When I became Catholic from Southern Baptist, I was introduced to the doctrine of the communion of saints, and “praying to saints.”
My first question was: why should I ask a saint in Heaven to pray for me when I could just go directly to God?
The answer may surprise you (it did me!).
Why Pray to Saints?
The sincerest friendship that you will find is in God’s saints.
The Catholic Church declares people saints only when they demonstrated their heroic virtue and loyalty to God, and therefore they are the very best of humanity.
Thus they are God’s favorites, because during their earthly lives, they made Christ their favorite.
They served God unswervingly, with dogged perseverance, with all their hearts and minds, through thick and thin, denying Christ nothing.
Do the Saints Care Up in Heaven?
Part of me thought, well, the saints are up in Heaven now; their worries are gone, why should they care about me and my needs?
Ah, but you see, the saints in Heaven want nothing more than to see God glorified by men.
They enjoy the perfect life with God in Heaven, and they want to bring us with them, for us to have that same joy, to share it with them. This is perfect charity, and the saints possess it.
We honor God when we honor His friends. Any friend of God’s is a friend of mine, can be our motto.
And this is the key point: when we ask them to join us in prayer for our needs, we are doing the wisest thing possible, because we may not deserve the favors we are asking for.
That’s right, the saints are actually more powerful in their prayers than we are, because of the unselfish way in which they lived their lives, and so we can “leverage” their merit when we make our requests to God.
The Saints Lived For the Noblest of Purposes
The saints lived their lives for God above all. That is the highest purpose to live for, and they made it their sole focus.
They eschewed profit, fame, worldly honor and favors, and instead stuck with God, seeking to follow Him, to be conformed to Him, to love Him with all their hearts.
So when we establish a friendship through prayer with His saints, we are aligning ourselves with allies who are the very model of people that we wish to emulate.
The saints’ prayers and friendship are thus a strong help for us, and we should avail ourselves of them whenever we can.
Novenas = Nine Days of Saintly Prayers
This discussion brings us full circle to the question of, why pray a novena?
Novenas are nine-day prayers that typically ask a saint to pray for us in our intentions.
Since asking for the prayers of God’s saints is such an efficacious practice all by itself, it stands to reason that praying with the saints for nine days at a time, for a specific request, is a wonderful and laudable thing to do.
It took me a while to get used to praying novenas, but now they are second nature for me.
In fact, when I want to pray for something, my default, go-to prayer is a novena.
Praying novenas has the added benefit of learning about that particular saint, who they were, what they did, how they lived heroically virtuous lives.
If you don’t yet know how to pray a novena, no problem. It is three simple steps. I made a concise explanation of how to pray a novena to get you going in minutes.
Already know how to pray a novena? Great! For the past seventeen years as a Catholic praying different novenas, I compiled the list of the most powerful and popular novenas in the Church for you to choose one easily.