We run our website the way we wished the whole internet worked: we provide high quality original content with no ads. We are funded solely by your direct support. Please consider supporting this project.

Q&A

Are angels involved in answering prayer?

READER: In Daniel 10 we read of an angel telling Daniel that he was delayed from giving him the answer to his prayer because of spiritual warfare going on. My question is, are angels always involved in answering our prayers?

GREG: It’s impossible to answer this question with any degree of certainty. Having said that, it is clear throughout the Bible that, though he is sovereign, God wants to do things in partnership with created beings. As the Trinitarian God is a social God, it makes sense that he would create a world in which everything is “hard-wired,” if you will, to work socially. So while God sometimes operates completely on his own, it seems that most of the time he works to accomplish his will through others. And for this reason, I’m inclined to believe that God often—if not always—responds to prayer by means of angels.

This means, of course, that the response to prayer depends, to some degree, on the effectiveness of the angel, as well as whether or not there is interference from other angels (as in Daniel 10). The extent to which God makes the accomplishing of his will dependent upon created agents—whether human or angelic—is the extent to which it is uncertain that it will actually be accomplished. Even still, God apparently deems a world with free agents who have genuine “say-so” valuable enough to be worth the risk.

This view also helps us make sense of why God seems to respond to prayer so arbitrarily. For example, why does one parent’s prayer for their child to be healed have miraculous results while another parent’s prayer accomplish nothing? Many Christians would say it was simply God’s will to heal one child but not the other, thereby making God appear arbitrary and unloving. Other Christians would say that the first parent must have prayed with more faith than the second, making the second parent responsible for their child’s death! But we should notice that the delay in Daniel’s prayer had nothing to do either with God’s will or Daniel’s faith. It was rather due to angelic interference. When we accept that there is an invisible society of angelic beings that affect the outcome of prayer, we can appreciate why the answer to prayer seems so arbitrary without blaming God or people.

 


Image by OpenSource.com. Used in accordance with Creative Commons. Sourced via Flickr

 

Related Reading

Civilian or Soldier: Which Are You?

The Bible makes it clear that the people of God are to be on the offensive in storming the gates of hell (See post) and that Christians are to put on the armor of God (See post). However, in modern Western Christianity, it is much more common to behave more like civilians on a vacation than…

When God Needs an Intercessor

In the previous two posts, we have been exploring biblical narratives that point to how God’s knowledge is temporally conditioned and thus supports an open view of the future, or open theism as it is commonly called. The first addressed how God regrets and the second how God discovers. In this post, I want to…

Topics:

Why Is It So Much Easier For Jesus To Perform Miracles When He Said We Would Do Even Greater Things? (podcast)

In this episode Greg discusses the miracles of Jesus, particularly looking at why we struggle to perform them. Episode 27 http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0027.mp3

Prayer and Co-Reigning with God

God’s primary objective is a world in which free agents love God and one another. For this to be possible, people need a stable environment and freely chosen, irrevocable, morally responsible say-so. Prayer is simply the spiritual side of our morally responsible say-so. We influence things by what we do through our bodies and in…

Why Prayer Matters

Two questions about prayer: What possible difference can prayer make to an all-good and all-powerful God? Why would an all-wise God leverage so much of his will being done on earth on whether or not his people talk to him? These questions began to be resolved for me when I began to think about prayer…

The Demonic Affects Us All!

Many contemporary Western Christians think we only engage in spiritual warfare when we encounter somebody who is exhibiting bizarre, demonically-inspired behavior, such as the demonized people Jesus confronted in the Gospels. Since most Western Christians rarely hear about, let alone personally encounter, such people, the concept of spiritual warfare plays little to no role in…