Intercessory Prayer is Powerful

pray, prayer, kenosis

And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before ( Job 42:10).

I pray with a couple of intercessory prayer groups each week.  We pray for many things.  Peace in the World, for our Priests, for our Parish, for Healing in families, and the conversion of sinners.  With one of the groups, we pray for specific individuals and intentions and healing that may be needed.

I know a lot of you out there are also praying daily.  Many of you may have been praying for something for a  long time being patient and persevering in prayer.  I just wanted to write this to encourage you because of a moment I had in prayer the other day;  because sometimes it feels like we have been praying and praying, and yet nothing happens.  One thing I do know for sure is that we need to make sure the prayers are aligned with the will of God.  God desires our sanctification, which often involves suffering.  We can offer this suffering and unite it to his cross.  God wants his children to be saved.

So I was driving to work the other morning talking to God.  I was thanking Him and praising Him for getting a hold of me and my heart.  I was remembering how steeped in sin I had been,  how miserable with panic attacks I had been, how I had relied on medication to function, and how God in His goodness set me free.  But then I questioned Him and asked why Lord?  Why me?  A lot of people are struggling, and a lot of people pray for you to free them, so why me? I know that after Veronica’s murder I started talking to you, but hadn’t I at least tried to a little bit before that?  Why did you talk so clearly to me then?

Michael Fallon

At that moment I got the overwhelming feeling of the presence of Michael Fallon.   He was a friend of mine who, due to addiction issues, had held me hostage in college who later repented and entered seminary.  He had such a love for the Blessed Sacrament that an image of it was placed on his gravestone after he passed away.

Michael passed away in 2011 a little over a year after Veronica’s murder.  And here I was in the car, feeling clearly his presence, and the Lord gave me an image in my head.  It was Michael, while he was in seminary, in front of the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration, praying for me, the girl he had held hostage.  He was praying for me, with Jesus, long after I had lost contact with him.

I was so overcome I burst into tears.  Though I cannot ever verify this, I know it to be true.  And then I realized the greatest tragedy in the whole world are people who have no one to pray for them.  And I had an even greater understanding of the Mystical Body, and the Mass, why this Corporate communal Mass of worshiping God is so important and beautiful.  When we offer our own intentions in Mass, instead of mindlessly attending, amazing things happen.

Asking Those Who Have Died to Pray


The three states of the Church. “When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is”‘

All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbors, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit form one Church and in Christ cleave together.

“So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods.

The intercession of the saints. “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness. . . . They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus . . . . So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.”Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life.

“I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth” (CCC 954-956).

Intercessory Prayer

Imagine for a second, if you would, that every Priest and every parish, offered Mass for the country.  A Mass, free of political agenda, but with the intention of asking God for what He wants for our country and asking Him to bless it.  I believe the country would look different if we did this.  As it stands, only a few Priests do this – and yet their prayers with ours still have an effect and matter, but the Body is disjointed.   Suddenly, I understand why Our Lady asked the children at Fatima to relay that the Pope and Bishops should consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart.

I believe this got done, but it was done the way we humans seem to do many things, not immediately, not joyfully, and not completely.  It was the opposite of the way my Spiritual Director says Saints in heaven do things.

And so though we do see the conversion of Russia happening, it is messy and incomplete.  And she has spread her errors starting in China and moving from there.  We see once free people embrace that ideology.  And our own church barters with the state, leaving the faithful lost and abandoned.  The effects of not listening to the way heaven asks us to do things spread far and wide.

If we could see the entity that caused us to fear when heaven asked us to do something, we would obey heaven immediately, knowing that entity only wishes our destruction and heaven wants life and life abundantly.  Our communal prayer could drastically change things if we would simply listen to heaven, and pray together, joyfully, immediately and fully.

I do know and believe that Mary’s Immaculate Heart will triumph.  It’s just going to be a bumpy ride because of our incomplete intercessory prayer and cooperation.

Souls in Purgatory

I will leave you with one more story I came across a story awhile back that drove home the point of intercessory prayer to me. It is in a book called The Amazing Secret of the Souls in Purgatory, an Interview with Maria Simma.  Maria Simma was a simple country woman who prayed for the souls in purgatory.

In the book, Maria relays a story of a man on a train who wouldn’t stop speaking evil of the church, of priests, and of God.  Maria prayed one single prayer for this man, “Lord do not let this soul be lost.”

Years later the man appeared to her after his death.  He told her he had come very close to hell but was saved by God through HER prayer (and his final cooperation). Without her prayer this man would probably not have received the mercy of purgatory.  Wow.

Do not lose heart with all the things we see going on around us.  Pray, pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament, Pray with your friends, have Masses said.  It will unite hearts, and bring healing.  Praying together makes us a fierce force to be reckoned with.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God ( Philippians 4:6).

Michael Patrick Fallon, pray for us.  And we will pray for you.

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30 thoughts on “Intercessory Prayer is Powerful”

  1. This week’s Gospel is from Matthew 4. The most interesting portion is the final discourse between Jesus and the devil.
    “At this, Jesus said to him, Away with you, Satan! Scripture has it:
    ‘You shall do homage to the Lord your God; him alone shall you adore.’”

  2. To Melanie and Susan:
    So, basically you really don’t want any discourse that contradicts your opinion.
    Keep in mind what Jesus had to say in Matthew 10: 34-39.
    Is not Susan doing what she accuses me of doing?

  3. To Melanie:
    Sorry, I must respectfully disagree with your decision.
    The author made far more comments that went unanswered.
    In all fairness, I request that you post my latest comment.

    1. No Robert, it actually boils down to one thing. You are asking people to disregard all of those who came before you. You are asking us to believe that God has picked you to reveal the interpretation of Scripture too, even though there were many who came before you, including those in the early church who definitely was celebrating Mass. You disregard everyone else. I think we have covered that enough and at this time we are done. If you want your argument, refuted read the Church Fathers; it is all there. Peace be with you.

    1. I appreciate how you interact with our writers; you question and challenge respectfully, always backing up your points with scripture. However, the author felt she had addressed all your points already and replying to your lastest comment would be repetitious. I always cut off comments if they become circular.

  4. To Susan:

    My original objection to your article was your “suggestion” to pray to the dead and the assumption that someone is in heaven.
    Jesus never told us to pray to the dead, or for the dead. In fact, his statement in Matthew 8:22 goes a step further.
    Likewise, Jesus told us that no has gone to heaven. He told his closest followers that he would come back for them. Peter told the Jews on Pentecost, after a Jesus ascended to the Father, that King David was not in heaven.
    All of the New Testament manuscripts were written before Justin Martyr was born.
    The Last Supper was the Seder Supper for Passover on the night that Our Lord was betrayed. At that meal he also said, “I tell you, I will not drink this fruit of the vine from now until the day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s reign”. The kingdom of God on earth has not yet been established, according to the Book of Revelation. See Chapters 20 and 21. Paul wrote about it in 1 Corinthians 15: 20-26.
    Thank God for his gift to us of his Son, the Living Word of God.

  5. To Susan:
    Jesus celebrated the Passover before his death, not the mass.
    He was a devote Jew who celebrated all the Feasts according to the scriptures.
    Jesus came to fulfill the law, not abolish the law.
    He didn’t start a new religion.

    1. He did tell them to do it in remembrance of Him, and they did. You can’t just ignore what the early church learned from Him. We have historical record of them celebrating Mass. He told them in John chapter 6 they had to eat of His flesh and drink His blood. He even changed the Greek verb to emphasize his point. His followers walk away from this teaching in John 6:66. I don’t think it is coincidence that walking away from the Eucharist is marked with the number of the beast. One reason I will not ever leave the church is because I know His presence in the Eucharist is true. I read what Jesus said, and what the church taught and I realized we worship with our body and soul to His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. No other church offers that. And it was Christ Himself who instituted it.

    1. Robert, you have that exactly backwards. You have made yourself a Pope by removing yourself from communion with the whole body. You are trusting your own interpretation instead of thousands of years of teaching of the body of Christ. The early church stuck together and worked it out. They had a leader in Peter and his successors and worked with one another. They prayed for one another, including the dead. The tomb of the Christian Abercius of Hieropolis in Phrygia bears the inscription: “Let every friend who observes this pray for me. ” Tertullian, a church father speaks of prayers for the dead. I write an article about praying for one another and you, who have your own interpretation of Scripture, attack the thought of praying for the dead. I never claimed to interpret God’s word by myself, that is what you have done. You are asking me to trust Robert instead of Christ who left us a Church and Magisterium. But because you are seeking truth so God I trust will lead you there. Peace be with you.

    2. And one last thing, just remember, the church was celebrating Mass and the Eucharist before the New Testament was even compiled. Justin Martyr testifies to this. The church came first, not New Testament Canon, that came later.

  6. To Susan:
    I guess that you don’t get my message. The Bible doesn’t support the notion that our “souls” go somewhere at death. Read the entire Book of Revelation, as well as the Book of Daniel, Ezekiel, Corinthians, and Thessalonians, and others. Any questions, send them my way.
    Stop spouting the dogma of the RCC, but search for the Truth.

    1. I have read all of those books, and I have searched for truth. What you are asking is that I believe Pope Robert instead of thousands of years of church teachings. “your message” is yours, not Gods. You are asking me to trust your interpretation. You even chose to believe your own interpretation of who was with Jesus instead of Peter who was there – Peter who the Father in heaven chose to reveal many things. There is a particular judgment when you die, and a final judgment at the end of time. You chose not to believe that. I chose to instead trust Jesus, who left us Peter, the rock, with the keys to the Kingdom. Jesus teaches that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is “not God not of the dead, but of the living” Matthew 22:32

  7. To Susan:
    Thank you for taking time to respond to my comments. No need to provide the verbiage from sections of the CC, as I have a hard copy and it is available online. You could just tell me which ones you want to point out to me. Are you aware of section 841, which says that Muslims share in our salvation, yet they deny that Jesus is the Son of God? It is followed by section 846 that says there is no salvation outside of the church. Will the Pope take further steps with Muslims to deny the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
    Hence, my concern is about church doctrine versus scripture.
    Since Jesus stated that “no one has gone to heaven” and there is no mention of Purgatory or the former Limbo in the Bible, I don’t want to blindly follow dogma.
    The priest should not have told us to pray to my deceased relative. The Bible does make it clear that the dead have no knowledge of what is going on, i.e. Job 14 and Ecclesiastes 9. Coupled with what Jesus told us in John 3 and 14, plus statements by Paul in Corinthians and Thessalonians, I really question the RCC doctrine about what happens when you die.
    As far as praying for the dead, I was aware of the one passage in Maccabees, but not the one you cited in 2 Timothy. Thank you for sharing that passage with me. However, I want to point out that Paul is seeking mercy for the man on the Day of the Lord. So it confirms for me that a judgement doesn’t take place upon death, as I suspected from other passages in scripture.
    I’m sure that there are several passages in scripture which identify believers as “saints”, so your reference of Revelation 5 doesn’t confirm that the “saints” are in heaven. It simply says that their prayers are received.
    With respect to the Transfiguration, I would like to point out that Jesus did not confirm that it was Moses and Elijah. It seems logical that it would be Enoch and Elijah, since they did not suffer earthly death yet. Peter would have no way of identifying them, and we know Peter was impulsive at times. Further, Luke 9:33 contains the following;
    (“He did not really know what he was saying.).
    I wasn’t suggesting that we don’t pray for the dead, but I was appalled that a priest would tell us to pray to a dead person.
    There are certainly ample passages which tell us that Jesus will judge everyone one day and give them their just reward. Just think that it hasn’t happened yet. I believe the Bible confirms that conclusion.
    Finally, I want you to consider what Jesus tells us in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 about events before his return. He repeatedly warns us about great deception that will occur and the final test.
    Let me know your thoughts.

    1. How is asking a deceased relative to pray for you wrong if they are indeed part of the communion of Saints? We pray for each other on earth all the time. As I said they are more alive than we are. It isn’t worship of them to ask them to pray. Purification (which is what purgatory means, is all throughout scripture. The Gospel story of the rich young man lets us know that we have two paths to salvation, one following the law, which gives us salvation, and one “being perfect.” In heaven only perfection exists, so you are purified one way or the other, either here or there.
      As for ccc 841 it says the plan of salvation includes them. I would think that God’s plan of salvation would include all the people he actually created, but does that mean each individual Muslim will be saved? No. It means God has a plan. I trust in his mercy that He does. Whether the plan is accepted by an individual is actually up to the individuals free will choice.
      There is no salvation outside the church. Jesus is the head of that church and he is the judge. I will leave it to Him. Everyone will be in front of Him whether Christian, Muslim or Jew.
      I also will abide by the authority he left, for it was in rebellion that Satan fell. Jesus Himself abided in the earthly authority and what they wanted because it was actually through this action of obedience to the will of God and walking the Passion, that we were saved. The catechism says that the church herself will walk this Passion or final trial CCC – 675. And just like back then, many run away, many try to fight, many betray. Who was left standing? The ones who trusted in the plan and walked the way of the Cross. They didn’t jump ship, they accepted the plan.

  8. To Peter:
    Of course she is suggesting that. She talks about the deceased who are in heaven and interceding for the living.
    She ends her story by asking Michael Fallon to pray for us.

    1. Do you ask your friends here on earth to pray for you? The people in heaven are more alive than we are. If you think they are not, you have not listened to what Scripture says. We are not worshipping Saints (Latria is the term used for worship of God alone) but we do venerate them (dulia – the honor of a person – just like we honor people on earth).
      The Priest should not have told you a person who committed suicide was in heaven. He has no way of knowing that. Suicide is a grave matter. The catechism states; 1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”
      Of suicide the catechism states
      2280 Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him.
      It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life.
      We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls.
      We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us.
      It is not ours to dispose of.
      2281 Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life.
      It is gravely contrary to the just love of self.
      It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations.
      Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.
      2282 If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal.
      Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.
      Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.
      2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. the Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

      That last part is important. Praying for the dead.
      There is a type of “talking to the dead” that is condemned in the Scripture, but that is completely different than praying for them and asking them to intercede. Deuteronomy and Isaiah condemn conjuring up the dead through wizards and mediums, not praying to saints. The Church has always condemned this. Mediums attempt to conjure up spirits and manipulate the spiritual realm at will. This is categorically different from Christians asking for the intercession of their brothers and sisters in Christ. We do not “conjure up” or manipulate anything or anyone. True prayer—whether to God or the angels and saints—changes us. We clearly know Jesus communicated with the dead;
      And as [Jesus] was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem. Luke 9:29-31
      The Book of Revelation also gives us a description of this communication between heaven and earth:
      The twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints … the elders fell down and worshipped (5:8-14).
      We also see Saint Paul pray for a dead man. “May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome the searched for me earnestly and found me— may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus. 2 Timothy 1:16-18.
      The bottom line is Catholics see Heaven, Purgatory (where we are purified to be with God) and Earth as a cooperation with – a Mystical Body – of Christ. It isn’t just you and God all by yourself. We belong to the communion together.

    2. Susan, drug overdose is not synonymous with suicide. Today’s drugs are extremely powerful – our police can overdose by just touching the powder without gloves. Today’s poster child for addiction is a middle class 50ish white male with a high school diploma working in construction…with a irresponsible doctor who prescribed an addictive painkiller.

    1. and I will pray for your nephew. I am grateful for the Doctrine on Purgatory that gives hope to those who commit suicide so that he can indeed be saved and for the catechism that explains how it does. I am very sorry for your loss.

  9. To Christopher:

    From Ecclesiastes 12:
    7 And the dust returns to the earth as it once was,
    and the life breath returns to God who gave it.
    8 Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
    all things are vanity!

    Have you seriously examined the history of the RCC?

  10. Susan:
    Read your recent article and followed the various links that you provided.
    While I found your faith journey interesting, I am somewhat perplexed by the suggestions that you put forth. I would like to comment on your most recent one.
    In scripture I find no statement from Jesus that we pray to the dead. To the best of my knowledge within the entire Bible there is no such suggestion. Job 14 and Ecclesiastes 9 make it clear that the dead have no knowledge of what is going on.
    I would like to share a personal experience with you. My cousin and his wife lost their son to a drug overdose. At the burial mass the priest told us that the young man was in heaven. We should pray for him. Then he told us to pray to him. I found those statements to be deeply troubling.
    First, the priest doesn’t know that he is in heaven. In fact, Jesus tells us in John 3 that “no one has gone to heaven”. Further, his suggestion to pray to the dead person seems to be blasphemy. Jesus gave us clear instructions on how to pray in Matthew 6 and Luke 11, and it doesn’t involve anyone except God.
    In the Book of Revelation, John is told twice by an angel to worship only God alone.
    During mass we proclaim twice that Jesus is seated at the right-hand of God, which echoes what is found in the Bible.
    Hence, the apparent conflict with what you are suggesting versus what the Word of God says.

    1. “Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm and said: Who is this who darkens counsel with words of ignorance?” Similarly, are you really sure you want to use Qoheleth as your voice of reason? Rather I suggest, Ecclesiastes 12, “Of the making of many books there is no end, and in much study there is weariness for the flesh.” …hence, the magisterium and 2,000 years of guidance by the Holy Spirit.

    2. Nowhere in her article does Susan suggest anyone should pray to the dead.
      Most likely you misunderstood the priest in a similar way. I suggest you take it up with him if you haven’t already. But yes sadly some priests do sometimes say things that are not right. Usually because they are “trying to be nice”. Implying, or even stating, that a recently deceased person is definitely in Heaven, is unfortunately an error I have heard from the pulpit myself.

  11. Stumbled across your blog this evening, beautiful, thank you Susan!
    Don’t you look forward to the final judgement when we will discover what wonderful things God did with each of our prayers? And we’ll see what the prayers of others did for us… . What an awesome God we have ….

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