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ROBERT - I've been going back and forth with this very devout Roman catholic about doctrine. Specifically the doctrine of worship. Prayer to be more detailed when I say worship. He loves to go on and on that it is very biblical, historical, and very factual that it's okay to pray "using," or pray "for others to pray" for me or anyone. Others as in saints like especially the Virgin Mary. The bible is quite clear we pray only to God and we only are to use our great intercessor Jesus Christ if anyone else in prayer right? Please be as specific as you can on how we should break it to others we need no one but God and or Jesus Christ for any prayer at all.
JOEL - As you already mentioned the scriptures tell us that it is God the Father we pray to and Jesus was the best example of that while He was on the earth and gave directions on how and who to pray to:
"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For
thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matt 6: 9-13)
"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matt 6:6)
"And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you."(John 16: 23)
"For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5)
"And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matt 26: 39)
Jesus tells us to pray to "Our Father which art in heaven" and "in my name" and Paul said Jesus is the only mediator between Him and the Father. The scriptures don't mention any other person or being that our prayers should be directed to or through, including Mary.We don't have to ask someone else to ask God for us when we can go directly to the source ourselves. We should follow His direction and example.
When Catholics pray to a specific saint, such as the Virgin Mary, they do so asking the saint to intercede for them on their behalf before the throne of God in heaven. They believe that such beings have a closer connection to Jesus and God than others might. So when they do that they are not praying directly to God but praying to someone else to deliver their prayer to Him. Even here on earth we ask others to pray for us, and there's nothing wrong with that. But we are not praying to our friends to pray to God we are only asking them to do that.Jesus told us in the scriptures a prayer should only be directly to God the Father. Catholics also do that of course when they recite the Lords prayer.
Mary was obviously one of those who were noble and great in the preexistence, and like others was foreordained to the ministry she performed. The Father would choose the greatest female spirit to be the mother of his Son, as he chose the male spirit like unto him to be the Savior. This is not to say that we should give any heed or credence to the false doctrines that say that Mary is an intercessor who hears prayers and pleads with her Son on behalf of those who pray to her. It may be historical but it's not scriptural and I doubt any Catholic can find a scripture to directly support the doctrine. They are mostly making what one might call logical assumptions from some hints in the Bible. Regardless of this, we should nonetheless maintain a balanced view and hold up Mary with that proper high esteem which is hers.
"Breaking" this to others might be the wrong attitude when conversing with those of the Catholic faith or any faith. Their religion has been around much longer than ours and so they are thinking "what do you know about religion and God?" It's just best, rather than to argue and debate and have an I'm right and you're wrong attitude, to have cordial conversations and explain what you believe supported by scripture and let them say what they believe and leave it at that.
"A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still".
Having said all this, it's hard to condemn anyone who offers a sincere prayer from the heart, regardless of who their God is that they pray to. Personally I think that "The" God listens in to most all righteous prayers of those seeking help in humility and faith.
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