Q. Recently I was introduced to some literature by a group that says believers should petition angels. The group says that angels are our best friends and want to help us but that they cannot or do not because we don’t ask them. In other words, we’re not receiving all kinds of good things from them because we’re not asking. Please comment.

A. Why settle for angels, when the Bible says that God Himself, the very creator and sustainer of the universe and of each of us, longs for us to pray to Him (Matthew 6:9; 7:7–11; 1 Thessalonians 5:17)? Further, the Lord Jesus, our Savior, is sitting at the right hand of God the Father making intercession for us (Hebrews 4:14–16; 7:25).

Interest in angels has been very high in recent decades, but unfortunately, false notions and beliefs about them have accompanied this fascination. Many people exalt angels while seemingly having little use for God Almighty (except in profanity) and for Jesus Christ and His salvation, which they need to be saved. We must understand the true Biblical doctrine of angels to not be carried away into false thinking and practices. The meaning of “angel” (mal’ak, Hebrew; aggelos, Greek) is basically “messenger.” God has used angels to communicate His words and His will, and to carry out various assignments. The idea of praying to angels reverses this divine chain of command, because it would make the angels the deciders, the authorities of what should be and what shouldn’t be. Angels are God’s messengers, doing His bidding; in contrast, angels are not our messengers, or go-betweens, to God. Nowhere does Scripture teach that we should pray to, or worship, angels.

We must always consider that angels are created beings and don’t have the divine attributes of God. I want to pray to God because only He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and everywhere present. Only He can answer prayer. Angels do not have these attributes. Ephesians 3:20 reminds us that God is able “to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Philippians 4:19 says, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (italics added).

I do want to emphasize that we affirm and thank God for the existence of angels and their work, practically all of it unseen. Why? Again, the Bible tells us to. Psalm 91:11 is as true today as when the psalmist wrote it: “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.” Psalm 34:7 assures believers, “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.”

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send your Bible questions to nolson@garbc.org, or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.