Does the Bible talk about praying to angels? Is praying to angels wrong?
The Bible is clear that prayer is to only be given to God. When the disciples of Jesus asked Him how to pray, He began with the words, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name" (Matthew 6:9). At no time does Jesus promote or allow prayer to anyone or anything else other than God.
This teaching is consistent with what is found in the Old Testament. Exodus 20:3 commanded, "You shall have no other gods before me." Verse 5 adds, "You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God."
In the book of Daniel, his three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were commanded to worship the king's statue or face death in a fiery furnace. They were so committed to God's view not to worship or pray to anyone other than God that they were willing to die for it. When the king had them thrown into the furnace, God showed His approval of their faith by rescuing them unharmed (Daniel 3).
Daniel also faced death for praying only to God. In an effort to disqualify Daniel from government leadership, his opponents recommended the king sign a law that people could only pray to the king for the next 30 days. Those who prayed to any other god would be thrown into the lion's den. Daniel refused to pray to the king or to stop praying to God. Again, God showed His approval of Daniel's choice by miraculously saving him from hungry lions (Daniel 6).
When Jesus faced temptation from the devil, He was offered authority over all the nations of the world if He would bow to Satan. Jesus replied, "You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve" (Matthew 4:10). Jesus clearly taught God alone was worthy of worship or our prayers.
Why does the Roman Catholic tradition encourage prayers to angels? This view is based on Tobit 12:15, a book found in the Apocrypha that is accepted in the Catholic Bible but not by Protestants. This verse states, "I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One" (RSV). This is often combined with Revelation 8:2-4 that mention angels and the prayers of saints from the hand of the angel before God (Note: This passage does not state people are to pray to angels.).
However, this view stands in direct contrast with too many other biblical passages that command prayer is to be made only to God. Angels are God's servants, but they cannot intercede for us before God. Our prayers can be made directly to God. Hebrews 4:14-16 assures us, "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Jesus is our only mediator before God the Father. He has also given us the Holy Spirit to live with us (John 14:15-31; 16:5-15) and to intercede on our behalf (Romans 8:26-27). We are called to pray without ceasing to our Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:17), something that cannot take place if we also pray to angels.
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