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If we talk to loved ones who have died, do they hear us?

talk to loved ones who have died

The desire to talk to our loved ones who have died is a natural part of the grieving process. We ache to see them one more time, hear their voices again, or tell them something we wish we had said. We find ourselves hoping that our loved one can listen from heaven and respond. Good-intentioned friends may say the departed can indeed hear us and are watching over us and guiding us. They may even suggest that our loved one is an angel now. But what does the Bible say? Should we try to communicate with our loved ones who have died? Can they speak to us from heaven?

The Bible offers no evidence to suggest that legitimate, two-way communication between the living and the dead is possible. On the contrary, Scripture strictly forbids believers from attempting to do so (see Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27; Deuteronomy 18:9–12; 1 Chronicles 10:13–14).

At least one Bible verse may suggest that our saved loved ones can see from heaven and, to some extent, know what is happening here on earth: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1, NLT). Some scholars believe this “huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith” are the saints in heaven who have crossed the finish line of their race but have turned back to watch us and cheer us on to the glorious end. Others believe the description is figurative: the heroes of the faith bear witness from the pages of Scripture, and we are encouraged along the way by remembering their testimonies. Since the Bible doesn’t say definitively that the saints in heaven are watching us, we should not put too much confidence in the prospect. We can only speculate.

The Bible does warn believers not to be deceived by lying spirits (see 1 Kings 22:22–23; 1 Timothy 4:1). Satan is a liar, and the demons can likely imitate the voice or appearance of our departed loved ones and in that way lead us astray. Purposely seeking “a message from beyond” is spiritually dangerous.

Since Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and humanity, we should not pray to dead saints (1 Timothy 2:5). But praying to a saint and talking to a deceased loved one are two different things. Would it be okay to occasionally say something to loved ones in heaven, as long as we don’t expect to hear back from them? Nothing in the Bible indicates this is wrong or a violation of God’s will, but wouldn’t it be better to talk to Jesus or pray to the Father about your loved one? Randy Alcorn writes, “Personally, rather than talking to a loved one, I am more comfortable simply praying to Jesus or the Father (there are biblical examples of praying to each) and saying, ‘Lord, would you please give my mom a hug, and tell her it’s from me?’ Now I think my mom sometimes sees what’s going on here and might hear this when I say it, but I KNOW God hears it. And I trust God to do what He knows is best” (, accessed 10/3/23).

Instead of seeking comfort from the dead, we have the Word of God and the Spirit of God to supply all the comfort and guidance we need. We can look to the Lord when we feel overcome by the loss of a loved one because in Him are found endless reservoirs of help, hope, and strength (Psalm 27:10; 121:1–2; 124:8; Isaiah 40:31; Matthew 11:28). The psalmist affirms, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

We find countless examples of God communicating with us through His Word: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17). The Bible is the primary way in which God speaks to us. His Word is our guiding light (Psalm 119:105). Through the prophet Isaiah, God reveals, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

We can take our hurts and heartaches to God, no matter the situation, knowing He perfectly understands how we feel. In Jesus Christ, we have a High Priest who understands our weaknesses. Because of Him, we can “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4:15–16, NLT).

With the loss of a loved one, the pain can be overwhelming. We may miss communicating with that person and desire to reconnect in some way. In those times, God calls us to turn to Him. He is our Comforter (John 7:38–39; 14:16–18, 26; 15:26; Romans 8:16). He heals our brokenness (Psalm 30:11; Isaiah 61:1) and brings the peace our hearts desperately need (John 14:27; 16:33; Philippians 4:6–7).

If we trust God with our grief, He will show us how to carry on despite the painful loss. What is more, He assures us that our loved ones are whole in heaven, with Him, which is far better than anything we can imagine here on earth (Philippians 1:20–24; Romans 8:18; 1 Corinthians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 4:17; 1 John 3:1–2). Departed believers are not angels, but they are God’s chosen family, “the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven . . . the spirits of the righteous ones in heaven who have now been made perfect” (Hebrews 12:23). One day we will be reunited with our redeemed loved ones and share life in perfect fellowship with each other and God for all eternity (Revelation 21:3).

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This page last updated: January 4, 2022