It’s not surprising that praying to angels is a highly debated topic in the Christian community. The Bible teaches that angels are real, and they constantly work in unseen ways on behalf of God’s children. Scripture says, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14). Many believe that since angels are heavenly beings they have the power to influence God on our behalf. Though there is no verse in the Bible which explicitly states that you should not pray to angels, the Bible clearly teaches that we aren’t to worship angels or pray to them. There is only one mediator, or go-between, between humanity and God – Jesus Christ. Angels, nor anyone else, can intercede for believers directly to God the Father.
One reason why praying to angels is wrong is because Christ Himself never prayed to anyone but the Father. Never in Scripture do we find any example of people praying to angels. When God used an angel to reveal to the apostle John what was going to happen in the future, John’s first reaction was to fall down and worship the angel. Yet, when he did this, the angel immediately rebuked him. “But he said to me, ‘Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets – Worship God!’” (Revelation 22:9). The main reason we shouldn’t worship angels is because only God is worthy of worship and praise. Matthew 4:10 reminds us to “Worship the Lord you God, and serve Him only.” Nothing else must be allowed to take His place. Angels only serve to do the bidding of God. They cannot, in and of themselves, help us. Their power comes directly from God. Whenever they come to the aid of believers, it is because of the direct command of God.
When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He instructed them, ‘This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven…’” (Matthew 6:9). If God wanted us to pray to angels, this is where it would have been explicitly stated. We also see this in Matthew 11:25-26, where the Father is revealed to the Son. Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this what You were pleased to do.” Jesus not only starts His prayers by addressing the Father, but the content of His prayers usually requests assistance that could only be granted by God, who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.
As believers, we are called to pray without ceasing. We can only do this when we have access to a God who is always present and available to listen to the pleas of every person at the same time. Given angels are not omnipotent or omnipresent, they are not qualified to receive our prayers. Praying to angels would be ineffective because they are beings created by God and do not have the powers that God possesses.
In John 17:1-26, Jesus prays on behalf of His followers, requesting multiple blessings on them from God the Father, including glorification, sanctification and preservation of the saints. We know from Scripture that these blessings can only come from God. Angels do not have the power to sanctify us, glorify us or guarantee our inheritance in Christ. Only God can do this.
Some believers think that we should petition to angels. They think that angels are our best friends and that they want to help us, but they can’t or don’t because we don’t ask them. Many people exalt angels and in turn, lose sight of Jesus Christ, forgetting to call on Him. Angels are God’s messengers. God has used them to communicate His words and His will, and to carry out various assignments. Praying to angels actually reverses the chain of command, making angels the deciders, the ones who authorize what should be and shouldn’t be. As God’s messengers, angels do His bidding. Angels are not our messengers, or go-betweens to God.
While angels are created beings, they don’t have the divine attributes of God. We should pray to God because we recognize that He is all-knowing, all-powerful and present everywhere. Only He can answer prayer. Sometimes the prayers we lift up to God have unexpected answers. Because of this, we are often unprepared for the answers we receive from God. His answers frequently do not look at first like answers. They look like problems. They look like trouble. They look like loss, disappointment, affliction, conflict and sorrow. They cause deep soul wrestling and expose sins, doubts and fears. They are not what we expect, and we often do not see how they correspond to our prayers. When the answers we receive are unexpected or not the answers we believe we are looking for, this doesn’t mean that we turn to angels instead of turning to God. It means that we continue turning to God who answers prayer and know that through Him, we can expect the unexpected.
It’s OK to affirm and thank God for the existence of angels and their work, which is often unseen. In Psalm 91:11, the psalmist wrote: “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” Psalm 34:7 assures us, “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” While angels are ministering spirits and are here for good, ultimately, we aren’t to pray to angels. We don’t need to because we have Jesus Christ and we have direct access to the Father through Him. Place your trust and faith in Christ alone for your salvation, for He is our Savior. Everything we need can be accessed through Him.