)

"God deigns to hear prayer. He allows the world to be"in some sense” under the control of the power of prayer. Thus is prayer powerful and effective…it is part of God’s goodness and appointment that He allows the world to be susceptible to our prayers.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

"In many cases, our prayers are for more or less"selfish" reasons. We or someone we love has a personal problem and we may turn to God in prayer. And this is all well and good. However, this is not where our prayers should end. We need to pray to God for our country, our Church, our world." (Marianne C. Sailus)

"Prayer for others which is made gently and with deep love is selfless and has great spiritual benefit." (St. Porphyrios of Kafsokalyvia)

“Intercessory prayers are to be offered for all without partiality, but special attention is given to prayer for those in authority.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Timothy 2:1,2)

“We should pray for those in authority around the world so that their societies will be conducive to the spread of the Good News.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Timothy 2:2)

“We do not pray intercessory prayers because God is a respecter of persons or shows partiality, but rather simply because we are taught in Scripture to do so. Jesus prayed intercessory prayers for His Disciples and the world before He was crucified (John 17: 6-26). St. Paul, St. James and others throughout the New Testament consistently implore others to pray for them or instruct us to pray for each other.” (Sacramental Living)

“To understand intercessory prayer, one must remember the eternal providence of God. One must grasp the fact that God knows all things eternally and takes into consideration each act of man in His overall plan. With this perspective one can then see that even before the creation of the world, God has heard, or rather, more accurately, eternally hears the cries of His people. He considers man's prayers in all that He does in His dealings with men. Thus it is the case that God does not wait to see what we do or how we will pray. He considers our actions and prayers from the perspective of eternity. And in the light of our desires and deeds He sees that"all things work together for good for those who love God" (Romans 8:28).” (Father John Matusiak) "Intercessory prayer flows out of love and is preconditioned by inner peace.” (Fr. John Oliver)

“Although God is all-powerful and all-knowing, He has chosen to let us help Him change the world through our prayers. How this works is a mystery to us because of our limited understanding, but it is a reality." (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Timothy 2:1-4)

"An intercessor means one who is such a vital contact with God and with his fellow men that he is like a live wire closing the gap between the saving power of God and the sinful men who have been cut off from that power. An intercessor is the contacting link between the source of power (the life of the Lord Jesus Christ) and the objects needing that power of life.” (Hannah Hurnard)

“The Church teaches that life in Christ is eternal, saints and others in Christ who have died a physical death have just moved on beyond our physical senses (…. Jesus’ message in the Bible is relatively clear – death is not the end of life. If we accept this as truth, when we pray and ask Mary or any other saint to intercede on our behalf, we are asking a living person who has achieved greater spiritual growth than us to pray for us.” (Sacramental Living)

“We can also think of someone who is accused of a crime. They can choose to represent themselves in court and"go directly” to the Judge or jury and say,"I am innocent.” But usually the accused person hires a lawyer to communicate that same message of their innocence because the lawyer can say it better. It is the same way with the saints. They can say it better than we can and so we align our prayer with the saints.” (Father Thomas Loya)

“It is good to keep praying persistently for others.” (Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 62:1-7)

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