Ephesians 6:18 “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—“
Supplication has its root in the greek word, déēsis (deō, “to be in want or to lack“; déomai means “praying for a specific, felt need“)
So the summation is a heart-felt petition, arising out of deep personal need (sense of lack or want).
For me, it helps to understand the terms of the Bible so I can properly apply them in my practice. The greater the depth of knowledge, the greater the depth of understanding I gain in how to live out my faith.
With this in mind, let’s examine the scripture in greater detail.
Prayer is a form of worship. Originating from the root word proseuchomai, the indication is that of entreaty. By entreating God’s favor through prayer, you establish a hierarchy of authority….He is God and you are not. You are powerless, He is all powerful. You have very little knowledge, He is all knowing. You are weak, He is strong….and on it goes.
Prayer to God is a recognition of His position. His position is one of sovereignty, power, authority, judgement, grace, and ultimately love. When we pray to God, we are recognizing that we need Him. When we pray, we are acknowledging fellowship with God. The initiation of prayer begins with Him, we are simply responding to His call.
James 5:13 “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.”
We are reminded that in the midst of suffering, our focus should be on God’s purpose. Suffering brings about refinement and when we look more towards Gods agenda and not on the problem itself, we might gain insight into the questions we have.
We are also given encouragement of when to pray…..which is always.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Always praying is not necessarily always talking. Prayer involves listening, which many would say is far more important. Prayer is also worshipful, acknowledging God’s goodness. Without prayer we would lack the ability to communicate with God and the desire to know His will would be a continual struggle for guidance.
With that being said, supplication is another aspect of what prayer looks like.
While prayer can look like a petition of request or even thanksgiving, supplication is more reflective of taking a low, humble position with an earnest plea. The position of lowliness is in kneeling before God.
Proverbs 15:33 “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, and humility comes before honor.”
Paul encourages supplication—-in the Spirit—for the saints.
When we kneel before God, we must remember that it is His will that is our ideal. Praying according to God’s will takes discernment and that comes by way of the Spirit. Being open and sensitive to the leading of the Spirit happens through humility and trust.
When we recognize that it is not by our understanding, or power, or might that we will see victory, we place all of the onus on God and what He accomplishes, which is perfect in form and done in His time and nature.
Zechariah 4:6 “So he answered and said to me:
“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.”
Whether we walk in the Spirit or pray in the Spirit, our confidence rests in the knowledge that nothing can withhold the hand of God. No one can oppose Him. He will fulfill His purpose no matter what power may stand against Him.
Paul gives us examples of what it looks like to bring forth supplication before the Lord. The confidence He exudes and the hope that arises from such a position of humility brings an expectation of good things to come.
Philippians 1:18-20 “What then is the issue? Just this: that in every way, whether by false motives or true, Christ is preached. And in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, because I know that through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, my distress will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have complete boldness so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.
The provision of the Spirit is the power of God supplied to us when we walk in Him.
- Glorifying God
There is just so much that we can expect when we place ourselves humbly before the Lord in prayer.
What is it that you are hopeful for? Have you sincerely prayed about it or do you just hope God knows your needs and the rest will be taken care of?
The lessons learned through obedience to God’s commands, taking on humility in the face of adversity, and the lifting up of the Lord allows not only God to prove Himself but it opens the door for others faith to grow when He is glorified.
If you haven’t started a prayer life, there is no better time to start than now. You never know, He may be preparing you for something on the horizon.