On the Intercessions of Holy Ones (Saints)

You will know, I am sure, that one of our most important duties as Christians is to pray for one another.

Our Lord prayed to the Father for His disciples, and the Apostle Paul did the same. The great Apostle also asked his converts to pray for him. When we look into the lives of the thousands of Orthodox saints, we find that all of them, without exception, were men and women, who prayed very much. The Church is a great body of people, who pray for one another. Now, it is the teaching of our Church that Christians do not stop praying when they die and go into paradise. We must never think of heaven as a place of idleness. The saints in heaven have work to do, and that work is prayer. In one sense, it is true that every faithful Orthodox Christian is a saint; but when we talk about saints, we usually mean those, who have been declared saints by the Church. When we go into our churches, the first thing we see are the holy icons. There are icons of our Lord and of angels, but most of the icons are of saints. When we stand before an icon of the Theotokos or of some other saint, we ask that holy person to pray for us. As Orthodox Christians, we have so many wonderful blessings. One of the most important of these is knowing that the whole great company of saints in heaven is available to pray for us, and they will pray for us if we ask them. And chief among these saints, of course, is the Queen of Heaven, Mary, the most holy Mother of God.

In the Book of Revelation, there is a reference to Elders in heaven bowing down before our Lord. Each of the Elders has a golden bowl full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. This refers to both the saints in heaven and the saints on earth. The verse where this reference is found (Rev. 5:8) gives proof that our prayers reach the glorified saints in heaven, who then present them for our sake to our Lord. The saints of God in heaven are very near to us, and they are filled with love for us. For this reason, they delight to take our prayers into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is His delight to answer them.