There is no biblical evidence that any created being in heaven can pray or intercede for humans on earth. This includes Mary, church fathers, apostles, saints, and angels. Despite the beliefs of certain branches of Christianity that place undue weight on tradition, the Bible offers no proof that people in heaven can pray for us on earth.
The Bible teaches that Jesus intercedes for us in heaven.
“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).
“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through [Jesus], because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
In Scripture, no human being is ever called our intercessor in heaven except for our “one mediator . . ., the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).
The Holy Spirit aids our prayers and guides our hearts toward what pleases God, even if our deep, holy desires cannot be expressed in words.
We can pray directly to God the Father.
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13).
“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” (Hebrews 4:16).
Prior to Christ’s finished work on the cross, God’s people were represented before God by priests. However, when Jesus died, “the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:38). Believers in Christ in the New Testament era are priests themselves (Revelation 1:6), and our high priest is Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14). As children of God, believers have direct access to God in Jesus’ name. Jesus taught believers to pray directly to God (Matthew 6:9).
The Bible never tells us to pray to God via another human being in heaven. It is almost unthinkable that anyone might desire a human (or an angel) in heaven to intercede for him, especially when he can go to God directly.
Believers are assured that God hears them when they pray.
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (1 John 5:14).
Even if people in heaven, such as Mary or the saints, could hear people on earth, there is no biblical evidence that their petitions would carry any extra weight. No one approaches God on his or her own merits but on the merits of Christ. Also, how could created beings in heaven entertain the petitions from so many people simultaneously? Only God is omniscient.
The living are told to intercede for other living people.
We can undoubtedly pray for our Christian brothers and sisters on earth and intercede for them, and we are encouraged to do so: “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
The only dead person in Scripture who made any plea for the living on earth was the rich man in Luke 16 who pled that a gospel witness be sent to his family on earth. We note that he made his “intercession” for his brothers while he was in hell and that his petition was denied (Luke 16:27–31).
God loves us and wants our fellowship.
“‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool’” (Isaiah 1:18).
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20).
The Bible is full of God’s invitations to come to Him (see Matthew 11:28 and Revelation 22:17). Praying to God helps build a personal relationship where one can truly grow to love God. God cares for us as individuals (see Matthew 10:30), and He wants to hear from us personally. We should not farm out that privilege to anyone else, even to those who dwell in heaven.
The Bible prohibits communicating with the dead.
“When the people [instead of trusting God] say to you, ‘Consult the mediums [who try to talk to the dead] . . .,’ should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19, AMP).
Asking people in heaven to pray for us here on earth is not quite the same as necromancy, but it is nonetheless a form of communication with the dead.
The Bible warns against praying to idols and images.
“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
We should avoid any type of worship or prayer that involves material objects, statues, icons, etc. Many prayerful appeals made to people in heaven rely heavily on icons or images, which are made by human hands. God wants to hear from us, personally, and He does not want us praying to or through any humans or man-made objects.
Christ has given us many blessings, one of which is the ability to pray to God directly. “Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence” (Ephesians 3:12, NLT). With Christ, we need no others to go on our behalf, even those who live in heaven.