I believe that prayer is essential to life. It’s not only crucial to your physical and spiritual health but also for your eternity. That’s why who you pray to makes all the difference in the world.
The Catholic church teaches people to ask Mary and the saints to pray for them, and millions of people end up asking priests for direct help, mercy and salvation. This approach has zero biblical backing.
In the words of the famous Catholic prayer Memorare, people pray directly to Mary by praying; “Remember, most loving Virgin Mary, never was it heard that anyone who turned to you for help was left unaided… I run to your protection for you are my mother.”
We see it again in the Catholic prayer “Hail, Holy Queen” when it says, “Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope. To you we cry, the children of Eve; to you we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this land of exile. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us; lead us home at last,” from ”A Book of Prayers,” published in 1982 by International Committee on English in the Liturgy Inc.
Although these prayers are said by millions of well-intentioned people looking for divine intervention, we must ask: Are these prayers beneficial and biblically correct?
Even if you’re reading this column as a Catholic, wouldn’t you want to know if your prayers are godly and biblical? I think I would.
Here are three reasons we pray to God, not Mary or the saints.
Jesus is the only way to God.
Trying to get favor or access to God through anyone but Jesus has no biblical basis. Jesus made it perfectly clear that there is only one way to the Father when he said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” in John 14:6. He is the only way to access the father.
Jesus is the only mediator between God and us.
1 Timothy 2:5-6 teaches “There is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.”
It means that Jesus is the only representation we have before God. He’s the only one who can grant us forgiveness and peace with the father and reconcile us to him through his finished work on the cross.
The Bible said, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation,” in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19.
Jesus is alive.
Throughout scripture, God strictly forbids praying to the dead. See Leviticus 20:27 and Deuteronomy 18:10–13 for examples. All of the priests, saints and Mary are dead. But Jesus is alive and well.
As Hebrews 7:23-25 so brilliantly points out when it says, “Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”
Did you catch that? No one else could remain in office because they died. But since Jesus is alive, he alone can save, and we can approach him boldly in our prayers.
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need,” in Hebrews 4:14-16.
Zachary Elliott is the lead pastor of Fusion Christian Church in Temecula. For more information, visit https://www.fusionchristianchurch.com, http://www.encouragementtoday.tv or find them on Instagram.