by Matt Slick
Roman Catholics Frequently tell me that the Saints in heaven can hear our prayers. When I ask for documentation from Scripture to support their view, they always turned to the book of Revelation.
- “When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the Saints. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth,” (Revelation 5:8–10).
- “Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the Saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the Saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake,” (Revelation 8:3–5).
They interpret these verses to mean that the Saints can hear our prayers. Of course, that's not what the Scriptures are saying there, but in their desperation to find something in the Bible to support their view, this is where they go. Obviously, Their position is very weak. Scripture does not support the idea that saints can hear our prayers. Nevertheless, following are questions I have for the Catholics. If Catholics were to respond, perhaps I could include their responses in an updated version of this article.
Questions for Catholics about the Saints hearing our prayers
- What does it mean that the Saints in heaven hear our prayers?
- Does it mean that they hear our prayers with their ears?
- Does it mean that they hear our prayers in their minds?
- Do the Saints who hear our prayers, read our thoughts if we don't pray out loud?
- If the Saints are hearing our prayers audibly, then are they hearing the prayers of millions of people all over the world simultaneously?
- If the Saints are hearing our prayers audibly, are they hearing the prayers of millions of people all over the world simultaneously in different languages?
- Does God transfer our prayers to the Saints so they can hear them since only God is omnipresent?
- Does God convert our prayers to one single language so the Saints can understand them all?
- Does God slow down the prayers so that one after another is heard by the Saints instead of all of them simultaneously?
- Do the Saints answer our prayers?
- If the Saints answer our prayers, where is that in Scripture?
- If the Saints answer our prayers, how do you know this is the case?
- If the Saints answer our prayers, how to the accomplish the answers?
- If the Saints do not answer our prayers, then what's the purpose of them hearing them?
- If the Saints don't answer our prayers, do they transfer the prayers to God?
- If the Saints transfer our prayers to God, why is that necessary since God already knows all the prayers?
- Do ALL the Saints hear ALL our prayers ALL the time?
- Do ALL of the Saints hear ALL of our prayers SOME of the time?
- Do ALL of the Saints hear SOME of our prayers SOME of the time?
- Do SOME of the Saints hear ALL of our prayers ALL of the time?
- Do SOME of the Saints hear SOME of our prayers ALL of the time?
- Do SOME of the Saints hear SOME of our prayers SOME of the time?
- Do ALL or SOME of the Saints in heaven know all earthly languages all at the same time so they can hear all prayers?
Of course, I don't expect any Roman Catholic ever to try and answer these questions. But, I think that asking questions like this is important because they can help us think about the issues at hand. I could imagine a Roman Catholic trying to answer every one of these. Perhaps if such a Catholic did, it might bring him to the place of serious consideration of this issue and the ramifications of what this form of their idolatry presents.