Are Angels Necessary?

If God is all-powerful, why do we need angels?

Find Out:
  • Is God Offended When We Contact Angels?
  • Why Do We Need to Contact Angels?

    Is it OK to ask God to send an angel to help us, or should we ask God to help us directly? Is God offended when we ask him to send an angel?
    --Ruby F.

    You ask two good questions. The first is, should we pray only to God, or is it also right to pray to his angels? Although Protestants and Catholics agree on most things about angels, they do differ on this question about praying to angels.

    Protestant theologians point out that in the entire Bible, no one is ever told to pray to an angel, and there are no instructions on how to pray to one. In Matthew 6, however, Jesus instructs Christians to pray to God and even how to pray to him. Hence, most Protestants do not pray to angels, but only pray directly to God. A key text is 1 Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus..."


    Catholic doctrine holds that it is necessary to pray to God, but it is also helpful to pray to saints (not just those who have been canonized by the Church, but any Christian who has died). James Cardinal Gibbons in his book Faith of Our Fathers explained,

    We can ask any person in heaven to join us in prayer. This includes our relatives who have gone before us. We do not pray to the saints in the sense that they have any power of their own. We ask them to pray with us to God, just as I can ask you to pray with me to God. ...However, we do not think it is necessary or essential to pray to saints. Our one mediator is Jesus who is the bridge between us and God. He is really the essential conduit.

    The Catholic Church teaches that angels are deeply concerned with our well-being. God gives them charge over us to be our guardians (Psalm 91:11-12; Daniel 12:1; Matthew 18:10; Acts 12:5-11, 5; Hebrews 1:14); so surely they must pray for their charges! We also have fellowship with them as fellow citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22). We should not and do not worship them as we worship God, but we can still love and talk to them, even as we love and talk to fellow Christians on earth.
    Catholics make the case for why Christians can and should pray to angels. They point out that Jesus himself warned us not to offend small children, because their guardian angels have guaranteed intercessory access to the Father: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 18:10).

    They also point out that in the book of Revelation, angels are shown bringing the prayers of God’s people. "[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God" (Rev. 8:3–4).

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    William D. Webber
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