Latter-day Saint Life

How to be more mindful of the ministry of angels in your life

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Shepherds learn of the birth of Christ through an angel of the Lord (Luke 2:9).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints YouTube screenshot

We often read stories of angels in the scriptures. We know that Daniel was cast into a den of lions but was protected because “God hath sent his angel and hath shut the lions’ mouths” (see Daniel 6:22). We know that the angel Gabriel visited Mary, telling her to fear not, and that she would bear the Son of God (see Luke 1:30). And when the Savior suffered in Gethsemane, an angel came “unto him from heaven, strengthening him” (Luke 22:43).

These angels, and many others in scripture, have fulfilled important roles in helping others during their time of need. In fact, the Bible Dictionary explains that angels are “messengers of the Lord” who are “sent forth to minister to the inhabitants of the earth.” More specifically, it explains that “we learn from latter-day revelation that there are two classes of heavenly beings who minister for the Lord: those who are spirits and those who have bodies of flesh and bone.”

Angels can also be the people around us—those who follow the promptings of the Spirit and selflessly give their love and service to us. It might, at times, be easy to take their acts of kindness for granted. In this modern world, though, I think we may more often forget about those angels in our lives who are on the other side of the veil and who are quietly ministering to us. And yet, I believe there is power in knowing that heaven is on our side and that those in the spirit world are likely more aware of us than we realize.

Having never delved into this subject before, I recently decided to study more about angels and see what current Church leaders have said about them. Additionally, I wanted to find examples of how angels are ministering to us today. While I can barely scratch the surface about this topic, here are six takeaways I’ve found that I hope can inspire us to be more aware of and grateful for the angels in our lives today.

1. Angels Still Minister to Us Today

First, let me start out by sharing a story. Over two years ago, I interviewed Sarah Frei, a Latter-day Saint teenager who had been hit in a car accident by a drunk driver. She had sustained serious injuries that would result in her becoming paraplegic, and both of her legs had to be amputated.

You may also like: ‘Nothing can stop her’: How teen Sarah Frei's faith and love for the Savior prepared her to be a paraplegic and double amputee

This life-altering situation could shake many people’s faith. But that was not the case for Sarah and her family, including her mother Amy, who told me stories of angels. Some of those angels were actual people at the scene of the accident: off-duty Emergency Medical Technicians were nearby and another bystander had a satellite phone, which was essential to call for an ambulance because there was no cell service in the area.

Other angels, though, were unseen. Amy told me, “These first responders … have even said there were angels there with these kids, with them, protecting them—they could feel a spirit there.”

Sarah also felt the love and support of family beyond the veil. The Freis believed that Sarah’s grandmother, who had passed away a few months prior, was watching over her. But one of the things that stood out to me was how angels even helped Sarah find happiness in her circumstance.

“One night, I just had a really spiritual experience with my dad when I was reading scriptures about how God and angels are always with me,” she recalled. “I feel like that is why I’m so happy, and that’s why I can be happy, is because I’ve had Christ and angels with me. And I can always feel the Savior walking right next to me in my wheelchair holding my hand and just being with me and supporting me through all of this.”

Sarah’s story is just one example of how angels are still busy helping us today—and they have been ministering to people on earth since the very beginning. In October 2008 general conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a talk about the ministering of angels, and how God sent angels to Adam and Eve when they left the Garden of Eden.

“God knew the challenges they would face, and He certainly knew how lonely and troubled they would sometimes feel. … In times of special need, He sent angels, divine messengers, to bless His children, reassure them that heaven was always very close and that His help was always very near.”

Although thousands of years have passed since that time, angels continue to be near: Elder Holland testified, “angels are still sent to help us, even as they were sent to help Adam and Eve.”

Often, those angels may be sent to us during times of special need, as was the case for Sarah. They may not take away our problems, but they can reassure us that heaven is near, helping us to feel peace—even happiness—in difficult circumstances.

2. “Ask for Angels to Help You”

In her book Covenant Keepers: Unlocking the Miracles God Wants for You, Sister Wendy Nelson shared that she heard Elder Holland give a talk in April 2010 general conference about how to guard against temptation. Although the question she needed an answer to at that time was not related to that subject, something Elder Holland counseled resonated with her.

“Ask for angels to help you,” he said.

She wrote, “He said it with such clarity, and yet he said it in a manner that implied this was something we all knew! But for me it was an entirely new principle. I wanted to call out, ‘Wait! Wait! What? You mean I could have been asking for angels to help me all this time?’ Without intending to sound too dramatic, I can say with all candor that Elder Holland’s six words changed my life.”

Sister Nelson continued, “It changed my understanding of the very real help from heaven that is always available to us as we keep our covenants. I started to ask for assistance from those on the other side of the veil from that moment on!

“Now, I’m not talking about praying for fantasy angels with wings to magically fairy-dust our problems away.

“I’m not talking about praying to angels.

“I’m talking about praying to our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, for those on the other side to be ‘dispatched’ (Elder Holland’s word) to assist us.”

I love how candidly and clearly Sister Nelson explains how we can ask for angels to minister to us. Doing so, however, might feel a little daunting—almost like we are asking for a miracle. But in the Book of Mormon, the prophet Mormon gives this powerful reminder:

“Has the day of miracles ceased? Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? … Behold I say unto you, Nay; for … it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men” (Moroni 7:35–37).

In April 2022 general conference, President Russell M. Nelson reminded us that we can seek for and expect miracles in our lives. He said, “Every book of scripture demonstrates how willing the Lord is to intervene in the lives of those who believe in Him.”

He continued, “the Lord will bless you with miracles if you believe in Him, ‘doubting nothing.’ Do the spiritual work to seek miracles. Prayerfully ask God to help you exercise that kind of faith.”

These words from President Nelson are comforting to me—because even if we feel ill qualified to ask for the ministering of angels in our lives, we can start by asking God to help us exercise the faith we are seeking. We just need to be willing to put in the spiritual work and strive to keep our covenants.

3. Keep Your Covenants

The Prophet Joseph Smith once said, “If you live up to your privilege, the angels will not be able to be restrained from being your associates.” The Church’s website suggests that this means “our faithful actions can influence angelic involvement, just as our agency influences other blessings of the Spirit.”

So our faithful actions—keeping our covenants—influence how angels can minister to us in our lives. In her book The Priesthood Power of Women, Barbara Morgan Gardner discusses the relationship between keeping our covenants and having access to the ministering of angels. She writes that according to Doctrine and Covenants 13:1, all Aaronic Priesthood holders have the keys of the ministering of angels available to them by right—and that “all worthy members of the Church may receive the blessings of this right or responsibility.” In other words, by keeping our covenants that we make at baptism, we receive the blessing of the ministering of angels through the Aaronic Priesthood. And you know what’s really cool? Each week, we can renew the opportunity to have the ministering of angels with us. Gardner shared this quote from President Dallin H. Oaks, which gives us a better understanding of this truth:

“Through the Aaronic Priesthood ordinances of baptism and the sacrament, we are cleansed of our sins and promised that if we keep our covenants we will always have His Spirit to be with us. I believe that promise not only refers to the Holy Ghost but also to the ministering of angels, for ‘angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ’ (2 Nephi 32:3). So it is that those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood open the door for all Church members who worthily partake of the sacrament to enjoy the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord and the ministering of angels.”

Think about that—through our faithful actions, by keeping our covenants, and worthily partaking of the sacrament, we will not only have the Holy Ghost with us always, but we can be blessed by the ministering of angels. That is a beautiful promise which we can remember each week when we reflect on the Savior’s atoning sacrifice for us.

4. Participate in Family History Work

Sometimes angels minister to us as we participate in family history work. In October 2022 general conference, Elder Gerrit W. Gong shared two stories of friends of his who had spiritual experiences with family members who were beyond the veil as they worked on their family history. One of those stories was of a woman who did not want to be sealed to her father because of how he had treated his family in his lifetime.

Elder Gong said, “For a year, she fasted, prayed, spoke a lot with the Lord about her father. Finally, she was ready. Her father’s temple work was completed. Later, she said, ‘In my sleep my dad appeared to me in a dream, all dressed in white. He had changed. He said, “Look at me. I am all clean. Thank you for doing the work for me in the temple.” Her father added, ‘Get up and go back to the temple; your brother is waiting to be baptized.’”

Sister Nelson has also shared how participating in temple work can lead to the ministering of angels. In her book Covenant Keepers, Sister Nelson wrote about a former institute student who had served as proxy for many of Sister Nelson’s ancestors. This student had special experiences in a temple session with one of those deceased ancestors and her sisters. She prayed that they would be able to help her own living sister, who had not been active in the Church and who Sister Nelson said was experiencing “heart-wrenching difficulties with some rigorous life events.”

Just a few weeks later, the student learned that her sister had been taking her children to church and wanted to know how to get her patriarchal blessing. Her sister’s eight-year-old son was also baptized, and she had started taking temple preparation courses. These were miraculous changes in her sister’s life.

President James E. Faust has said, “I believe there is a strong familial pull as the influence of beloved ancestors continues with us from the other side of the veil.” As we perform ordinances for our ancestors and others who are deceased, we may find that they will also minister to us.

5. Recognize That There Are Unseen Angels in Your Life

When angels on the other side of the veil are ministering to us, it may be difficult to recognize their presence. We find an example of this in the account of Elisha and his servant in the Old Testament:

“And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! How shall we do?

“And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

“And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”

Elisha and his servant had been surrounded by angels, but the servant had been unable to see them with his mortal eyes. Similarly, in our lives we may feel overcome by what we are figuratively battling, not realizing that angels may be all around us. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there—and as we seek to be close to the Spirit and pray for the Lord to spiritually open our eyes, we may be able to recognize their influence in our lives. Of course, even then we may not literally be able to see the angels around us; but our faith may be strengthened as we believe and feel that they are supporting us, which can give us the patience we need to face our trials.

6. Be Grateful for the Angels in Your Life

At the end of his 2008 general conference talk, Elder Holland says, “May we all believe more readily in, and have more gratitude for, the Lord’s promise as contained in one of President Monson’s favorite scriptures: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, … my Spirit shall be in your [heart], and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”

He then concluded, “In the process of praying for those angels to attend us, may we all try to be a little more angelic ourselves—with a kind word, a strong arm, a declaration of faith and ‘the covenant wherewith [we] have covenanted’” so we can be angels to someone else in need.

As we have more gratitude for the heavenly beings in our lives, both mortal and on the other side of the veil, I believe we will find the strength we need to pull through challenging times. Instead of being overwhelmed by loneliness or fear, we may discover there is light and hope ahead. And instead of dwelling in our despair, we will find ourselves borne up once more—by angels.

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