Throughout Holy Scripture, we see heavenly angels intimately involved in the affairs of men. The Bible says that heavenly angels watch over each of our children, and that sometimes when we show kindness to strangers, we are actually entertaining angels unaware. Multiple passages in Scripture make it clear that angels in heaven know and care about what is happening here, on earth. For the Orthodox Christian, angels are guardians, intercessors, and friends.
Holy Scripture teaches us to communicate/pray to the angels. In Psalm 102 (Psalm 103 in some translations), we speak directly to the angels, asking them to bless God:
Bless the Lord, all ye his angels: you that are mighty in strength, and execute his word, hearkening to the voice of his orders. Bless the Lord, all ye his hosts: you ministers of his that do his will. (Psalm 102:20-21)
Three times in the New Testament, we are commanded to sing & pray the Psalms (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16, James 5:13). And if we obey that command, then at some point we will sing/pray Psalm 102:20 and Psalm 148:2. Upon doing this, we will be directly addressing angels in our songs/prayers.
In the example from Psalm 102, we communicate with the angels, asking them to bless the Lord. And of course we may communicate with them regarding any other topics as well. Just as I may ask my mother to pray for me, or my wife to pray for me, I may also ask Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, or my own guardian angel to pray for me.
What do the angels do with our prayers, after they receive them? They do the same thing with them that my mother and my wife do . . . they turn to God and present my prayers directly to Him. The book of Revelation observes that various beings in heaven “fell down before the Lamb,” each of them having “golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints” (Rev. 5:8). But they don’t keep our prayers locked up in those vials forever. They ultimately offer our prayers directly to the Lord Himself:
And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel. (Rev. 8:4)
We pray to the angels because the Scriptures tell us to do so. And we pray to the angels because the Church has always done so. How wonderful is that!
O holy guardian angel, to whose care God, in His mercy, has committed me, stand by me now and at my last hour; protect me against all the powers of darkness; defend me from all my enemies, and conduct my soul to the mansions of bliss. Amen.
Troparion (Tone 4)
Commanders of the heavenly hosts,
we who are unworthy beseech you,
by your prayers encompass us beneath the wings of your immaterial glory,
and faithfully preserve us who fall down and cry to you:
“Deliver us from all harm, for you are the commanders of the powers on high!”