Communing with God in order to praise Him, thank Him, bring our requests before Him, and intercede for others is a privilege indeed. A blood bought privilege. Throughout the Scripture we are told that when we pray we should address those prayers to God. We are never told to pray to anyone or anything else. David says his prayer shall be made to “the God of my life” (Psa. 42:8), and while receiving the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Apostle John twice bows before an angel and is told directly to stop and “worship God” (Rev. 19:10; 22:9).
Jesus teaches us to pray by saying, “Our Father in heaven” (Luke 11:2). And the Scripture confirms that we are to pray to the Triune God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father as our provider and protector (Luke 11:3-4), the Son as the only mediator between God and men (1 Tim. 2:5), and the Spirit as our Helper and Teacher (John 14:16; 16:13).
However, many today are still being taught by false religions and false teachers to pray to Mary the mother of Jesus, or to other saints (believers) who have died and gone to be with the Lord. The Bible never gives us such instruction and in fact goes so far as to completely prohibit any kind of communication with the dead.
Those who have died and are with the Lord cannot hear us, answer us, convey a message to God on our behalf, or influence anything in our lives while we remain on this earth. The Scriptures teach plainly that they do not know what is going on here on the earth, have no concerns with anything in the temporal realm, and they have no more share or participation with the things of this world. They are not proud of our achievements or distraught at our failures. They are completely unaware of us as their attention is caught up and focused upon the One who redeemed them from sin and death! (See Ecclesiastes 9:5-6; Job 14:21; Isa. 63:16).
If people believe that they can speak to the dead and that the dead hear them, or if they claim to have seen a departed loved one, we must pay special attention to the warnings throughout Scripture that tell us to avoid “familiar spirits.” These are the spirits of dead ones that we have known, that is, they are familiar to us. The great danger lies in the fact that the spirits of those who have died do not come back, there are no ghosts, and there is no such thing as a place that is haunted – at least not by the spirits of people who have died. Familiar spirits, ghosts, apparitions, or any appearance of a departed person is identified in the Scriptures as a demon, a fallen angel who is intent on deceiving us and leading us astray from the truth. (See Lev. 19:31; 20:6, 27; Deut. 18:11; Isa. 8:19).
The one occurrence in Scripture of a medium actually calling up the spirit of a dead person is recorded in 1 Samuel 28:3-19. Saul employed a medium to commune with the spirit of Samuel the prophet. The sorceress cried out in fear when Samuel appeared because she certainly was not expecting him to be there! And the resulting judgment for this sin lead directly to Saul’s death (1 Chron. 10:13-14).
Instead of talking to the dead about the living, talk to the living God who alone can hear and answer our prayers. Otherwise we commit idolatry and worship the creature (dead or alive) instead of the Creator (Rom. 1:22-23, 25).