A family member of the Catholic faith once posted on social media that by “praying to St. Anthony for help, he will be right on it; and you will always be grateful to know him.”
By stating this, whether knowing or not, she was stating that St. Anthony was the reason why prayer will be answered. The problem with this is that this is putting faith in St. Anthony and not God as if God is refusing to hear her prayers.
The Bible truth is that GOD HEARS ALL OUR PRAYERS and ONLY GOD can answer prayers.
I know this is a prayer to St Anthony to pray for a person, as to say Anthony is dead and is present with the Lord. So He is closer to God to pray on her behalf. Raised from birth in the Roman Catholic religion, I was brought up believing this too. However, since actually reading the Bible, I never understood doing this because I cannot find doing this instructed anywhere in the Bible.
First, as a believer in Christ and the atonement for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2) that He provided on the cross for us, Apostle Paul tells us that at our very moment of belief on Christ alone for Salvation, a person is SEALED by the Holy Spirit who indwells the person forever from that moment on (Ephesians 1:13-14) until our bodily resurrection. With God now residing WITHIN US, how much closer can we get to God? Why is there any need of praying to a person that is dead when God is right here WITHIN US NOW as we are experiencing troubles? (Galatians 2:16-21)
Apostle Paul wrote,
“For there is ONE God,and ONE mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself A RANSOM for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Timothy 2: 5-6 KJV).
The Bible also says that Jesus intercedes on believer’s behalf to the Father,
“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (Romans 8:34 KJV)
If Jesus Christ HIMSELF is interceding for us, why the need to pray to a dead person? What we need is to have faith IN JESUS who is interceding for us already. He should be our only object of faith, shouldn’t he?
Jesus Himself prayed to the Father for us before His death and resurrection,
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, EVEN AS WE ARE ONE:” (John 17:20-22 KJV)
Do you think that prayer was answered? Absolutely! So, if a believer is one with Christ and Christ in us and we are now one with the Father. THAT IS REALLY INTIMATE AND CLOSE!!
Second is that we, as believers, have been completely forgiven for all the sins of our life (past/present/future) because Christ paid for all the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2) on the cross. By belief on Christ’s finished ‘once for all sacrifice’ (Hebrews 10:10) for the payment of all sins we have been made into a NEW CREATURE (2 Corinthians 5:1) called The Spirit and are from the very moment of belief SEALED by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14, Ephesians 4:30, 2 Corinthians 1:22) and MADE the very righteousness of God, in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Now, Stop and read that last paragraph again. Look up the Scripture references. This is not my opinion. It is what the Word of God clearly teaches. Let that soak into your mind! It should make us want to shout out loud! Hallelujah!
That is why it states in Hebrews,
“Let us therefore COME BOLDLY unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and FIND GRACE to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16 KJV)
I am not trying to step on the toes of Catholic believers here. It is not my opinion that even matters. I was brought up believing this way too. I was taught this in Catholic High school. Priests have taught this to me.
The things is, I just cannot find it in Scripture anywhere. And NO ONE has been able to show me it is taught in the Bible anywhere either (unless context is ignored on a verse). And so, I gotta stick to what the Word of God says, the Bible. Church pulpits are not always right. I am not picking on just the RCC leadership in saying this. Most denominational Church religions each have some traditions they created without Scriptural backing. So does the Roman Catholic Church and I believe that praying to dead Saints or even Mary is one of the teachings without Scriptural backing.
Some people I know say that this prayer to St. Anthony works and has worked for them more then once. Their testimony makes me believe that it actually worked. I am not refuting that. If you experienced it… you did!
But my point is that maybe it works because they use their FAITH that GOD HEARS THE PRAYER. Maybe because God sees what is going on and wants to heal the issue anyway because He loves us and sees our heart. Maybe because Jesus is already interceding to the Father. Yet I wonder that maybe, going directly to the source of our faith (JESUS) is a better way we should pray in faith that God does hear our prayers and does answer them? In fact, the Bible definition of a SAINT is any person that accepts Christ as savior and Lord.
Another dark side could also be the reason for some such prayers to be answered. We see in Matthew 7 that Jesus is talking about false prophets (verse 15) who believe the are saved because of their works. They even cast out demons in the name of Jesus, yet Jesus will say to them at judgement day to ” I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:32 KJV).
Jesus will tell them the worst news of their lives; He never KNEW them and so they were not believers on Christ for Salvation but rather had faith in their works to save them. They thought they were ‘good enough’ by their own merit in self righteous deeds to be saved but they were wrong – seriously wrong! Jesus is warning them and us about something here.
First, Salvation is not by works but by faith and belief alone in Jesus finished work (John 3:14-18, Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4..etc).
Second, we see that these unbelievers did cast out demons in Jesus name! The question is, without the indwelling Holy Spirit of a believer, HOW COULD THEY? It could be that the devil’s angels were casting fellow demons out to deceive these people to stay in their unbelief on Christ alone knowing it would in the end blind them to the true Gospel through Christ crucified.
Let this be a warning to everyone! If an unbeliever prays to the devil himself and it comes to pass, is it from God or was it fallen angels working behind the scenes making something happen in a person’s life? SCARY THOUGHT! Ephesians 6 tells us that is exactly what fallen angels are doing! It is called the ‘wiles of the devil’ and there is an importance to putting on the full armor of God to stand firm in faith in God alone and HIS MIGHT (Ephesians 6:10).
By the Word of God, I know the truth and the truth is that my prayers directly to God in faith ARE HEARD BY GOD. Answers are sometimes a YES and sometimes it is a YES with a delayed answer (as God knows the best timing) and sometimes the answer is simply a NO! We need to acknowledge that although we are struggling with something, God has a plan and purpose for everything we face in life. He has it all planned out from the very foundation of the world! Long before you and I were born. And in the end His purposes and plans are always the best.
Jesus said to encourage us,
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world YE SHALL HAVE tribulation: but BE OF GOOD CHEER; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 KJV)
Place your trust in Him alone. Give Him all the glory in all things (the good, the bad and the down right ugly). And TRUST GOD in all things, even when we do not understand.