What Does the Bible Say about Praying to Saints?

What does the Bible say about praying to saints? Are there biblical foundations for the Catholic tradition of asking saints to intercede for us?

Oftentimes we’re challenged by our protestant brothers and sisters with the question, “Why pray to saints when you can just pray to Jesus?” You’re not alone if you believe there’s a good answer to that question but struggle to explain it yourself.  

As All Saints Day approaches, Dr. Edward Sri walks us through scripture passages wherein holy men and women from the Bible intercede before God for their communities.

This episode will leave you not only with a good apologetic answer for why Catholics pray to the saints, but—more importantly—with a renewed sense of appreciation for the cloud of witnesses that inspire us, intercede for us, and draw us deeper into communion with the blessed Trinity. 

What does the Bible say about praying to saints?

The Bible reveals that the saints who have died aren’t disconnected from and uninterested in those who are alive on earth

Old Testament Example: 

Jeremiah 15:1–Long after their deaths, Moses and Samuel are depicted pleading for the Israelite people on earth

New Testament Examples

  • Revelation 8:3 – The prayers of the saints rise up before God, and then God acts on earth. 
  • John 15 – “I am the vine, and you are the branches.”
  • St. Paul – We are the “body of Christ.” It doesn’t make sense that death would rupture this bond. 
  • Hebrews 12:1 – The saints are a “cloud of witnesses”

Intercession for Others Isn’t Optional for Christians 

Love of God and love of neighbor go hand in hand. The saints are our neighbors and our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. When we grow in fellowship with our fellow Christians, we grow in fellowship with Christ. This is the vision of the Church that the New Testament gives to us.

2 Corinthians 1:11–St. Paul commands the Christians in Corinth to pray for him.  

1 Timothy 2:1–Timothy commands the Christians to pray for each other

How to Grow in Fellowship with the Saints 

  1. Pick a few saints that you want to get to know. 
  2. Read their writings and learn about their lives. Fill your mind with their stories and their example. 
  3. Talk to those saints, every day. Share your weaknesses with them and ask them to walk with you in your difficult times. Don’t just ask them to pray for you…invite them to be with you in every part of your life.


  1. What happened in Fatima, Portugal, on 13 October, 1917? What happened in Akita, Japan; Heede, Germany; Lourdes, France; La Salette, France; and elsewhere in the world? What church has all of the saints related to it, has Eucharistic miracles, and has Marian apparitions on a frequent basis? What church can trace its lineage (pedigree) from Christ’s Apostles to the priests of today? The Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    I was once a protestant, in fact a baptized and lost Catholic. I have found the Catholic church again, and I am deeply in love with her. I cannot seem to get enough of the rich history of this church that spans nearly two millennium. Sooner or later, this truth will be revealed to all.

    God Bless, and I’ll be praying for you all.

  2. I feel like we have a lack of understanding of basic English prepositions: praying FOR someone versus praying TO someone are completely different concepts. When we pray FOR someone, we are praying TO God on someone’s behalf. When we pray TO someone, we are leaving God out of the loop. This hubris is equivalent to making ourselves/the saints equal to God, which is heretical.

  3. There are valid points to what non Catholics are making.

    However, I am a proud Catholic and will defend it to the end.
    There are many great saints that had a devotion to Christ that none of us could fathom. Read St Teresa of Avila sometime. She is one of many great saints that get in depth about prayer life.

    We don’t see them as idols. We don’t put them above Christ etc…they were human and lived more devoutly and found much favor with God and most suffered in His Passion amongst other things.

    If we ask our fellow sinners (living friends) to pray for us, why not ask for their intercession too? “What is bound on earth, shall be bound in Heaven!”

    I’ll end with a tad long question. We all know communism is 100% satanic right? If you look up Bella Dodd sometime, you’ll see why the church is in the state it’s in.

    Pope Frances is a product of what she said the commie agenda was. The FBI has been caught red handed spying on Catholics parishes here in America.
    Satan worshipers steal the true Body of Christ because the devil himself even knows Christ is in the Catholic Church and the power that it holds. That’s why they want the consecrated Host.
    Disney world has wanted to hand out the wafers with rainbows etc…marked on them. 100% satanic and an abomination to Christ’s true Body!

    Many apparitions from of old have warned about these days if man continues to offend God. Saying His Name in vain and not keeping the Sabbath Holy.

    In the early 80’s, our Lady appeared on top of a Catholic Church in Egypt and millions upon millions have seen her. Plenty of footage to prove it.

    If anyone thinks the apparitions are satanic, then praise God in the Highest, for the devil has converted! He’s telling people to go to church and worship Christ Jesus and pray to God for His Mercy and Forgiveness! Amongst other Holy things!

    When Jesus was being condemned before the high rabbi’s, did not one of His accusers say:

    “He said who ever eats His Flesh and drinks His Blood, will have eternal life!”?

    Everything is taken literal, but the parts that truly matter. Jesus even said “Not even the gates of hell will prevail His Church!” Right?

    What church is attacked the most? You mean to tell me other faiths don’t have molestation problems? Corruption etc…? No question they all do!

    However! It’s the Catholic Church that is most sought after and attacked as well as infiltrated by “the wickedness and snares or the devil!” Again, look up past apparitions, Fatima comes to mind and pope Frances just may be the 3rd secret that is upon us and Christ’s church as we speak!

    • As a Protestant exploring Catholicism for the first time, I too have questioned the Saints and why Catholics include saints in their worship. I now understand the concept of “intercession” as opposed to “ worship”. This is a wonderful article and it cements my love for the Catholic faith. It is difficult to explain to my Protestant friends and family why I have grown to love the faith. I find such a wonderful and more intimate relationship with my Lord and Savior in my worship. It is a component that has made my faith complete.

  4. You still didn’t show us where it says to pray to dead saints. I’d like to read that.

    • If saints are more alive in Christ, then why is it a ‘sin’ to ask them to pray for us?.

      • Because Jesus says we are to supplicate through him alone.

        • I disagree with your use of mediator. I am not saying that as “the Bible is wrong” but you can look at other points of the Bible where mediator /intercessor is used synonymously.
          “… I Timothy 2:5 In the first two verses, St. Paul commands “supplications, prayers and intercessions to be made for all men…” Intercession is a synonym for mediation. Hebrews 7:24-25 refers to Jesus acting as our one mediator at the right hand of the Father and refers to him as intercessor: But [Christ] holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

          Christ is our one mediator/intercessor, yet, St. Paul commands all Christians to be intercessors/mediators. Then notice the first word in verse five: “For there is one God and one mediator…” And then in verse seven he says, “For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle.” What is an apostle if not a mediator? The very definition of apostle, according to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, is “a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders.” That’s an essential part of what a mediator is. In short, St. Paul says we are all called to be mediators because Christ is the one mediator and for this reason he was called to be a mediator of God’s love and grace to the world!

          Is this a contradiction? Not at all! The fact that Jesus is our one mediator does not preclude him from communicating this power by way of participation. The Bible also declares: “But you are not to be called Rabbi, for you have one teacher, (Gr. – didaskolos) and you are all brethren.” This text cannot be any clearer, yet James 3:1 and Ephesians 4:11 tell us we have many teachers (Gr. – didaskoloi) in the Church. The key is to understand that the many teachers and mediators in the body of Christ do not take away from Christ as the one teacher and mediator because they are, in a sense, Christ on this earth and they serve to establish his offices of teacher and mediator in him. As members of the body of Christ graced with a specific task by Christ they can say with St. Paul in Galatians 2:20, “It is not I, but Christ who [teaches] in me…”

          And remember, we are not talking about necessity here. The Church is not claiming Christ couldn’t get the job done so he needed help. Of course not! He could do it all—and all by himself—if he wanted to. He could come down here right now and write this blog post much more effectively than I ever could. But he chooses not to do everything himself, strictly speaking. He delights in using his body to communicate his life and love to the world.“

          Tim Staples
          (Had to use this explanation because I’m not too eloquent and he puts mediator explanation perfectly into saints apostles and fellow Christians as well as Jesus our one true “mediator of Gods grace and love to the world”)

    • “‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.””
      ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22‬:‭32‬ ‭E

  5. It’s always struck me odd and rather sad that so many Protestants seek out every opportunity to tell Catholics they are wrong on any variety of topics. Thou doth protest too much! Of course, since it’s hard to find two Protestants who are in consistent agreement on anything other than the fact that Catholics are idolatrous and misguided, it’s difficult to put too much stock in the arguments.

    Interestingly, I drove by a mega church today that has a giant transformer logo adorning their entrance for their movie night. Hard to trust that there are serious theological debates happening there. But I’m not looking for Protestant websites where I can condescendingly ask where in the New Testament I can learn more about Optimus Prime. I just drove right past the theater—I mean, church—and attend Mass at our holy shrine. All good.

    Not for so many of our Protestant brethren, however, whose self-assuredness is all too often rivaled only by their arrogance. I do not believe some of the things you believe. But I spend more time trying to be a better Christian myself and less time telling others what they are doing wrong. Just do you folks. You’ll feel better. Peace to all and thank you Lord for the gift of my Catholic faith!

    • I don’t know whether you have read the bible – clearly all believers according to the bible are saints and not a select number appointed by the Catholic Church
      The Catholic Church has many false understandings or justdeliberate lies.

    • I don’t know whether you have read the bible – clearly all believers according to the bible are saints and not a select number appointed by the Catholic Church
      The Catholic Church has many false understandings or just deliberate lies..
      Praise to Yahweh praise to Yeshua and praise for the Holly Spirit.

  6. The catholic church taught that God is scary and aloof that is why they pray to or petition the saints to pray for them. They don’t see God as approachable. This tradition was instituted before followers could read the Bible for themselves and has stuck. The Bible tells us that Christ is our only mediator between us and God Almighty. We all, as Christians followers, are called saints. God doesn’t listen to or obey the pope and give anyone in heaven the mantle of being able to hear prayers of those on earth and then intercede for them to the father. That is taking Christ’s role as our only intersessor and mediator between us and God Almighty. We are to pray for each other here on earth and to come together in prayer. But to invoke those who have past on is error. Our triune God is enough. He isn’t aloof. He sees and hears everything we do and think. He intimately knows our hearts. He knitted us together in our lothers womb. He loves you more than you can fathom. Yes, respect Him to the highest degree, and the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but he is approachable. He wants to have a close relationship with each one of us so much so that he sacrificed his own son in order to do just that. So much can be made up because we don’t know what heaven is like. We don’t know what we will be doing other than worshiping our Father. Don’t divide your worship or adoration, by adoring saints, who were just faithful followers. We can learn from them, yes, and want to do what they have done, but in reality they were immulating Christ, which is what we are to be doing here on earth.

    • AMEN! You know the truth. I pray Catholics wake up and read the bible and act on the word of God!! This is an act of idolatry which was mixed in at the start of Catholicism, they still have not realised this yet. Praying to dead saints was a trend of Pagan culture.

  7. None of those verses depict that prayer be made TO the saints. Even Jesus said to pray to OUR FATHER and to pray in His name. Christ, being one with the Father, is worthy. Never, in the Bible, do we find that we should pray to none other. No one is worthy No not one!! God is the only omnipresent, omnisciente. Do NOT misguide the sheep because of tradition and pride!! Be wise in the reverence of God!! Honor Him as God!! Do NOT take what is Gods and give it to a human. God is a jealous God and shares His glory with no other!!

  8. This is not biblical read the life of saint to get to know them we should get known god to have better relationships with him knowing the sanits will not get in heaven

  9. The problem here is that many people confuse saints as if they have the power of TMH-God. They can only do as you can and as I, we can simply ask that Christ here’s our prayers as the woman who cried over and over to be healed. Christ allowed us especially the apostles at that time to pray for one another and lay hands for healing. But not everyone is blessed with that gift that’s why it is very important that you grow in your relationship with Christ so that you mature in your spiritual walk with the most high God. For you have the power within you to do the same ask the scriptures they seek and you shall find. I hope these scriptures set you free of the understanding that you are capable of making the same prayers as the apostles and angels do above that are capable of seeing you. Remember the term “angels” are capable of seeing you and reporting your actions to TMH-GOD

    Matthew 12:48-50 New Living Translation (NLT)
    Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”

    James 4:3 
    You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

    1 Timothy 2:5 
    For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

    Philippians 4:6-7 
    Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let “your requests be made known to the most high God”. And the peace of the most high God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

  10. I do not think Jeremiah 15:1 is an adequate argument for prayer to those who have passed on.

    “Then the Lord said to me: “Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away from my presence! Let them go!”
    ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭15‬:‭1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    “Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.”
    ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭15‬:‭1‬ ‭KJV‬‬

    The word being used for “even if” in the NIV and “though” for KJV is Hebrew word “im” (אִם). It is used primarily as a conjunction, to say “if”, or “but”.

    The KJV also has translated “im” (אִם) to mean “if” in other passages, so I don’t think it makes sense to use it in the opposite meaning specifically for Jeremiah 15:1.

    “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”
    ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭4‬:‭7‬ ‭KJV‬‬

    “I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.”
    ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭18‬:‭21‬ ‭KJV‬‬

    I pray that God would continue to lead us in humility and truth as we seek Him.

  11. To me, it seems as if Catholics have taken scripture out of context. The Greek Orthodoxy that Rome used to be part of thought this as well. Hence why they split in the Western Schism and then Rome because Roman Catholic over ideology differences that were never preached in the first couple hundred years.

  12. I still don’t understand this act of praying to the saints. I feel that I am putting the saints above the Lord Jesus. I have been taught that we pray and commune with Jesus. Praying for the saints or asking the saints to pray with us is something I want to study. When where what and why are the questions I need answered.

    • Take a look into the Greek Orthodox doctrine. It is the original doctrine that Catholicism followed before the western schism, before they added some questionable traditions.

  13. All flollowers are saints though.. the bible clearly states this many times.

  14. With all due respect, The literal translation of Hebrews 1 does not mention saints.
    Other ones also do not mean what is affirmed about saints.
    Acts 20:25-26 really depicts the reality, Peter should have never be a Saint, Peter himself rejected to be praised or worshipped, but today he is Saint Peter .
    I can ask a friend to pray for me, it does not mean I will build a church and name after him/her.
    Almost every single catholic church is named by a man made saint. That IS idolatry.

    Second commandment : Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them”

    The Catholic church is full of images. Very sad.

    • A very simple question is who do you see in an image (photo, drawing,caricature)of your father
      Would you show it respect as if to your father?

  15. Worshipping the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength consumes my entire devotion. The saints are created beings. Devotion to them in the way you suggest distracts me from my Creator. I’m sure we can learn a lot from the lives of great men and women of God, but devotion and prayer are reserved for God alone.

  16. Not sure where saints fit in here: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Exodus 29:44-45. This sounds pretty clear, to me. Jesus is the only one who died and was resurrected and provides salvation. None of the non-“religious” Christians I know, who are typically well-versed in the Bible and even hear from the Lord directly talk about praying to anyone but Jesus/God.

  17. In the Bible it says if your a believer and you die you are with God. So, why would prayers go up. It goes up only if your saints on the earth. So get you brothers and sisters in Christ next to you to pray for you so Gods blessings can rain down on you. Love you all

  18. The ultimate answer why catholics pray for the saints is that this is based in their so called “sacred tradition”. They tried to support this act with scriptures with faulty logic. The simple answer is their sacred tradition tells them to do so. Now, is this biblical? Its not! However, their sacred tradition justified this act because they believed that sacred tradition is equal to sacred scripture. Or perhaps even more powerful than the scripture.

    If you look at the history, then you will see that this sacred traditions gave venue for pope to harness or exercise power. They could create extrabiblical concept on the basis of sacred tradition. The oral teaching of popes or saints can be handed down to generations. These could be even overpower the authority of the scripture. And they will say the scripture is written teaching, while sacred tradition is the oral teaching. The sacred tradition therefore is an avenue to undermine scriptures authority, to build an empire where rules and ultimate authority solely depends on the leader of the church.

  19. Totally wrong exegesis here. We can’t get dead people to pray for us.

  20. Jesus quotes scripture “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” He goes on to say that God is the God of the living not the dead. The saints are alive in Christ, so we aren’t praying to dead people.

  21. None of those verses alludes to anything resembling praying to saints. Jeremiah 15:1 does not imply what is claimed in this article. Read it for yourselves and make your own judgement. As usual this made up theology is a product of circular thinking and verbal gymnastics, aka, BS!

    • “but ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
      ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12‬:‭22‬-‭24‬ ‭KJV‬‬

      I believe the spirits of just men made perfect refer to saints here or is there any other opinion

  22. First, the key here is the word “for”. It’s one thing to pray “for” the saints, and it’s a totally different thing to pray “to” the saints. Next, the versus quoted in this reading regarding “the saints”, refers to who? Who are “the saints”? I don’t see those verses calling out Peter or Mathew or any other of the Catholic saints as the saints these verses are referring to. Lastly, St. Paul tells the church of Corinth to pray “for” him not “to” him. Please explain how praying for the saints is connected to praying to the saints? Also, why would I talk to the saints if they are dead? Christ is risen and clearly tells us He is the way, the truth and the life. Shouldn’t I go to the source?

    • They are not dead. They are alive in Christ.

      • You did not answer my questions

        • We pray for their intercession in our lives. Yes we should always pray to Jesus but we should pray for the saints to walk with us through life and when you say well why not just pray directly to Jesus. It cannot hurt to pray for a saints intercession

      • Even if, as you say, they are alive in Christ; they are not gods. They can’t hear us the way God can. God is omnipresent and all knowing not the saints.

        • Then why would Jesus converse with Elijah and Moses at the transfiguration if they couldn’t hear him

    • “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.”
      ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭8‬:‭3‬-‭4‬ ‭KJV‬‬

      Note it says prayers of the saints saying that those prayers have meaning

  23. Still not convinced. I have never met a saint. Therefore, it is difficult for me to put my trust in one. I know people that are “saintly” and I can count on them for intercession. I speak with them and they respond back to me. I can embrace them or shake their hand. I can’t do that with a saint. I also know people that put more emphasis on the saints than Christ! For some, the focus is on the saint (even though I understand that’s not how it is supposed to be).

    • no one said you should put your focus on saints
      saints are not the ones who answer prayers in my opinion, they act as intermediaries.

      • Your opinion doesn’t matter. It should be biblical. Put your Bible references to ratify your opinion.

    • And this is where faith comes in. You have to put your faith in things you cannot see, hear, touch, etc.

  24. The passages referenced, to me, are referencing people praying “for” others, not “to” them. I still don’t understand there being any biblical backup to praying “to” the saints. Do they have the power to do anything with our prayers even if they do receive them? If we have relationship with the Trinity, the Holy Spirit as our intercessor (among many other things), why would we need followers of the Trinity to intercede on our behalf? Praying for others and asking others to pray for us, both good things. Praying to Saints who are in Heaven already seems unneeded and at the very least not supported by Scriptures. Especially the teachings of Christ.

    • First of all, All believers are saints.

  25. Then why ask others to pray for you?

    • We need as many prayers as possible.

      • They did a study on people who are prayed for healed faster than none

  26. As much I respect many tenants of Catholcism, your exegesis of these “support” passages don’t cut it. Just go to the Head of the Church Jesus Christ directly-Hebrews 4 tells me that.

    • They never do.



  1. What Does the Bible Say about Praying to Saints? | Edward Sri - […] Click here for full episode shownotes! […]

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