Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Prayer of the Saints
We had an interesting conversation at dinner last night. We started talking about Martin Luther and whether he was German or not. After answering in the affirmative I recounted how Martin Luther became a monk….”Save me, St. Anne and I will become a monk,” so he said as he trembled in a thunder storm. My wife observed, “You know, I find the Saints to be distracting.” She said, it seemed odd to become closer to Christ by praying to someone else. I, of course, said that we merely ask for prayers from those in heaven as we would ask for prayers from those on earth.
After the conversation moved on, I thought about something I could have said (but as is usual I always think of clever things to say after moment is passed). ..I remember when I went to a Pentecostal church, my friend and mentor, Dave, said whenever he had a unique problem that needed special prayer he would seek out a specific person (whose name escapes me). She was a very godly women- old, weather beaten and close to Christ- and it seemed whenever she was asked to pray for something, when she did, God answered her. So my friend Dave would save special problems for her. If he needed prayer for something mundane, I would do but those life moments that demanded special attention, this old lady who was so close to Christ that her prayers were always answered, was the one he sought out to pray at the altar with him after a church service.
Isn’t that what the Saints in heaven do for us? They are close to Christ and we ask for their special prayers in times of crisis. My wife seemed to be turned off by the Catholic’s “worship of Saints” which, I admit, I have seen in times past. Saints must be given honor while God alone receives worship. I think that this abuse- that is, undue attention given to Saints at the expense of Christ- sullies the whole practice of asking the “Communion of Saints” to pray for us. But, as with everything else with the Reformation, the baby was thrown out with the bath water. That’s a shame because I know I can use all the prayer I can get!