And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. (Rev 8:3-4)
Lutherans say: “Why should we ask the prayers of the saints for ourselves? We pray to God Himself.” But they contradict themselves, for why do they ask a pastor to pray for them? They might as well pray without a pastor if everyone has an equal access to God and we have no need of any sanctified suppliants. What blindness! They say that by praying to the saints we worship idols. This is untrue. We do not pray to any saint as we pray to God, we only ask his prayers for ourselves. Is there a shadow of idolatry in this? In the same manner as we ask God’s living ministers and suppliants to pray to Him for us, so likewise we ask the heavenly suppliants, who, from their love to God, have great boldness before Him; besides this, very many of them, even when they lived here on earth, were already suppliants and intercessors before God for the world; there, in heaven, this activity of theirs is only continued, has attained greater dimensions, and is especially powerful, because it is no longer hindered by the heavy and inert flesh. All the saints, though they have finished their earthly course, yet live: “For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living; for all live unto Him.”
Sergieff, Archpriest John Iliytch; St John of Kronstadt (2010-05-26). My Life in Christ, or Moments of Spiritual Serenity and Contemplation, of Reverent Feeling, of Earnest Self-Amendment, and of Peace in God (Kindle Locations 7658-7666). . Kindle Edition.