Light, throughout the scriptures, is an important feature of the teachings of the Lord. Christ, Himself, called Himself the “light of the world” in John 8:12. In Matthew 5:14, He tells us that we, as believers, are the light of the world. In the building of the tabernacle and its furniture, there was a golden lampstand placed in the Holiest place. We read in Exodus 25:31-32, “And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same. And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side.” In the holy place there was no window or door to let the light in. It was lit from this glorious golden lampstand, which stood directly opposite the table on the south side in the Holy Place. This was a light that never went out. Exodus 27:20-21 says, “And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always. In the tabernacle of the congregation without the vail, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.”

However, candles were also used in pagan worship, processions, and ceremonial rites. Later, the Roman Catholics adopted the practice of using lit candles in Mass, liturgical processions, evening prayer ceremonies, funeral processions and other ceremonial uses. To quote one of the Catholic writers on the subject, “Here, as in early Christian times, we light a candle before a statue or sacred image of our Lord or of a saint. Of course, we do not honor the statue or the image itself, but the one whom that statue or image represents. The light signifies our prayer offered in faith coming into the light of God. With the light of faith, we petition our Lord in prayer, or petition the saint to pray with us and for us to the Lord. The light also shows a special reverence and our desire to remain present to the Lord in prayer even though we may depart and go about our daily business.” Notice in this practice that the one in prayer may be praying to a particular declared saint “to pray with us and for us to the Lord.” How unscriptural to think that someone other than Christ can be an intercessor for us. 1 Timothy 2:5 is clear. “For there is one God, and ONE MEDIATOR between God and men, THE MAN CHRIST JESUS.”

Is there danger in lighting candles before we pray? I think there is. Anytime we interpose any practice or symbol into our relationship with the Lord, we immediately begin to give that practice or symbol religious significance. If our prayers are affected by the need to locate and light a candle before we pray, we can see that our prayers are hindered. If we pray throughout the day without the use of candles, then perhaps we pray with candles in our homes in the evenings, we will surely consider that time to be more significant in our prayer life. If we feel the need to light a candle to enhance our prayers and make them more important to the Lord, we have denied the power of simple prayer. We read in James 5:16 that, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” We see here that it is the fervent, heartfelt prayers of one who is living a practical righteous life before the Lord that moves the Lord to answer. Nothing of candles being used in prayer is mentioned throughout Paul’s epistles.

I encourage you to allow your prayer life to be as simple and pure as possible. We do not need candles or lamps to enrich our prayers. No, our prayers are enriched when we wait upon the Lord to lead us in our prayers so that we might pray according to His will. 1 John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” The effective prayer is the one that is prayed according to the leading and will of God. (234.2)