|Papier maché Angels,|
Does the Bible promote or forbid praying to angels?"
What are angels? They are superhuman or heavenly beings who serve as God's messenger. Both the Hebrew malak [J; 'm] and the Greek angelos [a [ggelo"] indicate that these beings also act decisively in fulfilling God's will in the world. But these two terms also apply to human beings as messengers ( 1 Kings 19:2 ; Hag 1:13 ; Luke 7:24 ). "Angels" are mentioned almost three hundred times in Scripture, and are only noticeably absent from books such as Ruth, Nehemiah, Esther, the letters of John, and James.
The Old Testament From the beginning, angels were part of the divine hierarchy. They were created beings ( Psalms 148:2 Psalms 148:5 ), and were exuberant witnesses when God brought the world into being (Job 38:7 ). By nature they were spiritual entities, and thus not subject to the limitations of human flesh. Although holy, angels could sometimes behave foolishly ( Job 4:18 ), and even prove to be untrustworthy (Job 15:15 ). Probably these qualities led to the "fall" of some angels, including Satan, but the Bible contains no description of that event. When angels appeared in human society they resembled normal males ( Genesis 18:2 Genesis 18:16 ; Ezek 9:2 ), and never came dressed as women.
In whatever form they occurred, however, their general purpose was to declare and promote God's will. On infrequent occasions they acted as agets of destruction ( Gen 19:13 ; 2 Sam 24:16 ; 2 Kings 19:35, ; etc. ). Sometimes angels addressed people in dreams, as with Jacob ( Gen 28:12 ; 31:11 ), and could be recognized by animals before human beings became aware of them, as with Balaam ( Nu 22:22 ). Collectively the divine messengers were described as the "angelic host" that surrounded God ( 1 Ki 22:19 ) and praised his majesty constantly ( Psalm 103:21 ). The Lord, their commander, was known to the Hebrews as the "Lord of hosts." There appears to have been some sort of spiritual hierarchy among them. Thus the messenger who instructed Joshua was a self-described "commander of the Lord's army" ( Jos 5:14-15 ), although this designation could also mean that it was God himself who was speaking to Joshua.
In Daniel, two angels who interpreted visions were unnamed ( 7:16 ; 10:5 ), but other visions were explained to Daniel by the angel Gabriel, who was instructed by a "man's voice" to undertake this task (8:15-16 ). When a heavenly messenger appeared to Daniel beside the river Hiddekel (Tigris), he spoke of Michael as "one of the chief princes" ( Daniel 10:13 Daniel 10:21 ). This mighty angel would preside over the fortunes of God's people in the latter time ( 12:1 ). Thereafter he was regarded by the Hebrews as their patron angel. In the postexilic period the term "messenger" described the teaching functions of the priest (Mal 2:7 ), but most particularly the individual who was to prepare the way for the Lord's Messiah ( Mal 3:1).
There are also several practical and theological reasons why praying to angels is wrong. Christ Himself never prayed to anyone but the Father. When asked by His disciples to teach them to pray, He instructed them, “This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven…’” (Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2). If praying to angels were something we, as His disciples, are to do, this would have been the place for Him to tell us. Clearly, we are to pray only to God.
This is also evident in passages such as Matthew 11:25-26, where Christ's prayer introduction begins with "I praise thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth...." Jesus not only begins His prayers by addressing the Father, but the content of His prayers usually requests assistance that could only be granted by someone with omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent powers. Praying to angels would be ineffective because they are created beings and do not possess these powers.
The case against praying to angels can also be made by reviewing John 17:1-26 where Jesus prays on behalf of His followers, requesting multiple blessings on them from God the Father, including sanctification, glorification, and preservation of the saints. These three blessings can only come from the source that presently holds them, and again, angels simply do not have this power. Angels cannot sanctify us, they cannot glorify us, and they cannot guarantee our inheritance in Christ (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Second, there is an occasion in John 14:13 when Christ Himself tells believers that whatever we ask in His name, He will accomplish because He pleads directly with the Father. Offering a prayer up to angels would fall short of an effective and biblically guided prayer. Christ mentions that prayers must be offered up in His name alone: John 16:26. This verse conveys the message that, after Christ's ascension to heaven, He acts as an intercessor to the Father for all believers. Neither angels nor any other created being is ever depicted as an intercessor with the Father. Only the Son and the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26) can intercede before the Father’s throne.Last, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells the believer to pray without ceasing. This would only be possible if a believer has access to a God who is always present and available to listen to the pleas of every person at one time.
Angels do not have this ability—they are not omnipresent or omnipotent—and as such are not qualified to receive our prayers. Prayer to the Father through Christ is the only necessary and effective means by which we can communicate with the Father. No, praying to angels is absolutely not a biblical concept.