Orthodox Christians from the beginnings of the early church until this day ask for not only the intercessions of Mary, but of all the saints. We have a special regard for the intercession of Mary because not only is Mary the Mother of God, she is the Queen of Heaven.
Based on the customs of Jewish people, Mary is seen as Queen of Heaven because Jesus is King of Heaven. One of the main duties of a Davidic Queen was to intercede to the King on behalf of his people. An example of this can be seen in the Old Testament scriptures,
1 KINGS 2:19-20So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. And the king rose to meet her and bowed down to her. Then he sat on his throne and had a seat brought for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right. Then she said, “I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.” And the king said to her, “Make your request, my mother, for I will not refuse you.”
Here we see that Adonijah has a request for the King, so he asked the Queen Bathsheba to intercede for him. The Queen takes the request before the King and intercedes on Adonijah’s behalf. Because of her special status with the King, her request is heard, and the King makes the remarkable statement, “Make your request, my mother, for I will not refuse you.”
It is because of Mary’s special role with our King that we ask her to intercede on our behalf.
A common objection goes something like this, “But I can pray directly to God. I do not need anyone to intercede for me.” And this is true. Orthodox can and do pray directly to God. But the scriptures are full of examples of intercessory prayer, specifically in Matthew,
MATTHEW 18:20For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
We pray directly to God and we ask for the intercession of His mother and all the saints, fulfilling Matthew 18:20, and knowing that He is in our midst.