Should We Pray to Saints?
Sooner or later, everyone of us loses a loved one to death. What happens after our loved ones have passed on? Can they watch over us, interceding for us as many would like to think? Can or should we attempt to communicate with them, pray to them or pray for them? With six billion people alive, one can get just about six billion different viewpoints and opinions on this subject as well. So again we turn to the Scriptures where we find that, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching....so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped." (2 Timothy 3:16-17.) Indeed, God's word answers these questions as well.
Contrary to the idea that a saint is someone who has died and is now in Heaven praying with us and for us, the Bible shows us that saints are simply believers, ordinary people that have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Paul often began his letters by addressing them "to the Saints" in whichever city that they lived, such as Rome, Ephesis, Phillipi or Colossi. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 1:13+14 that the moment one hears and believes the Gospel, it is at that point that the Holy Spirit seals us as Heaven bound. Believing the Gospel, that Jesus Christ saves us by what He did, not by how holy we lived or any "works of righteousness" of ours, is the underlying difference behind a Biblical saint as opposed to the view of a saint as a title given to person based upon an outstanding life of holiness and good works.
Scriptures also reveal that besides God, there is no other. He has certain characteristics as God that enable Him to hear and answer prayer. The Bible speaks of God's omnipresence, defined in Nelson's Bible Dictionary as a theological term that refers to the unlimited nature of God or His ability to be everywhere at all times. (Psalm 139:7-12) The Bible also shows His omniscience, described in the Nelson Bible Dictionary as a theological term that refers to God's superior knowledge and wisdom, His power to know all things. (Psalm 139:1-6, 13-16) But these are characteristics of God, humans do not possess these capabilities to hear and answer the many prayers that are said each day.
We have a loving God, who needs to consult no one for knowledge or understanding (Isaiah 40:13-14.) He loved us so much that He provided the only solution for sin by sending Jesus to the cross and thus making Himself the answer, the only answer as Acts 2:38 states, by which men must be saved . This is what the Scripture writers meant by Jesus being the only mediator in 1 Timothy 2:5+6 -"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men....." So glorious was God's plan to provide the solution for men's sin, and now so complete was His love for us, that we now can boldly approach God (Hebrews 4:15) with our prayers.
There is a stark reality as told by Proverbs 14:12 - "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Prayers to anyone else but God is not a sign of humbleness, but rather of unbelief. All of the Bible speaks of Jesus (Luke 24:27) and our Salvation is determined, not by our good deeds, nor our popularity (which may work to our advantage here on Earth, but not before God.) but rather by our belief or lack of belief in God's only solution. (John 3:16-18 and 3:36).
We must be aware of the schemes of Satan, for Satan can indeed make Himself as an angel of light. (2 Cor. 11:14) Praying to others not only is pointless because of the inability for them to hear, or intercede for us, but also because it offends the one and only God in which the Bible repeatedly shows is a God, jealous for our love and desires to be our God. Jesus warned us of the great deceptions that would deceive so many (Matthew 24:24) and Paul repeatedly express his concerns about Satan's cunning (2 Corinthians 11:3-4) and false messages (Galatians 1:7-8). Regardless of how or why one prays to another, apparitions included, when we pray to anyone, for any reason, other than to God, it is a form of worship, as John tells us in Revelation 19:10 and 22:8-9, to which the Angel reminded him (and us) that they are just fellow servants, that we should go to God alone. Surely John's "worship" wasn't a worship of the angel as God, but rather what he did is much like the faulty rational that many have today, thinking that he was simply honoring and showing the angel respect. Thankfully, in hindsight, when John wrote, the Holy Spirit correctly termed his actions as a form of worship.
In other words, in closing, I remind you of what Isaiah 8:19 says: ".....should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?" Indeed then, in regards to praying to the dead, we should heed and apply the same type of sound advice as given in Acts 14:15 - "Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you.... telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them."
Thus we find, that according to the Bible, we are to pray to God alone.