Is praying to the dead Biblical?

BibleAsk Team

Praying to the Dead

Nowhere in the Scripture do we find a reference for a godly person praying to the dead or another human being. The Bible teaches that believers should pray to God alone. Jesus instructed His followers, “…when you pray, pray to your Father.” And He added, “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven…” (Matthew 6:6-9).

When we pray to the Father we recognize our son-ship to Him. We may be unworthy to address Him as “Father,” but whenever we do so in sincerity, He receives us with rejoicing (Luke 15:21–24) and acknowledges us as His sons. Also, the apostles taught the early believers “let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6 also Acts 8:22). It is idolatry to pray to finite humans instead of the all-loving, omniscient, omnipotent God (Psalm 139).

We as Christians are to come boldly unto the throne of God’s grace that we may find grace and help in time of need. “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

The State of the Dead

The Bible teaches that humans are finite beings. Once they die they are in a state of unconsciousness unaware of what is happening on earth (Psalms 13:3; Job 14:12; John 11:11-14; Acts 7:60; 1 Corinthians 15:18) until they are awakened at the Day of the Resurrection at the Last Day (Daniel 12:2).

After death a person: returns to dust (Psalms 104:29), knows nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5), possesses no mental powers (Psalms 146:4), has nothing to do with anything on earth (Ecclesiastes 9:6), does not live (2 Kings 20:1), waits in the grave (Job 14:12) until the resurrection (Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53). There is no sense in praying to the dead when they are unconscious.

God Forbids All Communications with the Dead

The Scriptures warns that the living should not pray or consult the dead. “Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them” (Leviticus 19:31; 20:5-7; Deuteronomy 18:10-14). “Should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19).

In the end-time, the devil will especially use sorcery (the agency that claims to receive power from the spirits of the dead) to deceive the world (Revelation 18:23). He and his demons will appear as the dead and give false messages to deceive humans and lead them away from the Word of God (2 Corinthians 11:13).

Since “the dead know not any thing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5), it is clear that they should not be consulted. Man commits a great sin when he forsakes the living God and contacts the evil spirits of Satan posing as the spirits of the dead. Those who reject this truth and adopt the popular misconceptions will fall for the devil’s lies (2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11).

Christian should pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus is the only Mediator. Only through Him can the sinner be reconciled to God (John 14:5–6; Romans 5:1–2). Thus, the Lord clearly rules out the need for human mediators.

For more on what the Bible teaches about the state of the dead, check the following link:

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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