“By the intercessions of the Theotokos, Savior, save us”
I believe Orthodox people believe that the intercession of Mary on behalf of believers is not the same as Christ’s (you can correct me on this), so I will not go to all the Scripture that speaks of Christ as the intercessor and only mediator between God and man. But from what I understand Orthodox belief is that just as we pray for each other, and ask each other to pray for each other, so we can ask Mary, as well as any other Saint who is now past from this life into the next. I have a problem with this.Here are my problems: First – the Bible NEVER states that we should ask those who have died and gone on to the next life to pray on our behalf.
Second, while it is true that I ask my fellow saints to pray for me, I do so by actually speaking to them or writing to them, NEVER by asking them in prayer to pray for me. The belief that saints who have past from this life into the next have the capability to hear everyone’s prayer is TOTALLY different than me asking a friend to pray for me who is still living on this earth. By teaching that saints in the next life can hear us when we ask them to pray on our behalf gives them a status that the Bible gives only to the Godhead. God is the one who hears our prayers. “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 John 5:14) God hears us, not the saints in the next life. Saints in the next life are never said to have the capability to hear thousands of requests for them to pray from those on earth.
The Orthodox Church makes it seem like when they ask a saint to pray on their behalf it is just like me asking a friend who is still on earth to pray for me. But it is in no way the same – for if I, right now, in my mind, ask one of my fellow brothers who is alive to pray for me, they will not hear me.
It is not the same.
Asking a saint in the next life to pray for you is blasphemy, making them equal with God. They are not equal – they are human.
Our salvation is not on the basis of works, our salvation is based on Christ – so it is with our prayers – God hears us because of Christ, my being “super-holy” gains no favor with God when I come to him in prayer. A saint who is in the next life has no more “power” in prayer than a saint here on earth – for it is God who works, not man. God answers prayer according to His will, not the will of men.
And third: The litergy asks that we would be saved BY the intercessions of Mary. The Bible explicitly states we are saved BY grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
I am not saved BY the prayers of anyone. Their prayers are NOT the power unto salvation – God is the power behind the Gospel. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)
Mary has nothing to do with anyone’s salvation – she was a sinner, in need of a savior (Luke 1:47). Salvation is of God, not by the prayers or by the “intersession” of Mary or anyone else. Yes, we pray that men might be saved, but it is God who saves, NOT our prayers.
Why would I want to go to Mary, when through Christ, I have direct access to God, on the throne of grace?