Prayer is a vital part of the Christian faith.
As believers, we acknowledge the power and wisdom of God by talking to Him and offering our praise, thanksgiving, and petitions.
However, over the centuries, some Christians have developed the custom of praying to saints, or deceased Christians who are believed to be in heaven.
While this practice is popular among Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians, it is often controversial in other denominations.
Let’s explore the biblical teachings related to praying to saints and answer some common questions about this topic.
1. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).
The practice of praying to saints can be considered by some as the worship of false gods, a violation of the first commandment.
2. “I am the Lord; that is My name! I will not yield My glory to another or My praise to idols” (Isaiah 42:8).
Praying to saints can be interpreted as giving them the glory that is due only to God.
3. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
Jesus Christ alone is our mediator and advocate to God the Father.
4. “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7).
Some people believe that praying to saints ensures their prayer is heard, but this seems to go against what Jesus taught about focusing on the Father instead of repetition or quantity.
5. “I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I devastate Ephraim again. For I am God, and not a man—the Holy One among you. I will not come against their cities” (Hosea 11:9).
God alone has the power to answer prayers, and saints have no more access to Him than we do.
6. “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33).
Praying to saints can create confusion and disharmony among believers, as it is not universally accepted and can lead to disagreements and division.
7. “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book’” (Exodus 32:33).
Only God has the power to forgive sins, not saints or any other human being.
8. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The Holy Spirit empowers believers to witness to the world and fulfill the Great Commission, not to pray to saints.
9. “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (2 Corinthians 10:17). The Bible teaches us to give glory only to God and not to anyone or anything else, including saints.
10. “But test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
When it comes to praying to saints, we need to test its validity and hold fast to what is biblically sound.
11. “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
Praying to saints can be seen as mere human tradition and not in line with Christ’s teachings.
12. “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).
Jesus promises to answer our prayers in His name, not the name of any other person.
13. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Only Jesus Christ offers salvation, not saints or any other human being.
14. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Our bodies belong to God, and we should offer all honor and worship to Him alone.
15. “And the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him” (1 John 2:27).
We have the Holy Spirit as our teacher and guide, not saints or any other created beings.
16. “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him” (John 4:23).
Our worship should be directed to the Father alone, as He is seeking true worshipers who worship in spirit and truth.
17. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
God alone has the power to do more than we could ever ask or think, and we should give Him all the glory through Christ Jesus.
18. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).
Jesus is the only way to the Father, and we do not need saints as intermediaries.
19. “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).
The Gospel message and teachings should be entrusted to faithful men and women, not saints or any other created beings.
20. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” (Romans 8:35).
Our love and devotion should be solely for Christ, and nothing should separate us from our relationship with Him.
21. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Our faith and trust should be in God alone, as He works all things for our good and His glory.
22. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
Nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God, including saints or any other human beings.
23. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
We should walk by the Spirit, not by our personal desires or human traditions.
24. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
Our faith and salvation are a treasure given to us by God, not by any other created being.
25. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1).
Our worship should be spiritual and offered as a living sacrifice to God alone.
What does the Bible say about the Saints?
The Bible mentions Saints multiple times, and many of them are recognized and celebrated in the Catholic and Orthodox Church as intercessors.
However, the Bible never directly instructs us to pray to Saints.
Can you pray directly to Saints?
While it is possible to pray directly to Saints, it’s important to remember that they are not divine beings and do not have the same attributes as God.
The Saints can not perform miracles or forgive sins – only God can do that.
Therefore, any prayers directed toward Saints should be for their intercession, not for something that only God can provide.
Where in the Bible does it say not to pray to anyone but God?
One of the most cited Bible verses in this debate is 1 Timothy 2:5, which states: “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.”
This verse implies that we should pray directly to God and that there is no need for intermediaries such as Saints or Mary.
Why is praying to Saints wrong?
One of the main reasons why some believe that praying to Saints is wrong is that it can lead to idolatry.
If we worship or put too much emphasis on a Saint or Mary, then we can lose focus on the true source of our salvation, which is God.
Is it a sin to pray to Saints?
The Bible doesn’t explicitly say whether praying to Saints is a sin or not.
However, we should be cautious of any practices that could lead us away from our faith and relationship with God.
If we use praying to Saints as a replacement for praying to God or if we start elevating Saints to divine status, then we may need to reconsider our approach.
Is praying to Saints idolatry?
As mentioned earlier, praying to Saints can lead to idolatry if we give them too much emphasis or worship them in a way that should be reserved for God alone.
However, praying to Saints is not inherently idolatrous, and many believers have found comfort in asking Saints to intercede on their behalf.
What does the Bible say about praying to Saints and Mary?
Overall, the Bible doesn’t provide a definitive answer on this topic, and Christians have different interpretations on the matter.
However, it’s important to remember that our faith should always be centered on God, and we should not let any practices or traditions distract us from that.
If we choose to pray to Saints or Mary, we should do so with the understanding that they are not divine figures and that God is our ultimate mediator.
Whether we pray to saints or not may be a matter of personal conviction or church tradition, but as Christians, we should always base our beliefs and practices on the Bible.
The verses we have examined here show us that our worship, devotion, and prayers should be directed to God alone, through Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
And while we can honor and respect the saints as faithful examples of Christian living, we should not elevate them to a position of divine intercessors or mediators.
Let us entrust our prayers, our lives, and our eternal destiny to God, who alone has the power to answer and fulfill our deepest needs and desires.