Should We Worship or Pray to Angels?

Sometimes people want to give angels extra credit. It’s as if people want their own angel to lift them from adversity or to do their own bidding in personal affairs. They often look to angelic aid without ever calling on God for help. Some people look to angels almost as their own personal genies.

Some believe that we each have our own “guardian angel” assigned to us. It’s true, as Jesus said of those who come to Him in childlike faith (Matthew 18:4-6), “that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven” (verse 10). Yet this does not necessarily mean one angel to a person. It could mean a plurality of angels to each person or to the believers collectively, with assignments shifting.

Some people have a near obsession or near worship of angels. Angels are real, but one must be cautious about giving the credit to angels when the real credit for miracles and answered prayers should go to God!

Christians are to diligently follow the Ten Commandments, and the first is very clear: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). Interestingly, angel worship has been around a long time. Gnosticism, a philosophical religious movement that was beginning to infiltrate the Church in the first century, falsely taught that angels are necessary intermediaries between God and each of us.

The apostle Paul referred to this in Colossians 2:18: “Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels . . .” The Holman Bible Dictionary states that this incorrect teaching claimed that knowing about angels enabled “one to gain blessings in this life and attain the level of divine in the next.”

We mustn’t forget that Jesus Christ alone is our necessary Mediator with God (1 Timothy 2:5). Yet angels have served in intermediary capacities in certain respects, and people are drawn to that, thinking they can communicate with angels to have an “in” with God. (We see a similar problem among those who pray to various saints. But praying to saints and angels is really an adoption of the pagan methodology of approaching the spirit realm through lesser deities.)

And we should remember this: True angels don’t take our focus away from God and point it at themselves. Angels are careful not to develop a relationship with us. Why? Because a person would then start to rely on the angel rather than on God. And it seems that different angels may minister to the same person so that this kind of relationship is not developed. Again, the Bible does not state that we each have our own angel.

The apostle John records an encounter with an angel who pointed John toward God alone and cautioned about bowing down to or giving more credit to angels (or anyone) than is due:

“Then he [the angel] said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true.’ And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place. ‘Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.’

“Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God’” (Revelation 22:6-9; see also 19:10).

We are not to worship angels. We are to only worship God, and angels are very sensitive to this! We should also direct our prayers only to God, as Scripture directs.

Some have claimed to be communing with angels. If they are indeed having such encounters, these are not God’s holy angels they are engaged with—but rather evil spirits (demons) perhaps posing as righteous angels to gain influence in people’s lives.

We are to worship and revere God, not His angels. The angels are God’s messengers, His ministering spirits, who serve God’s people. They appear to mankind when necessary to pass on a message or take care of a duty for God.

We do see the prophets Daniel and Zechariah each referring to an angel as “my lord” (Daniel 10:16-17, 19; Zechariah 6:4). However, this was just a term of respect—comparable to John calling an angel “sir” (Revelation 7:14). This was not in the sense of addressing one’s true lord and master. (Consider that our English word mister today derives from “master,” but we don’t mean an actual master when we say “mister.”)

If you wish to express thanks for what God’s holy angels do for you and all of us, give thanks to God. They act at His command. But never seek to thank or praise the angels directly. This goes against what God directs—and will expose you to serious spiritual dangers.