To Whom Do You Pray?

To whom do YOU pray when you seek heavenly blessing, protection or mercy for others? Do you light a candle, perhaps some incense, before a statue or other image of some fictional heavenly character? Do you place a 'donation' in the hands of a priest and ask him to offer a Mass for your 'intentions'? Do you fast or engage in self-abasement so that you might offer your suffering in advance payment for what you ask? These are some of the ways that Catholic faithful invoke heavenly intervention.

Christians, on the other hand, pray to the one God of heaven and earth. Christians know that God is omniscient; that He knows everything about everything, including those things that we should not do but do anyway. (1 John 3:20) How can He know this? For one thing, the Holy Spirit indwells every believer and speaks to Him of us.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?--1 Corinthians 6:19

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
—Romans 8:26-27

For those who would care to read an example of Catholic intercessory prayer I offer these words published by a former emperor of the Catholic world, John Paul II:

O Mary,
bright dawn of the new world,
Mother of the living,
to you do we entrust the cause of life:
Look down, O Mother,
upon the vast numbers
of babies to be born,
of the poor whose lives are made difficult,
of men and women
who are victims of brutal violence,
of the elderly and the sick killed
by indifference or out of misguided mercy.
Grant that all who believe in your Son
may proclaim the Gospel of life
with honesty and love
to the people of our time.
Obtain for them the grace
to accept that Gospel
as a gift ever new,
the joy of celebrating it with gratitude
throughout their lives
and the courage to bear witness to it
resolutely, in order to build,
together with all people of good will,
the civilization of truth and love,
to the praise and glory of God,
the Creator and lover of life.

Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter The Gospel of Life; March 25, 1995

To whom do Catholic shamans pray? The following words from the Latin Mass provide an example of priestly prayer:

I confess to Almighty God, to Blessed Mary Ever Virgin, to Blessed Michael the Archangel, to Blessed John the Baptist, to the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to you, brothers, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, deed: through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault, and I ask Blessed Mary Ever Virgin, Blessed Michael the Archangel, Blessed John the Baptist, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, all the Saints, and you brothers, to pray for me to the Lord our God.-- Tour of the Old Mass, ©1996-2004

I can't speak for other Christians, but it is a fact that I was greatly comforted by the words of the 23rd Psalm during my three tours of duty in Southeast Asia (at a time when I was not a believer) and at other times when danger threatened:

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
--Psalm 23

When a member of the Catholic faithful senses danger I suspect that he is most likely to seek the protection of a created or fictional being, such as in the following:

Saint Michael the Archangel,
Defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
By the power of God, thrust into hell
Satan and all evil spirits
who wander through the world
for the ruin of souls.
-- Prayer to St. Michael Archangel, Our Lady of Guadalupe web site

To whom do you turn? To God or to some created being or counterfeit god?

Think about it.

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