St Paul is asking believers who are alive on the earth, who can read his letter, to pray to God for him. He is not asking those who are not physically there and cannot read his letter, to pray to God for him.
If Paul wanted the dead to pray for him to God on his behalf, he would not need to write a physical letter. Your example thus refutes itself. The only reason therefore that Paul would write a physical letter to physical living people is because he was asking the people who were alive in this particular church to pray for him. If Paul wanted people to pray to dead Christians to interced for us, you would have cited an example from the Bible that shows Paul directly promoting or using such a practice.
Paul was not asking the dead in Christ to pray for Him, because they don’t make intercessions for us and are not in a position to make intercessions for us. You don’t have conversations with dead people, whether they are Christians or not. We can have intercession to God through his ONE mediator (the Bible says ONE mediator), the God-man Jesus Christ precisely because He is not dead. Christ, the first fruit, was resurrected (no other Christians who have died are yet resurrected and alive again) and He is alive right now and forever.
It is interesting that you try to use an example from the bible to justify prayers to teh dead when it actually shows asking living people to pray for you, not dead people. Further the real story of the rich man and Lazarus after death shows the dead cannot intercede on their own behalf or anyone else.
Paul was not asking the dead in Christ to pray for Him, because they dont make intercessions for us and are not in a position to make intercessions for us.
Revelation 5:8 flatly disagrees with you.
We can have intercession to God through his ONE mediator (the Bible says ONE mediator), the God-man Jesus Christ
The intercession of the saints in heaven depends totally on Christ's mediation with the Father and is not independent of it, so your objection is irrelevant.
Besides, if you read the verse in context, you'll find the chapter in question commands intercessory prayer, it doesn't prohibit it. You'll also discover that that word in Greek translated "one" is not monos (one and only one) but heis (one, unique, primary).
precisely because He is not dead.
And those who have fallen asleep in Christ are dead? (You'd better consider John 11:25-26 before answering.)
You call Christ your one mediator, and proceed to dismiss his words which condemn your argument. If you call him "Lord, Lord," why do you not believe him when he says that nobody who believes in him ever dies?
Oh, and by the way: Matthew 22:32. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob aren’t dead, according to Jesus.
You asked why pray to saints, why not pray just to Jesus. So that question was answered - or, at least, an answer was attempted.
In response to the answer to the question you raised, you raise the issue of praying to people who "have gone before". And you seem to suggest that the example of Paul asking for the prayers of others is irrelevant because those others were "alive on the earth" at the time of his asking.
Now that may be a perfectly good objection to praying to the saints in heaven, but it is completely irrelevant response to the answer to your initial question, which was about asking for the prayers of others.
In fact, by your changing the subject, you delay our getting to know if you thought tht was a decent answer or not. I'm sorry, but I think of that as "Bait and Switch". It's not a tactic for straightforward conversation for conversation that explores and understands differences. It is more combative than discursive in nature. It is obfuscatory and confuses two issues and pretty much assures that the conversation will not move forward. And it risks raising the ambient temperature by calling into question the reason for the initial inquiry. Are you interested our thinking on why it is good to ask for intercessions, or are you rather, when it comes to Catholics praying to the Saints, going to throw up one objection after another like artillery shells thinking, or seeming to think, that if one shell misses another may hit and the main thing is to keep the barrage up and the enemy's head down?
Despite possible appearances, I don't mean this personally. I don't know you from Adam and recall no previous interaction. The lack of acknowledgment of the answer given and the changing of the question just stuck out like a doily in a midden.