Why We Don’t Pray to Mary or Any Other Saint in Heaven

It’s hard to believe that Protestants have to revisit this topic every now and then, but apparently we do. Someone will read the early church fathers, circa 200-300 A.D. and come away with the idea that it is OK to pray to Mary and the other saints.

What those who argue for this are doing is arguing with apparent logic and reason to get to this point. But when you look at the Biblical evidence for praying to the saints, you cannot find any whatsoever. There is also no room for this when you look at who we are to pray to, and why, according to Scripture.

There are several reasons why praying to the saints is wrong, besides the anti-Christ implications already given.

First, Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between man and God (1 Timothy 2:5). There is no one else who we can turn to for salvation, eternally or temporally. By praying to Mary, we are turning her into another mediator, which she is not. She has nothing to offer us for our salvation, either temporally or eternally. In fact, we need to realize that she was just as much a sinner as we are. Yes, she was blessed in that God used her to bring the God-Man into the world. But other than that, she is no less fallen than we are.

By making her a mediator, we are also making her an anti-christ, someone who is supplanting the rightful position of Christ. I’m quite sure she would not want us praying to her and would not be pleased that we make her into an anti-christ.

Second, the saints are not omniscient. Omniscience means that one knows all things and could actually hear our prayers. The saints in heaven do not know what is going on here on earth and cannot hear any prayers we may utter to them. Only God is omniscient. His beings are not. In theology we refer to this attribute of omniscience as a non-communicable attribute of God. It is not an attribute He shares with creation. It is specific only to God.

We may think that we can utter such words to the Virgin Mary and the other saints, but they cannot hear us. If we feel like someone is listening while we do pray such a thing, it is more than likely a demon trying to get you to fall more into this lie.

Third, we are never told in Scripture to pray to the saints. Jesus tells us specifically, pray to the Father. Through His roll as Mediator, we have been given the blessing of being able to go straight to the Father. Only Christians who are in Christ can do this. Why would we not take advantage of this wonderful blessing in order to pray to someone like Mary.

Fourth, the one time that we see anyone praying to a saint was Saul in the Old Testament during in the book of Samuel. Samuel is conjured up via a medium (which was condemned in the Law). Samuel’s immediate words: “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” (I Samuel 28).

Those in heaven want nothing to do with those of us on earth. I know this may seem like a shocker to us, but if our loved ones are in heaven, they are busy worshipping and being in the presence of Christ (see Revelation 7). They are no longer concerned with the affairs of men because those there are trusting Christ with what takes place on earth. At the most, they are looking forward to God pouring out His wrath on the earth for all the wickedness that is here (see Revelation 6:9). They are not listening to those on earth, their focus is as ours should be, on Christ and Him alone, not other saints.

Finally, we also see through the book of Revelation that we are not to worship angels. The reason given, is another glimpse of why we are not to pray to saints. Listen to what the angel tells John:

10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

The angel is just as much a servant as John was.

Therefore Mary is just as much a servant as the John and the angel. We are not to pray to them asking for help, but to pray to God alone! To exalt Mary to such a status as mediator is truly misguided and we should shun any arguments to the contrary. Was she special? Absolutely. But she was still just a servant of God in need of a Savior just as much as we are in need of a Savior. We are not to look to her, or anyone else, other than the Triune God! To do otherwise is to exalt the creation over the Creator, and to join hands with those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18ff).

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13 thoughts on “Why We Don’t Pray to Mary or Any Other Saint in Heaven

  1. The only defense of this from the Catholics that I’ve ever heard that makes sense is that they do not pray to Mary and the saints either. “We’re just following James 5:16 — ‘The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.’ We’re asking righteous men (and women) to pray for us.” Of course, by “makes sense” I’m being generous. Nothing in the text suggests that 1) those who have gone before listen to us or 2) we should be asking those who have died to pray on our behalf or 3) that they would pray on our behalf. And, of course, since many Catholics do in fact pray to Mary and the saints, it won’t hold water. And your point that we have one mediator is sufficient. (I wonder in what sense then we share prayer requests with others if we have but one mediator?) But I’ve never heard it from a Protestant.

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    1. Tony

      Do we not ask each other as Christians “hey Bro/Sis, can you pray for me about ___”? So then, does that mean we’re erroneously seeking mediation from someone other than Jesus? Also, are the saints in heaven not alive, even more alive than we are? (Mark 12:26-27) So why then is it so horrible to ask our friends/predecessors who are WITH the Lord now, to talk to Him on our behalf?

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      1. The problem is that asking for prayer between two believers here on this side of glory is quite normal. Once you start placing what Scripture says to do among believers here, and seeking to do that with those who have gone on, you have passed from normal to supernatural, or paranormal. You are asking of those in glory to have some supernatural ability to do so, when they don’t. And we don’t have the supernatural ability to pray to them either. Jesus hears us because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the fact that He is omniscient. That attribute is not given to His creation, and those in heaven cannot hear us, other than Christ, the Father and the Holy Spirit.

        I think you really have to contort a lot of Scripture to get the position of praying to saints in glory.

        Also, when asking someone to pray for us, we are not praying in the process of asking. Prayer is far more than just asking questions of someone, it is communion with the Father.

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      2. Tony

        True enough, we are on “this side” of Glory whereas those who’ve gone before us have entered into God’s presence. But Isn’t the Church–past, present and future–all ONE united family in Jesus Christ? Galatians 3:28.. And that’s what He prayed for to the Father (John 17).

        If we on earth have God’s Spirit indwelling us, and those in Heavenly glory are right there with him…who are we to assume the Spirit, the very breath of God, cannot do things just because our feeble minds want to limit Him to the natural?

        A blessed and peaceful 2014 to you & all!

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  2. Great . Aren’t all belevers saints. Why does the Catholic church say certain people are saints. Last time I read the Bible, which was a few minutes ago, we who are believers are saints. Well, I always get off on another subject.

    Great reasons not to pray to Mary. Wish I had read this before I wrote my letter. My bad. To GOD be the GLORY!!

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  4. Melissa

    Thank you! Finally, someone states exactly what I know to be true! I’ve heard the phrase, if you pray to Mary, you’ll be happier.. Not true. I’ll be miserable. Only Jesus is the path to God, not Mary. It is Jesus who bridges all gaps to God. It is He who hears our prayers and no other.

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    1. You are welcome and glad I could help. It’s amazing how much people will concede in order to continue this ill-advised practice. It always seems to end up arguing for reason without any strong biblical evidence for it, which means it lacks reason in the end.

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  5. Tony

    “Those in heaven want nothing to do with those of us on earth.”
    Uhhhh..really? Then how do you explain that “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance”? Also, what about the “great cloud of witnesses” who surround us, cheering us on as we run/finish the race??

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    1. Very good points Tony. Let me think about that for a bit. My point is that once in heaven, our focus will not be our loved ones on earth, but Christ, His glory and worshipping Him. We will be completely trustful for His sovereign hand in the lives of believers on earth, completely trusting God and being joyful over what He accomplishes on earth. In view of that, the sentence you quote is probably a bit of hyperbole.
      Blessings

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      1. Tony

        Blessings to you as well in the New Year, and thanks for the reply.
        For the moment now, I’m just scratching my head and trying to picture Jesus at Cana saying “Sorry Mom, I only take requests from people who come straight to Me!” 😉

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