But there is more to it than that. An increasing number of Protestants are ready to be more open minded about this controversial topic.
“I’m ready to honor Mary more than we usually do” said a Protestant friend, “but I’m not going to pray to her.”
I have already written on the question of whether Catholics worship Mary. You can find that post here.
But what about the idea that Catholics pray to Mary? There are a couple of questions wrapped together here. The first one is the definition of ‘pray’. By the word “pray” Protestants usually mean “asking God for stuff”. They ask God to heal the sick, comfort the dying and bereaved, strengthen and help the missionaries and help overcome evil.
Catholics have a much wider definition of prayer. By “prayer” we mean “asking God for stuff” but we also include meditation, contemplation, adoration and worship. For the Catholic prayer is the whole action of the church in relationship to God. Therefore “prayer” is a big concept which includes our relationship not only with God, but with one another. It is not just my action, but the action of the whole church–including not only the Christians alive today on earth, but also those alive with Christ in heaven. Therefore, “prayer” for the Catholic includes a much broader expanse of activities and involvement. The context is vast.
This means that we naturally pray with all the saints all the time. My prayer is caught up in their prayers. I am praying while “surrounded by a vast cloud of witnesses” as the Book of Hebrews says. So do Catholics “pray to Mary”? Read more.
UPDATE: I have a few copies of my book Mary–A Catholic Evangelical Debate still available. Go here to learn more.