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Author Topic: What is the biblical basis of Saints having the ability to hear our prayers???  (Read 4680 times) Average Rating: 0
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Irenaeus07
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« on: March 05, 2008, 12:40:16 PM »

I understand, we do not worship Saints, I understand that Saints do not answer our prayers, but rather God answers our prayers.

I understand that Saints are only a means.  It is hoped that while we are unworthy of having our prayers answered, perhaps a Saint can ask God in our behalf.

So I just would like to know the biblical basis of Saints having the ability to hear our prayers???

Thanks.
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2008, 01:16:10 PM »

Do you mean, besides Rev 5:8-10, where the prayers are like incense, and responses are made by saints to the environment around them?

Quote
5:8  Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

5:9  And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

5:10  And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth."

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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2008, 01:58:23 PM »

It's a combination of two things:

the dead saints are alive in Christ and now deified; therefore they partake of divine nature and that means they are free from temporality which includes time and space.

we are told in the NT to pray for each other.

Therefore, saints can pray for us.
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2008, 03:08:47 PM »

Do you mean, besides Rev 5:8-10, where the prayers are like incense, and responses are made by saints to the environment around them?


This is a nice quote but are there other references.  But Revelation is written in the form of symbolism, and therefore, this could have many different many, and in and of itself is not necessarily a proof.

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 states, "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing they have no further reward and even their name is forgotten.  Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun."

It's a combination of two things:

the dead saints are alive in Christ and now deified; therefore they partake of divine nature and that means they are free from temporality which includes time and space.

we are told in the NT to pray for each other.

Therefore, saints can pray for us.

St Theophan The Recluse, has an excellent explanation as to how the Saints hear our prayers but does not provide any biblical basis for his explanation.
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2008, 03:22:37 PM »

Quote
Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 states, "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing they have no further reward and even their name is forgotten.  Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun."

I'll use the typical Orthodox cop-out here. Because that passage was in the Old Testament, none of the dead were actually in Paradise, merely with Abraham in a place of rest. When Christ descended to raise up those in Hades, they were, as Anastasios said, deified in Christ.

One of my favorite writings is St. John Chrysostom Paschal Homily, which explains that act very well:

"He that was taken by death has annihilated it! He descended into hades and took hades captive! He embittered it when it tasted his flesh! And anticipating this Isaiah exclaimed, "Hades was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions." It was embittered, for it was abolished! It was embittered, for it was mocked! It was embittered, for it was purged! It was embittered, for it was despoiled! It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!...Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!"

In addition, because Orthodox and Catholics do not follow the idea of Sola Scriptura (that is, truth is found ONLY through the Scripture), our teachings come from the Holy Tradition of the Church, of which Scripture is merely a subset. For example, the Bible does not explicitly state that the Trinity exists, but that is the Tradition (big 'T') that the Church has passed down through the ages, affirmed through the Ecumenical Councils, and is therefore correct.

To give a brief answer, nowhere in the Bible does it state, without a doubt, that praying to the saints means they will pray for you. Only minor hints, like Fr. Chris pointed out. That does not make us doubt its truth, however.

Hope that clarifies things without muddying the waters even more. And I am sorry if this sounded condescending, as I'm not sure how far you are on your path of Orthodoxy or how much you have learned about it thus far.
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2008, 03:36:06 PM »

Prayer and the Departed Saints, by David C. Ford, Ph.D
http://www.protomartyr.org/prayer.html

Not the best article, but it has some handy patristic references:
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/invocationofsaints.aspx

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8044.asp
Quote from: Dr. George Bebis
THE INTERCESSION OF THE SAINTS
 
Mosaic Icon of St. George
The fact that Christians ask the prayers of saints and their intercession is prefigured in the New Testament. St. Paul asks the Christian Ephesians, Thessalonians, Colossians and Romans to pray for him (Ephes. 6:19, 1 Thesal. 5:25; Colos. 4:3, and Rom. 15:30-31). In every Liturgy, we ask God the Father to accept, on our behalf, "the prayers and the intercession" of all the Saints who now live in heaven. The Fathers of the Church also accept as a matter of course the prayers and the intercession of all the saints.

In one of his letters, St. Basil explicitly writes that he accepts the intercession of the apostles, prophets and martyrs, and he seeks their prayers to God (Letter 360). Then, speaking about the Forty Martyrs, who suffered martyrdom for Christ, he emphasizes that "they are common friends of the human race, strong ambassadors and collaborators in fervent prayers" (Chapter Cool. St. Gregory of Nyssa asks St. Theodore the Martyr "to fervently pray to our Common King, our God, for the country and the people" (Encomium to Martyr Theodore). The same language is used by St. Gregory the Theologian in his encomium to St. Cyprian. St. John Chrysostom says that we should seek the intercession and the fervent prayers of the saints, because they have special "boldness" (parresia), before God. (Gen. 44:2 and Encomium to Julian, Iuventinus and Maximinus, 3).
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2008, 03:50:45 PM »

Why does there have to be explicit biblical proof? There is no explicit biblical proof of the Trinity, the canon of scripture itself, etc etc etc.

But we know that the Church that produced the Bible was praying to saints when it formalized the canon.
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« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2008, 10:30:35 PM »



Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 states, "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing they have no further reward and even their name is forgotten.  Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun."
This could be the condition of the dammed after the judgment.

Quote
St Theophan The Recluse, has an excellent explanation as to how the Saints hear our prayers but does not provide any biblical basis for his explanation.

Within time and space it doesn't make sense. Remove time and space and very thing happens at the same time.

EDIT:  Fixed quote tag to make post more readable; nothing more done  - PtA
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2008, 11:59:43 PM »

Dear Friends:

The biblical justification comes from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 22: verses 23 -33. This is the story where the Sadducees posed the question about the woman who had been given in levirate marriage to 7 brothers.

Our Lord replied: " As for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, ' I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead; but of the living."

If Abraham, Issac and Jacob are alive in Christ, how much more his holy Mother, the martyrs, and the saints of the New Testament ! If they are alive, then they can hear !

What is more, in the Gospel accounts of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9), Moses and Elijah appeared with our Lord, and spoke with him about his Passion, if they could speak, and knew of his Passion, can they not also hear ? Of course !

The lives of the saints give us innumerable examples of miraculous intervention through the prayers of the saints. I have seen this in my own life - so many times. God is glorified in His Saints !

Best wishes for a Blessed Fast !

Francis Frost
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2008, 12:32:40 AM »

This is what is known as the communion of the Saints. Both the Church militant and the Church triumphant are One.

Burning incense is symbolic of all our collective prayers ascending to heaven.

In the gospel of Luke, the lot fell onto the priest Zacharias to burn incense at the Hour of Incense. The Hour of Incense was a service in which the multitude of jews would gather outside the temple while the priest offered their prayers thru the burning of incense (Lk 1.10-11).  In the instance of Zacharias an angel appeared befoe him saying ,"Fear not Zacharias for thy prayer is heard"(1.13).

The concept of  being the intercessor of a multitude of prayers are found in the OT deuterocanonical as well. In Tobit 12.12-15 we read- ,"Now therefore when thou didst pray, and Sara your daughter in law, I did bring the remembrance of your prayer before the Holy One.....I am Raphael, one of the seven holy Angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and go in and out of before the Glory of the Holy One."

This same insight is echoed in Revelation 8.2-4 where incense is included-, "And I saw the seven angels which stood before God and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of the saints ypon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended yp before God out of the angel's hand."

Notice in the above verses that the incense "was given unto him" anotherwords God being merciful grants this to his saints and angels and God directs them to the appropriate saint and or angel.. FrChris is correct in Rev 5.8 this is extended to the heavenly elders (the heavenly saints, the church triumphant) who offer our prayers before God.

Another prime example of intercessory prayer is found in Zech1.12-13. An angel intercessed on behalf of the captive jewish people: "Then the angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of Hosts how long will thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judahagainst which thou hast had indignation these three score and ten years? And the Lord answered the angel that talked with me with good words and comfortable words.

In the above example, Zechariah was praying without an answer but as soon as the angel intercessed on his behalf he recieved good news on the plight of his people.
  
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2008, 12:50:12 AM »

This could be the condition of the dammed after the judgment.

Within time and space it doesn't make sense. Remove time and space and very thing happens at the same time.

EDIT:  Fixed quote tag to make post more readable; nothing more done  - PtA

I thought about you and your theory while I was praying the hymns of Meatfare Sunday Wink
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2008, 01:03:26 AM »

Why does there have to be explicit biblical proof? There is no explicit biblical proof of the Trinity, the canon of scripture itself, etc etc etc.

But we know that the Church that produced the Bible was praying to saints when it formalized the canon.

There may only be one way to the Father, but there are many ways to Christ.  I like having and knowing the scripture as a basis for what I believe, that is just me.  Other people are fine with, my priest said it, therefore i accept it.  Others may just accept the Orthodox teachings, just because they want to marry someone who is Orthodox.  Others accept Orthodoxy merely because they were born into it, yet can't seem to quote a scripture quote nor a quote from the early church fathers, for what they believe or practice. Others have accepted Orthodox simply because the church felt good when they attended a service, while others, accepted accept it, just because they met a really cool dude named Anastasios and wanted to be just like him. Wink

And in my book, these are all means to Christ, if that is the road they want to travel to Christ, welcome. Everybody has a different personality and like different things.

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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2008, 01:10:48 AM »

I'll have to look at these other quotes and ponder of this issue, for the next couple of days.  Thanks to everybody, Frost, buzuxi, Fr Chris, Simayan, cleveland  and everybody else,  thanks. I'll give my two cents after I read over this and think about it.
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« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2008, 01:15:51 AM »

I highly recommend a book by Elder Cleopa of Romania entitled The Truth of Our Faith.  He has a chapter called On Veneration of the Saints and Angels. 
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« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2008, 02:51:27 AM »

Our Lord replied: " As for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, ' I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead; but of the living."

If Abraham, Issac and Jacob are alive in Christ, how much more his holy Mother, the martyrs, and the saints of the New Testament ! If they are alive, then they can hear !


Amen!


Yours in Christ
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« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2008, 10:46:49 AM »

This could be the condition of the dammed after the judgment.
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« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2008, 11:03:57 AM »

I thought about you and your theory while I was praying the hymns of Meatfare Sunday Wink
This is what separates us with the west. Western theology of original sin and the immaculate conception was formed because of the pagan belief that all are immortal. This happened because of the focus on sin rather than death. This little change in western theology could reunite the church.
When we read the verse below in the correct context. It falls into place.

Our Lord replied: " As for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, ' I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead; but of the living."
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« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2008, 12:34:51 PM »

There are also so many factors in how tradition is carried on and how it and the Holy Scriptures are a part of. For instance there is attestation of the saints praying for us in writing prior to the incarnation of Christ in the book of Enoch. This book was considered by many early Christians to be scriptural but eventually excluded but much of its content became interwoven into tradition. The fact that it was written in a time when divine revelation was said to still be as opposed to when it ceased (per Revelation 22:19). In Enoch 39:4, the (pseudo?) Enoch states while in a heavenly realm (where  Enoch was taken per Genesis), "There I saw another vision; I saw the habitations and couches of the saints. There my eyes beheld their habitations with the angels, and their couches with the holy ones. They were entreating, supplicating, and praying for the sons of men...." (per 19th c trnsl of Anglican Archbishop Laurence). Compare this concept to the Gospel of John 14:2 where our Saviour states, "In My Father's house are many mansions" (also dewllings or habitations) "if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." (NKJV). So the tradition is of the faith. Another aspect that may be observed is attestations of established faithful tradition in immediate post apostolic writings. For ex, abortion is explicitly condemned in the ancient catechism of the Didache (ca. 100 AD) and should be understood as implicitly condemned in scripture but I have witnessed sola scripturists express some confusion over this. Of course, most are of the pro life stance but have confusion over specifics when none should exist. I think St.Paul warns us of repeating previous mistakes in seeing holy scripture in to narrow a context when he states, "clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is of the heart." (2 Corinthians 3:3). Not debating the OP or disagreeing with anything said here just a possible perspective,
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« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2008, 12:27:03 AM »

I highly recommend a book by Elder Cleopa of Romania entitled The Truth of Our Faith.  He has a chapter called On Veneration of the Saints and Angels. 

I'll have to check this book out. Thanks Gabriel. (Shukran Jazila Ya Jibril)

Thanks recent convert.  That is definitely something to ponder on.
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« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2008, 12:33:34 AM »

I'll have to check this book out. Thanks Gabriel. (Shukran Jazila Ya Jibril)

Afwan, ya akhi. Jazak'allah khayr. Wink
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« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2008, 10:45:58 PM »

Quote
I like having and knowing the scripture as a basis for what I believe

In Rev20:4 we learn that the souls of the saints are going to live and reign with Christ for a thousand years.  (That thousand years being the age of the church from Christs dying on the cross until the end of time.)  Also in 1 Cor 6:2 St Paul says "Do you not know that the saints are going to judge the world?"  My two cents.  If the saints are reigning and will judge the world with Christ, then 1. They certainly must be aware of what is going on in the world.  The common attack against prayer to saints is that they are not omniscient and therefore can not hear or know what is going on everyone.  But if they are reigning and will help judge, then they better know whats going on.  They certainly are not going to judge in ignorance. and 2. If you have someone reigning over and judging you, you'd be a fool to not state your case to them.
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« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2008, 10:47:37 PM »

(That thousand years being the age of the church from Christs dying on the cross until the end of time.)
From whence did you get this idea?
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« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2008, 10:57:27 PM »

St. Andrew of Caesarea is the one that comes to my mind first.  (Actually I'll stand corrected, he states from the incarnation until the end of time.)  Archbishop Averky and Seraphim Rose in modern times..  There are many more if I wanted to pour through my library. 

Chiliasm was condemed at the second ecumenical council along with Apollinarius's other beliefs..   
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« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2008, 03:53:04 PM »

St. Andrew of Caesarea is the one that comes to my mind first.  (Actually I'll stand corrected, he states from the incarnation until the end of time.)  Archbishop Averky and Seraphim Rose in modern times..  There are many more if I wanted to pour through my library. 

Chiliasm was condemed at the second ecumenical council along with Apollinarius's other beliefs..   

The other version of that is called Millenialism and it was tackled at Constantinople II (5th EC). 
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