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

When you look at the Biblical evidence for praying to the saints, you cannot find any whatsoever

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).

 

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).

Timothy Hammons is a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America. This article appeared on his blog and is used with permission.