On Prayer and Angels

Evagrios the Solitary ca. 345-399

If you pray truly, you will gain great assurance; angels will come to you as they came to Daniel, and they will illuminate you with knowledge of the inner essences of created things (cf. Dan. 2:19). Know that the holy angels encourage us to pray and stand beside us, rejoicing and praying for us (cf. Tobit 12:12). Therefore, if we are negligent and admit thoughts from the enemy, we greatly provoke the angels. For while they struggle hard on our behalf we do not even take the trouble to pray to God for ourselves, but we despise their services to us and, abandoning their Lord and God, we consort with unclean demons. (On Prayer 80-81)

When another monk was practicing inner prayer as he journeyed in the desert, two angels came and walked on either side of him. But he paid no heed to them, for he did not wish to lose what was better. He remembered the words of the Apostle: ‘Neither angels, nor principalities, nor powers… shall be able to separate us from the love of Christ (Rom. 8: 38-39). The monk becomes equal to the angels through prayer, because of his longing to ‘behold the face of the Father who is in heaven’ (cf. Matt. 18:10). (Ibid., 112-113)