Should we pray to “Saints”? (revisited)

Should we pray to “Saints”? (revisited)I came across this verse today in my Old Testament Studies class (the second half of the OT). I thought it was an interesting verse to look at in regard to the debate about whether or not Christians should pray to “Saints” or even to Mary. There is a slight translation issue in this verse – but when I have more time, I’ll go into that (only to say now, given the placement of the ’athnach, I think the NASB and ESV got it right).

(Isaiah 8:19)

וְכִֽי־יֹאמְר֣וּ אֲלֵיכֶ֗ם דִּרְשׁ֤וּ אֶל־הָאֹבוֹת֙ וְאֶל־הַיִּדְּעֹנִ֔ים הַֽמְצַפְצְפִ֖ים וְהַמַּהְגִּ֑ים הֲלוֹא־עַם֙ אֶל־אֱלֹהָ֣יו יִדְרֹ֔שׁ בְּעַ֥ד הַחַיִּ֖ים אֶל־הַמֵּתִֽים׃

When they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19, NASB)


4 Responses to Should we pray to “Saints”? (revisited)

  1. Ben says:

    Hm, it’s similar, certainly … but is “asking a saint to pray for you” the same as “consulting a medium”? For one thing, the goal is different … in one case, you are asking for intercession, in the other, you are seeking guidance and information. I’m not necessarily defending the practice, but I’m just questioning whether the cases are in fact analogous.

  2. Ashley says:


    I think the part that really applies is “should the dead on behalf of the living?”

  3. MG says:

    I think this kind of argument assumes that the saints are dead in a very specific sense–a sense that may not be predicated of them by Scripture. Furthermore, it assumes that consultation of mediums parallels the practice of praying to saints very closely and in the ways relevant to the objectionableness of the consultations. Perhaps drawing out some of these assumptions would be helpful to strengthening your argument.

  4. nathanwells says:

    You say this should be explored more as far as how dead saints are dead (as far as in what sense they are dead). But here’s the deal – God treats asking dead people, regardless of whether or not they were saints, as different than asking someone alive for help. It seems plain to me that in the OT they are dead, as in dead. That’s it – God treats those who are on the other side as dead, yes, though saints are “alive,” it is not the same as though they were still on earth here with us. So I ask you, since God considers them dead – why don’t you?
    No one prayed to Moses for help – and would he not be one of the greatest saints? What about David? I would think, of all saints, he would be a really good one to pray to, I mean a man after God’s own heart!! Why don’t you pray to OT saints? Or do you? Those in the OT did not pray to, or ask advice of OT saints because God forbade them to! Prayer is to be made to God alone. There is NO positive example of praying to anyone who is dead in ALL of Scripture, also interacting with the dead is SPECIFICALLY prohibited. Your tradition is opposed to Scripture.
    You consult dead saints to help you – and yet God says, don’t consult the dead through mediums. And if you are consulting the dead yourself – that means YOU are a medium, which is no better (does that make sense?). To me you are on very dangerous ground because this is not just about some tradition that is extra-biblical, but a tradition that is in direct violation of the Word of God, which means, it is no God-given tradition, but is a mere tradition of man, which leads no one to life.

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