"In particular, we should be very suspicious of the medieval idea that the saints can function as friends at court so that while we might be shy of approaching the King ourselves, we know someone who is, as it were, one of us, to whom we can talk freely and who will maybe put in a good word for us...If you have a royal welcome awaiting you in the throne room itself, for whatever may be on your heart and mind, whether great or small, why would you bother hanging around the outer lobby trying to persuade someone there, however distinguished to go in and ask for you?" --N.T. Wright Surprised by Hope p. 173.
He is absolutely right, but I would also like to add that he captures well a distinction between Orthodox and much Catholic prayers to the saints. (I would still object to Orthodox prayers to the saints, but not on quite the same grounds, nor so vehemently.) The Orthodox do not pray to the saints because they are the courtiers who have the king's ear, but because the king has lots of friends in his presence, and he would like to share them with us. And that difference is liturgical.
Again, I'm not endorsing the Orthodox view, just taking notes.