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What Do Guardian Angels Do?

What Are Guardian Angels?


Guardian Angel', 1646.
Heritage Images / Contributor

If you believe in guardian angels, like most Americans do, you probably wonder what kind of divine assignments these hardworking spiritual beings fulfill. People throughout recorded history have presented some fascinating ideas about what guardian angels are like and what different types of jobs they do.

Lifetime Guardians

Guardian angels watch over people during their entire lives on Earth, many different religious traditions say. Ancient Greek philosophy claimed that guardian spirits were assigned to each person for life, and so did Zoroastrianism. Belief in guardian angels who God charges with lifetime care of humans is also a vital part of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Protecting People

As their name implies, guardian angels are often seen as working to guard people from danger. The ancient Mesopotamians looked to guardian spirit beings called the shedu and the lamassu to help protect them from evil. In Matthew 18:10 of the Bible, Jesus mentions that children have guardian angels protecting them. Mystic and writer Amos Komensky, who lived during the 17th century, wrote that God assigns guardian angels to help protect children “against all dangers and snares, pits, ambushes, traps, and temptations.” But adults get the benefit of guardian angels’ protection, too, says the Book of Enoch, which is included in the holy scriptures of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. 1 Enoch 100:5 declares that God will “set a guard of holy angels over all the righteous.” The Qur'an says in Al Ra'd 13:11: "For each [person], there are angels in front of him and behind him, who guard him by Allah's command."

Praying for People

Your guardian angel may be constantly praying for you, asking God to help you even when you’re not aware that an angel is interceding in prayer on your behalf. The Catholic Church’s catechism says of guardian angels: “From infancy to death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession.” Buddhists believe that angelic beings called bodhisattvas who watch over people listen to people’s prayers and join in with the good thoughts that people pray.

Guiding People

Guardian angels may also be guiding your path in life. In Exodus 32:34 of the Torah, God tells Moses as Moses is preparing to lead the Hebrew people to a new place: “my angel will go before you.” Psalm 91:11 of the Bible says of angels: “For he [God] will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Popular literary works have sometimes portrayed the idea of faithful and fallen angels offering good and bad guidance, respectively. For example, the famous 16th century play The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus featured both a good angel and a bad angel, who offer conflicting advice.

Recording Deeds

Islam and Sikhism both say that every person has two guardian angels for his or her earthly lifetime, and those angels record both the good and bad deeds that the person performs.

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