You Don’t Need to Ask Jesus’ Mother, This is Good News

Given that it was a Catholic hospital, I suppose I shouldn’t have been shocked. Yet, I’d never had this happen before and did not realize this belief was still around.

Moments after I prayed with an elderly man going into surgery, his anesthesiologist informed us it was his turn to pray. I do not remember the specific words he prayed, all I remember is his asking the blessed Virgin Mary to bring his patient back and watch over him during the surgery. His prayer didn’t catch me off guard as much as his explanation.

His mother, he said, had taught him to pray this prayer to Mary (or perhaps rather to ask Mary to pray to Jesus for him). He was certain that the prayer would be answered because as any good son would do, Jesus listens to his mother. He used Mary’s words at the Wedding of Cana as proof that Jesus will even reluctantly obey his mother.

I knew of this teaching historically, I simply did not know it was still present. When I teach on Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation I use Luther’s prayer to St. Anne to explain how the common person in Luther’s day viewed the Lord Jesus. I also use this as a bridge to show why the biblical gospel is so much sweeter.

Michael Reeves summarizes well:

“…as the knowledge of God declined so Christ receded into heaven. People felt they simply couldn’t approach him. They didn’t know of him as a Savior. And so that being the case, if you can’t approach Christ as a compassionate and faithful high priest who will intercede for us, we need mediators between us and Christ himself. So the thought grew: Well, if I can’t approach Christ, I will approach his mum who will put in a good word for me to Christ. And so people would begin to pray to Mary who would pray to Christ who would intercede with the Father. This actually started getting even stronger. Mary herself started acquiring this very exalted position as the Queen of Heaven and so people thought I should pray to her mother to put in a good word with her who will put in a good word with Jesus. And so the cult of Anne began, Anne being the mother of Mary.” (cf. The Unquenchable Flame)

It is also true that Luther likely prayed to St. Anne because she was the special saint for miners (as Luther’s father had been a miner). He wouldn’t have even thought of praying directly to Jesus, though. I had thought this way of thinking was long buried, but apparently at least one anesthesiologist in Southwest Missouri still holds this view.

I wish had the opportunity to share the gospel with this gentleman. His explanation for the prayer would have served as a tremendous bridge for the gospel. Sadly, he had to quickly wheel the elderly man behind the shroud and into the uncertainty of surgery. Hopefully someday I can share with him how the veil which stood between us and God has been torn by the work of Christ. Because of what Jesus accomplished on the Cross we do not need to go through another mediator. “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”.

The beauty of the gospel is that God the Father listens. He hears. He cares. He is satisfied with us, because of what Jesus accomplished. We have direct access to God through Jesus. There is no need to talk to Jesus’ mother, we can talk directly to God. In fact He is interceding on our behalf even now. When I ended my prayer, “in Jesus name” there was absolutely no need to invoke the mother of Jesus. In fact, it’s insulting and gospel denying to do this.

Our prayers are heard and answered not because of our righteousness (or even someone’s standing as his mother) instead our prayers are heard and answered because of the finished work of Jesus Christ. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

3 Comments

  1. “In fact, it’s insulting and gospel denying to do this.” Is sad you don’t see the mother of God as your mother too. Probably you are right about is not necessary to ask God trough Mary but there is nothing wrong with it She is still God’s delight.

  2. Mike:
    Did you ever ask your mother or a good friend to help you with anything? Same as asking the Mother of God to intercede on your behalf. Isn’t that what happened with the water to wine?

    • You need to change your analogy a little. Of course I asked my mother or a friend to help me accomplish something that I was not able to on my own. But that isn’t the case here. We do not need to ask Mary to intercede on our behalf. The Father is pleased with us because of the work of His Son. He is the mediator. He is the intercessor.

      A better analogy would be to say that I’m asking my mother for a toy because she is more inclined to give it to me than my father. And so if she has the heart of my father I ask her to open up his heart.

      But this is not necessary. The father’s heart is opened wide to us. This is why I say that asking for her intercession is a slap in the face of Christ. He has already opened the way. To ask someone else to talk to the Lord for us, to intercede (intervene on behalf of another) is to make an assumption that denies the gospel.

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