In this study, we explore whether or not Christians should pray to angels. We also look at what it takes for our prayers to reach God.
1 Timothy 2:1-6
2 Cor 11:14-15
1 John 4:1-3
Introduction - Praying to Angels
Since angels are seen as supernatural beings, some people try to pray to them directly to get their requests fulfilled.
Those who pray to angels include:
- angel saints: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael
- pray to their angels: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael
- Michael and Gabriel are in the bible
- Uriel and Raphael are from their apocryphal books: Tobit and Enoch 1
- New Age Religions
- pray to many angels by name
- light candles of a certain color candle for a corresponding angel
- wear crystals that represent a certain angel
- Orthodox Christians
- Some Jews
Why people pray to angels:
- to bring blessings and favor in various parts of their lives
- seeking favor or answers in their relationships
- seeking favor in their finances
- to get parking spots
- for guidance
Why Some Believe It’s Biblical
Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
- Is David asking the angels to do anything for his benefit?
- What is he asking the angels to do?
- praise God
- Is he asking or instructing them to do it?
- he’s instructing them
Praise the Lord.[a]
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights above.
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
- What is David instructing “the waters” to do?
- praise God
These are songs in which David is telling all things in Heaven and earth that they should praise God
- let Heaven and nature sing
Angels Joining in Worship
If anything this is telling us that it’s okay to request/instruct the angels to praise and worship God
Some Jewish and Christians traditions directly request angels to join in with them in worship or praise
Are Your Prayers Reaching God?
3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.
- Did the angel give the prayers to God?
- It says: “prayers of God’s people”. Who were they praying to?
- not the angel
- What is the angels responsibility?
- to get the prayers to God
- Does the angel respond to the prayers?
- Is there any reason to think that if we prayed to the angel that those prayers would even get to God?
- What was combined with the prayers?
- Where did the incense come from?
- it was given to the angel
- By whom?
- it doesn’t say
Getting Our Prayers To God
1I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me;
hear me when I call to you.
2May my prayer be set before you like incense;
may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
- What did David hope that his prayers would resemble?
The Altar of Incense in the Tabernacle
34Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts, 35and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. 36Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. 37Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the Lord. 38Whoever makes incense like it to enjoy its fragrance must be cut off from their people.”
- Where was this incense used?
- on the altar in front of the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle
- Where else could this incense be used?
- no where else but in the Holy place for God
- God said the incense would be:
- most holy
8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.
- Who was praying?
- all the assembled worshippers
- Did the priest assist in getting the prayers to God
- Did the people pray to the priest?
- Could the angel have assisted in getting the prayers to God?
- yes, it’s feasible
- Did the people pray to the angel?
So we have an image of the priest in the physical realm presenting the prayers to Heaven and an angel in the spiritual realm taking them and presenting them to God
The Golden Altar of Incense
When God designed the Jewish temple, the layout was meant to represent the layout that exists in the spiritual realm in Heaven. So we can examine the physical representation to understand the spiritual reality.
The golden altar of incense, which is not to be confused with the brazen altar, sat in front of the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. This altar was smaller than the brazen altar. It was a square with each side measuring 1.5 feet and was 3 feet high. It was made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. Four horns protruded from the four corners of the altar.
God commanded the priests to burn incense on the golden altar every morning and evening, the same time that the daily burnt offerings were made. The incense was to be left burning continually throughout the day and night as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It was made of an equal part of four precious spices (stacte, onycha, galbanum and frankincense) and was considered holy.
-- The Tabernacle Place
Rev 8:3 And there was given unto him much incense . . .—Literally, And there was given to him much incense that he might (not “offer it with,” as English version, but) give it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. The incense was to be mingled with the prayers of the saints. The incense was added to give a fragrance to the prayers of the saints, and render them acceptable before God. The incense which is added to the prayers is not supplied by the angel: it is first given to him, and he then mingles it with the prayers of all saints.
- there were two altars in the tabernacle:
- the Altar of Burnt Offering
- the Altar of Incense
- the burnt offering was a blood offering to atone for the sins of the people
- the incense was added to the prayers to make the prayers sweet smelling and acceptable to God
- In Rev 8, the incense was not supplied by the angel, but it was given to the angel
- the bible does not tell us who gives the incense to the angel
- you can look at the incense as purifying our prayers so that they will be worthy of reaching God
- only holy things can be in God’s presence
- since the incense was holy and sacred when it intermingled with the prayers the prayers became holy enough to reach God
Since we no longer use these altars how are our prayers getting purified?
1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
- So we see that Jesus’ death and resurrection replaced not only the blood sacrifice, but also the altar for incense
- Jesus makes our prayers sweet smelling to God
- Jesus purifies our prayers and makes them holy
- Jesus washes away our sins
- Although we see biblical examples alluding to priests and angels assisting in getting our prayers to God, Christians no longer need their assistance because Jesus will now ensure that our prayers get to God
Jesus is Our Only Mediator
1 Timothy 2:1-6
1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.
- Does Paul encourage intercessory prayer?
- Who do we need to go through to get our prayers to God?
- only Jesus
- not priests, pastors, angels, saints, Mary
The Holy Spirit
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us[b] with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
- the Holy Spirit will also pray on our behalf
So although it’s fine to have others pray for you, you can have direct access to God through Jesus. You don’t need to send your prayers through anyone else. You can go directly to God through Jesus. The Holy Spirit will also pray to God on your behalf.
Don’t Worship Angels
3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
- Which images was God against?
- any image depicting anything in heaven or earth
- What are the two things God said we shouldn’t do to any images
- worship them
- bow down
- What are some examples of images that people bow down to?
18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.
- there are people who worship angels
9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
10 At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.”
- Will an angel of God encourage you to worship/honor it?
- Who will angels encourage you to honor?
Is Prayer Worship?
If you pray you are honoring or showing respect to what you pray to
To pray to something you’re exalting it as being higher than you
Example: What if a tv pastor said that you should pray to him for a monetary blessing instead of praying to God?
No Other Names
13 “Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.
- Is it okay to say the names of other beings when praying?
- just Jesus or God
- not saints, Mary, specific angels by name
- we know that God is a jealous God
Dangers of Praying to Angels
40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
- Are all angels serving God?
- Do all angels have your best interest in mind?
- What are the 2 types of angels?
- angels following God
- demons that follow the devil
2 Cor 11:14-15
14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
- What does it mean that satan masquerades as an angel of light?
- he will pretend to be an angel of God
- What does it mean that is servants will masquerade as servants of righteousness?
- the demons will pretend to be angels from God
- if you’re praying directly to an angel how do you know which type you’re praying to?
example: Son wanting to drive car
If you pray to a demon are you praying to an angel?
What’s the best way for a demon to get you to continue praying to it?
Testing the Spirit
1 John 4:1-3
1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
- how does the bible say to test a spirit
- any spirit that claims Jesus is God come in the flesh
- until then you don’t know
8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!
- What is a sign not to listen to an angel?
- if it teaches something other than the good news of Jesus coming to earth and dying to give us eternal life
Satan Wants to be Honored
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]”
Satan wanted Jesus to worship him. Satan wants us to worship him.
- If an angel tells you to worship him then it is not from God.
- An angel shouldn’t contradict something in the bible
- Notice that anytime people in the bible communicated with angels they saw the angel
- If the angels teaches something other than ‘God coming to earth as Jesus and dying to give us eternal life’ it’s not from God
Why take the risk when you can pray directly to God?
Why People Pray to Angels
- unanswered questions
- they see them as powerful
- because things supernatural are intriguing
- to give them some control of their life
- they think it will be more effective than praying to God
- not getting a response from God
They aren’t getting what they want from God, so they turn to other sources
previous studies to reference:
- Why Prayers Don’t Get Answered
- 10 Reasons Your Prayers Don’t Get Answered
example: calling post office to find out if you got a college acceptance letter
- the post office only delivers the mail they were given
- honoring the postman won’t help
- don’t call the post office
- it’s okay to try to call the college directly to see if it got lost in the mail
- it won’t affect your chances of getting accepted
- pray without ceasing
- What if the guy at the post office says that you need to send him $65 for the college’s processing fee?
God Should Be Our Source
9When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13You must be blameless before the Lord your God.
God should be the first one we turn to to:
- find out answers
- find out future
- solve our problems
- find our mate
Don’t Seek Answers From:
- fortune tellers / psychics
We should not take part in any rituals that involve communicating with or directing any other beings other than God or Jesus:
- dead prophets (e.g. Moses, Elijah)
- deceased relatives
- Mary (mother of Jesus)
Don’t perform any rituals involving:
- creating an altar to honor anything other than God or Jesus
- burning candles for other beings
- candle burning isn’t referenced in the bible
- chanting or praying any names other than names of God or Jesus
- if the name isn’t in the bible how do you know whether it’s good or evil?
- channelling spirits
problems caused by praying to angels:
- false sense of control/security
- weakens your relationship with God
- it is idolatry
- opens the door for demonic contact
The bible does support seeking answers from:
- Godly counsel
- the bible
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
- Your father is the king yet you're praying to the servants of his household (angels)
- We should not exalt angels by praying to them or honoring them above us
If we are children of the king we should not honor the king’s messengers, soldiers, entertainers, and informants. You do not bow to them, pray to them, or put them in high esteem. Only the king is worthy of your honor. The king will assign them to protect, educate, and guide his children until they come to a point of maturity.
Question to Ponder: What happens to that relationship after the king's children reach a point of maturity? When the princes and princesses grow up what is their relationship with the servants of their father’s house?
Galatians 4:1-71Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, 2but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. 3So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. 4But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
Presenter: Michael Leadon
- some people pray to angels (like Catholics)
- some cults or mystic religions pray to angels by name
- there are no examples in the bible of humans petitioning angels directly for anything
- with the possible exception or request to have angels join in worship to God
- We looked at what the bible said was involved in getting our prayers to Heaven
- In the Old Testament the High Priest stood before an altar of incense in front of the Holy of Holies in the temple/tabernacle to aid prayers reaching God
- In Revelations, we see an angel in Heaven mixing holy incense with prayers to purify them so that they can reach God
- Ephesians tells us that Jesus is now both the fragrant offering and the sacrifice
- Jesus atones for our sins and He purifies our prayers so they are worthy of reaching God
- Jesus is now the only mediator between us and God
Christ is now the mediator between us and God. But this is only if we allow Him to be. This is why Christ said “if you abide in me ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”. If you abide in Christ He will ensure God hears your prayers and you hear God’s answers get back to you.
- We also saw that there are good and bad angels
- The bible states that Satan and his demons disguise themselves as angels of light
- If you pray to angels you open yourself up to interaction with demons