Praying to a saint isn’t like praying to God. If you are praying to a saint, you don’t think that saint is God. It is more like you are getting a friend to help you out.
Say God is the CEO of the place you work. You are a bit intimidated by him. You need to ask a favor, but you don’t think that he will listen. You don’t think that you are high enough up on the institutional pecking order to talk to him. Maybe you can’t get an appointment. But maybe you don’t even try, because you just don’t think he’ll make time for you.
So you talk to your manager, or his secretary. You ask them to carry the message to the CEO. You ask them because you really need this favor done, or you really need to get this message across. Perhaps something isn’t going right in the organization. Perhaps you see a way that it can be done better. If only this information can get to the CEO, then some action can take place.
You don’t have the authority to make a big sweeping change, but the CEO does. So you let someone know, and they talk to the CEO. Then the change happens (or not).
Because not every time you pray to God does the change happen. Sometimes it isn’t a good thing to ask for. God has the whole picture in mind. So God knows what is best. We can put in our opinions in the opinion box, but we have to trust that what happens is what is supposed to happen.
Now, ideally, you’d go straight to God. Or, you can go to Jesus, who will go to God. But Jesus removed all barriers between us and God. We don’t need intermediaries. We don’t need priests or ministers. We don’t need saints.
Sometimes we feel like we do, in the same way that we feel like we need training wheels when we start to learn how to ride a bike. But what happens when we learn how to ride, and we still use the training wheels? We don’t get as strong as we should.
Jesus makes us worthy to stand before God. When the veil before the Holy of Holies in the Temple was torn in two at Jesus’ death, all barriers between us and God were removed. By his blood we are cleansed, and by his stripes we are healed.
But this is a very human thing. People were constantly throwing themselves facedown when an agent of God (read – an angel) appears to them. They were constantly saying they aren’t worthy. There is nothing in the Bible that says they aren’t worthy, but they keep saying they are. We still do.
So we have saints, and priests, and ministers. We have intermediaries, and go-betweens.
And the message still gets through.
God wants to hear from us, no matter how. Keep praying. Keep asking. Keep knocking. Keep seeking. Keep praying. If you have to use saints, fine. You aren’t praying to them, so much as with them. They are like spiritual friends. But keep praying. God is listening.