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Author Topic: Intercession prayer  (Read 314 times) Average Rating: 0
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dhinuus
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« on: June 29, 2012, 02:57:22 PM »

I am cradle Orthodox, so I guess I should be knowing the answer to something as basic as this; I guess I didn't attend enough church school. I know intercession prayer to departed Saints is biblical and have always done that. I have never thought about it from a legalistic perspective. In a recent conversation with some protestant friends some questions have come up in my mind, to which I don't have good answers. So it would be great if someone on here can help me answer these questions. My questions are:

Can the departed Saints, know what is in my heart?  Or can they only listen to what I am explicitly asking their intercession for? For example: If I ask the intercession of St. Ephraim the Syrian for healing from a disease; then St. Ephriam knows that I have this disease. But will he know that I am going thru financial troubles also if I didnt say anything about financial troubles in my intercession prayer to St. Ephraim.  Or is the ability to know the heart of another person just reserved for God?

Can we pray / converse with only departed Saints who are in Paradise? Or can a conversation be had with a departed soul in hades too ?
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2012, 03:03:12 PM »

There is clear grounds for praying to departed Saints so I would say it is ok.  As for people in Hell...I'm not sure what they could do for you.  I don't know who all is in Hell, but I pray for some people who may or may not have believed and that they are not there, and if so that the Lord have mercy on them at the final resurrection.

I am not sure if the Saints can read our hearts or not, but I would assume that as Saints and being spirits these days, I don't think you have to speak out loud and spell out everything.  And when it gets down to it, I don't ask the Saints to do things for me, I ask them to intercede to Christ that He might hear my prayer and do something.  Then again, I have read of Saints doing things, though it is generally through the power of God.  (For instance, in the akathist I usually read some commanders were unjustly thrown into prison and so St. Nicholas appeared to the Emperor in a dream, terrifying him, and ordering him to set them free unharmed.)
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witega
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2012, 03:21:22 PM »

Can we pray / converse with only departed Saints who are in Paradise? Or can a conversation be had with a departed soul in hades too ?

We can pray to reposed individuals who are not recognized saints--indeed, this is part of how most saints end up being formally glorified: people think that person X was probably a saint and so they pray to him or her and if those prayers are answered then that becomes evidence considered by the bishops when they are determing whether to formally recognize a saint or not.

Deliberately trying to contact someone in Hades would probably fall under the Church's injunctions against necromancy and witchcraft. But, aside from the formally glorified saints, we don't actually know where any one among the dead is--such judgement is reserved to God. So if there is someone whom you feel close too and wish to pray to them, go right ahead. If they are a saint but not yet recognized, you may get a response, if they are not then your prayers to and for them are still an act of love on your part.
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2012, 04:31:10 PM »

Remember hell is the individual experience of the presence of god.
Those who love god paradise, for those who do not eternal suffering.

I have to agree we do not know anyone's condition after death so I would not hesitate to ask for intercession from them.

I would also think only God can know the heart, if he allows a saint or anyone else in on it is beyond me, but I would hope so.
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Zenovia
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2012, 04:34:31 PM »

I am cradle Orthodox, so I guess I should be knowing the answer to something as basic as this; I guess I didn't attend enough church school. I know intercession prayer to departed Saints is biblical and have always done that. I have never thought about it from a legalistic perspective. In a recent conversation with some protestant friends some questions have come up in my mind, to which I don't have good answers. So it would be great if someone on here can help me answer these questions. My questions are:

Can the departed Saints, know what is in my heart?  Or can they only listen to what I am explicitly asking their intercession for? For example: If I ask the intercession of St. Ephraim the Syrian for healing from a disease; then St. Ephriam knows that I have this disease. But will he know that I am going thru financial troubles also if I didnt say anything about financial troubles in my intercession prayer to St. Ephraim.  Or is the ability to know the heart of another person just reserved for God?

Can we pray / converse with only departed Saints who are in Paradise? Or can a conversation be had with a departed soul in hades too ?

I think the reason our prayers are answered by Saints is so  we can grow in our faith.  In that case if something is not being prayed for, then there would be no reason for a saint to help, although I do believe they know what's in our hearts.  Discernment is a charism that's given to most believers, even while they're still alive.   

  I have a problem though with saints being in Paradise, since many seem to be still alive and kind of in between this world and heaven.  I know that the first forty days after someone dies, they remain on earth, could this also be with saints? I say this because an Evangelical insisted on a forum that when someone is dead they are dead...and yet, I know people who have seen and spoken to saints. 

I know that the RCC Saint Therese of Liseaux asked God not to take her to heaven yet because she wants to help people on earth.  I know that Saint Dionysius of Zakynthos roams the earth, and each year as proof of this phenomenon,   his shoes are worn out when his coffin is opened.  Also knocking can be heard at Saint Nektarios' tomb when one prays and I know of cases of where he appeared physically to people. 

  Could this desire on the part of some saints not to be taken to heaven, be the reason so many miracles occur through their intercession and not through the intercession of other glorified saints?  In that case then, the Evangelical that insisted that when a person is dead they are dead would be right, since these saints are not really dead.

I think  it's best not to discard what other Christians believe and say, and instead to look for truths within their beliefs.  I'm saying this especially for Protestants, who somehow like to discard so much of what God is revealing with His saints,  but it can also be said for us Orthodox in regard to other Christian faiths. Wink
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