A fuller title for this post would have included the words “and not Mother Theresa,” though this not about her life and achievements. A week or so ago it was announced by the Roman Catholic Church the Mother Theresa was to be made a saint. The grounds for this being that according to their theology after a second miracle has been deemed to have occurred as a result somebody praying to Mother Theresa. Praying to the Saints is something that tends to bring a reaction amongst Protestants along the lines of “we’re having none of that around here!” If you resist the temptation of a knee-jerk reaction and step back and analyse the logic behind it then you might be surprised to find that many outside Roman Catholicism use the similar logic in practice. How many of us think it would be a good thing if somebody else prayed on our behalf? If you answer yes, then you are halfway to accepting the idea of praying to the Saints. The problem is that prayer is not just a petition to God, a wish list, but a conversation between you and God. Just because other people are more eloquent than you does not mean that God would prefer to deal with them rather than you. If Christianity is about building a relationship with God, initially through the cross and the shed blood of Jesus, then God want to talk to us directly and not through an intermediary other than Jesus himself. After all we do pray in Jesus’ name. The problem arises when what we are praying for requires a major intervention on God’s behalf, such as healing from a serious illness, or an important job interview, then we feel the need, not only to share prayer needs, but to seek someone out who will act as our representative before God. This might be your minister/vicar/pastor or it might be some other ministry that one has heard about through the Christian media such as Joyce Meyer Ministries to name but one of many. Having others to pray with you is one thing, but using others to pray instead of you is an abdication of responsibility. That is the danger. The basic fear behind this is that our own prayers are not good enough and we need someone more spiritually mature than us before God will agree with want we want. But if God loves us so much as to send His Son to die in our place then He also loves to talk with no matter how inarticulate we are. He wants to talk with us in a meaningful conversation so there should be no need for us to be afraid, providing we are being genuine. I write this post as much as for myself as for others, because I have to admit that prayer is not one of my strong points and I know that God wants to hear more from me as well.
David Rose, 2015.