Should We Pray to Mary and the Saints?
The veneration of Mary or the tradition of praying to Mary and the saints is most commonly practiced within the Roman Catholic Church. One example of a daily prayer that is directed to Mary by millions of Catholics around the world is the “Hail Mary”.
The Hail Mary prayer is as follows:
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
However, is it okay for Christians to pray to Mary? Why do Catholics pray to Mary? Does the Bible say anything about praying to Mary and the saints?
3 Reasons Why You Should Not Pray to Mary or the Saints
1. There is Only One Mediator between God and Man
Jesus Christ is the one and only Mediator between God and mankind.
1 Timothy 2:5 says: For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus
This means there is no other person who serves as a bridge between God and man apart from Jesus Christ Himself. Therefore without Christ there can be no reconciliation or relationship with God.
In John 14:6 Jesus says: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Hebrews 7:25 says that Jesus is the one who makes intercession for us.
Even in prayer Jesus serves as Mediator because He says we should pray to the Father and ask in His (Christ’s) name.
For example in John 14:13-14 Jesus says: “Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
In John 16:24 Jesus says: “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
So Jesus Christ alone is qualified to serve as the one and only Mediator between God and man on account of the fact that He died, shed His blood, and was raised from the dead to save mankind from their sins. The sacrifice of Christ as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, is the only sacrifice that God will accept to reconcile man back with God.
2. Mary was a Sinner who Needed a Saviour
We are all sinners who need a Saviour that will deliver us from the eternal consequences of living in sin. The Bible does not mention that Mary is an exception or that Mary was a sinless person.
Romans 3:23 says: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
The only Person who was sinless who walked the Earth was Jesus Christ. Scriptures such as Hebrews 4:15, 2 Corinthians 5:21 and 1 John 3:5 clearly highlight that Jesus Christ was sinless.
1 Peter 2:22 says the following about Jesus: He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth
The Bible also highlights the preeminence of Christ. The Bible also reveals that Jesus is High Priest and that He has supremacy above all creation and all people – including supremacy over Mary and the saints (Colossians 1:15-21).
The preeminence of Christ reveals that Jesus already existed at the beginning of creation, before Mary was physically born.
In Acts 1:14 Mary herself worshiped Jesus as God revealing that Mary is submissive to the authority of Christ.
Jesus is also described as having the name that is above every name, meaning that Christ’s stature and authority is above Mary and the saints.
Philippians 2:9-11 says: Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
3. Nobody in the Bible Worshiped or Venerated Mary
It’s important to note that while Mary was given the special and privileged role of giving birth to the Son of God, there is no evidence in the Bible where anyone in the Scriptures was commanded to pray to Mary or the saints.
Neither the prophets nor Christ’s followers, disciples or apostles in the Bible ever prayed to Mary or the saints.
Prayer should be strictly directed to God alone. It is God alone who is all-knowing, all-powerful and omnipresent.
We must not pray or speak to the dead. The dead do not hear our prayers and nor can they answer our prayers. Therefore any type of prayer or veneration of anyone who is not the true living God can be classified as idolatry.
The practice of repetitive prayers such as the rosary or Hail Mary are forbidden in Scripture.
In Matthew 6:7 Jesus says: “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”
In Matthew 6:8-13, Jesus then teaches us how to pray and to whom we pray to. In Matthew 6:8-13, Jesus does not teach us to pray to Mary or the saints, but instead we must pray to our Father in heaven.
Worship is reserved for God alone. Luke 4:8 says: And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.'”
Why Do Catholics Pray to Mary?
The practice of praying to Mary and the saints is a classic issue of man-made religious tradition versus the Bible – or Catholicism versus Biblical Christianity. The veneration of Mary and the saints is an example of cultural church tradition opposing the Biblical commandments of God.
In Matthew 15:3 Jesus says: “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”
So within Catholicism, Mary is indirectly given the status of a type of goddess or deity. For example, the Catechism of the Catholic Church 969 states that Mary “is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix”
These titles alone from Catholic tradition insinuate Mary to have the same titles and functions as Jesus Christ, therefore contradicting the Bible.
Jesus is our Advocate and not Mary (1 John 2:1); The Holy Spirit is our Helper and not Mary (John 14:26); Jesus alone is our Mediator and not Mary (1 Timothy 2:5).
The veneration and prayer to Mary within Catholicism also stems from the non-Biblical belief that Mary was sinless and that Mary herself was immaculately conceived. Catholic tradition also states that Mary was taken up to heaven just like Jesus has ascended into heaven.
Other unbiblical logic which is used to justify prayer to Mary is that within Catholic tradition it is perceived that God will most likely hear our prayers if we asked Mary as a mother, so that she may intercede to Christ or the Father, rather than for people to pray directly to God.
However none of these beliefs about Mary are supported by the Bible. Therefore this type of tradition is in complete contrast with what the Bible teaches.
The Bible teaches that all prayer and worship must be directed to God alone.
Jesus Christ alone is the only Mediator between God and man. Whenever we pray, we pray in the name of Jesus Christ and in no other name. Jesus is supreme and He has the name above all names.
Through the works of Jesus Christ, His death on the cross and His resurrection, mankind has complete access to God through Christ alone and nobody else.
We do not need to ask the dead to intercede on our behalf as this practice is similar to idolatry or ancestral worship.
We should therefore be encouraged to communicate all our needs and issues to God alone.