The Answer is in Your Prayers
If you want to know how far or close you are to God, all you need to do is pay attention to your prayers. Those who are really close to God and have a strong interpersonal relationship with Him, talk directly to God. Jesus, for example, didn’t ask any of the Old Testament saints and prophets like Isaiah, Samuel, Moses, or Elijah to intercede for Him. He took his concerns, petitions and prayers to God directly, addressing Him as Father, and he encouraged us to do the same.
When Moshe, my 6-year-old, wants something, he doesn’t say things like, “Father of mine, how are you? It’s been a while. I trust in your benevolence and generosity. If it be thy will to grant me some food, you can surely do it…” That would be really weird. Instead, he just runs in regardless of whether I am busy or not and says “Daddy, I am hungry.” And I leave everything aside and feed him first. Jesus said, “If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)
People who enjoy a strong relationship with God, don’t need an appointment to pray talk to Him. They are constantly running to Him. And because they are regular visitors, they can skip the formalities and pleasantries – the hosannas and alleluias – and come to God just as they are. They tell him what they need and trust in His goodness and divine providence. And God honors their child-like trust.
People who have not cultivated that kind of close relationship with God, our Heavenly Father, feel more comfortable praying to Jesus, His Son. They take everything to Jesus, asking God to answer their prayers in Jesus’ name. If you pray to God in Jesus’ name, that’s like telling God, “Jesus sent me to you.” God knows Jesus, our eternal high priest very well (Hebrews 4:14) and He will never turn away anyone who approaches Him in the name of His Son.
People who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, pray to His mother or the saints. The subconscious reasoning is I can’t go to God directly because I am too sinful. He will never hear my prayer. But I can go to Mary or St Jude or St. Patrick. They were human too, just like me. They will understand me better and will surely intercede on my behalf. This reasoning confirms what the Book of Isaiah says: Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God. (Isaiah 59:1)
People refuse to go directly to God because of conviction of sin. To them God is an angry God waiting to punish them. And they are not sure about their forgiveness through Christ’s finished work on the cross. So they prefer to take the long and circuitous route. Actually, I see some logic in that approach too. Think about it. If you didn’t know the CEO of your company personally, wouldn’t you try approaching his secretary first? It’s all about relationship and who you are most comfortable talking with.
Frankly speaking, you can ask Mary, the saints and all the hosts of heaven to intercede for you if it makes you happy. After all, we even ask people on earth — our pastors, family and friends — to pray for us, don’t we? I am sure God doesn’t mind at all. He is not insecure about these things.
Your eventual goal, however, should be to try and cultivate an interpersonal father-child relationship with God himself. If you are the CEO’s son you don’t need to come through the secretary. Heck! You don’t even need an appointment. You have direct access 24/7. You can come and go as you please and have all your prayers answered even before you say Amen.
I can assure you that Mary and all the saints of heaven won’t mind one bit if you start talking to God directly. Even Jesus would be absolutely delighted. After all, He did not die so we could have one more religion; He died so we could have a relationship with His Father. And quite frankly, God likes wants that kind of a relationship with you too.