St Michael is a real favourite of Catholics. Many Catholics have some sort of devotion to St Michael (this author included).
In this article we will explore the topic of St Michael the Archangel and prayer.
Is Praying to Saints/Angels Biblical?
What is a prayer? It is an appeal for help, or could even be regarded as a conversation with someone heavenly. This happens all the time in the Bible.
Take Mary conversing with St Gabriel the Archangel at the beginning of Luke’s gospel.
Or how about Tobias and St Raphael, who develop a close friendship in the book of Tobit?
What about Abraham meeting and feeding the three angels in Genesis 18?
Or Samson’s parents having a chat with the angel of the LORD in Judges 13?
These relationships with angels occur all the way through the Bible. Frankly, it’s a wonder anyone could ever criticise Christians for speaking to or praying to angels.
There’s also Psalm 103, which says: ‘Bless the LORD, all you angels who excel in strength!’ This is a call upon even the angelic realm to praise God. But it is talking to angels. It is a prayer.
You may be surprised to discover that there is absolutely no passage of scripture which forbids praying to angels and saints. We are not permitted to offer sacrifice to them, or to any creature, but we can pray to them or ask for their prayers for us.
Why Pray to a Saint/Angel?
It may be said that there isn’t a great reason to ever pray to an angel or saint, because we can always just pray to God or Jesus. In a sense, this is of course true.
The Catholic Church (so far as I’m aware) nowhere commands Catholics to pray to saints or angels, but rather permits it and even encourages it. But Catholics don’t have to do this. They can just pray to God/Jesus.
Nowithstanding, the experience of the saints throughout the ages reveals a clear, consistent and highly widespread practice of devotion to many different saints, including angels. So, if this has been one of the obvious ways that saints have become saints, then we ought to take this into consideration before we decide it’s not really for us.
In fact, every Catholic has some kind of devotion to Mary, the Queen of saints, because she is the Mother of our Saviour. Some saints have said that it isn’t even possible to be saved without some kind of devotion to the Blessed Virgin, even if that devotion is relatively small. All true Christians love Mary, however they show it.
One very important reason to pray to saints and angels has to do with a fundamental element of Christianity: relationship. Christianity is fundamentally a relational religion. We relate to God and to each other.
We are called to love God and love each other. Even when some of us have died, our love for each other continues.
When a saint dies, if we happen to know them, it is only natural that we will want to continue a relationship with them across the cosmos.
Experience and life teaches us that we do not just need God in our lives, but we also need other Christians. We need the help of as many as can help us. We need their prayers, and advice, and even their example. We need their care and loving concern.
We all do this naturally without even thinking about it. We ask each other for prayers. We need each other’s love.
Additionally, we all gravitate to different Christians, based on who we are. The kinds of Christians I gravitate towards will be different to those you gravitate towards. We all ‘get on’ with different believers.
This is simply all that praying to saints is, in essence. Certain saints call us from beyond the grave into unique relationships with them. They want to help us, and different saints wish especially to help different Christians.
Put simply: we naturally ‘get on’ better with some saints than with others. The saints you find compelling may be competely different to those I find compelling.
Mary calls us all into a relationship with her, but she’s unique. Not all of us will have a devotion to every saint. There are just too many, as there are too many Christians in the world.
The saints can help us in special ways. Some are really good at bringing unique kinds of miracles into our lives. Others are really good if we want to grow in holiness. And so on.
There’s a saint for almost anything you can think of. We need all the help we can get!
What is St Michael Patron Saint of?
According to Wikipedia, Saint Michael is the patron saint of ‘grocers, paramedics, mariners, paratroopers, police officers, and military personnel.’ The last one seems particularly relevant to the universal Church, since the Church on earth is called the Church militant.
Catholics are called to fight against the forces of darkness, against sin and evil of every sort. We can realistically only do this if we have tremendous help enlisted in our corner. St Michael is a very popular saint we turn to to help us in our war against the Devil.
Why Have a Devotion to Saint Michael?
A well-known Catholic prayer to Saint Michael is as follows:
St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
As can be seen from this prayer, it’s very war-focused. The Church is at war with the armies of darkness, and there are few better than St Michael to help us. One St Michael on our side is equivalent to the sum total of all evil spirits.
So in your own life, St Michael is an excellent saint to turn to no matter what your struggles. This is especially the case if you feel that there are sinister, invisible things at work in your situation.
The invisible world is very real, and sometimes scares us. When we feel like this, St Michael should be our go-to.
For instance, when I moved house, I kept hearing strange noises upstairs. I found this unnerving, so I called upon St Michael to watch over the house. I’ve been at peace since.
Possible Devotions to St Michael
If you wish to expand your devotion to St Michael, you could try the following options.
You could do a 9 day Novena to St Michael. You can find that here.
You could also try the Litany of St Michael.
There is even a Chaplet of St Michael, also called the ‘Rosary of the Angels’.
For those who are serious about devotion to St Michael, I recommend the following Act of Consecration:
Oh most Noble Prince of the Angelic Hierarchies
valorous warrior of Almighty God,
and zealous lover of His glory,
terror of the rebellious angels,
and love and delight of all the just ones,
my beloved Archangel Saint Michael,
desiring to be numbered among thy devoted servants,
I, today offer and consecrate myself to thee,
and place myself, my family,
and all I possess under thy most powerful protection.
I entreat thee not to look at how little, I,
as thy servant have to offer,
being only a wretched sinner,
but to gaze, rather,
with favorable eye at the heartfelt affection
with which this offering is made,
and remember that if from this day onward
I am under thy patronage,
thou must during all my life assist me,
and procure for me the pardon of my many grievous offenses,
and sins, the grace to love with all my heart my God,
my dear Savior Jesus and my Sweet Mother Mary,
and obtain for me all the help necessary to arrive to my crown
Defend me always from my spiritual enemies,
particularly in the last moments of my life.
Come then oh Glorious Prince and succor me in my last struggle,
and with thy powerful weapon cast far from me
into the infernal abysses that prevaricator
and proud angel that one day thou prostrated
in the celestial battle.
Saint Michael, defend us in our daily battle
so that we may not perish in the last Judgment.
It would be a really good idea to pray this prayer everyday, perhaps during the evening sometime.
For the exceptionally keen, the 40-day devotion to St Michael, which began with St Francis of Assisi, would surely be life-changing.
It is one thing to write about prayers to a specific saint, but it’s another thing entirely to actually begin praying to them. You will learn far, far more about St Michael the Archangel and what devotion to him means if you simply stop reading this article and begin to take up one or more of these devotions.
When I wanted to learn about the Virgin Mary, I devoted myself to a series of Consecration prayers to her Immaculate Heart. I learned far more about Mary by praying these prayers everyday than if I had read many books about her.
Hopefully this article has whet your appetite to know more about St Michael and to perhaps begin a special relationship with him.
For those who already have a devotion to this great Saint and Archangel, perhaps it’s time for us to deepen this.