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 in Worship
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, there is an established 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 that fellowship with God is good. The initiation of prayer begins with His call, we are simply responding to that 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 towards God’s agenda and not towards the problem itself, we might gain insight into the answers we seek.
We are also given encouragement for 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, while 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.
Supplication of humility
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 own understanding, power, or might that brings victory, we place all of the onus on God and what He wants to accomplish. When God acts it is perfect in form (manner in which it is accomplished), it will be completed in His time(order) and by His nature (perfection).
Everything we hope for in life will be good because He is good.
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. This brings:
* Glorifying of God (not ourselves)
* and a Hopeful Expectation
If you are going through a trial, prayer brings the trial back into perspective. Regardless of the trial or temptation, the Lord will lead us through if we will only seek Him.
1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.“
There is just so much that we can expect when we place ourselves humbly before the Lord, prayer is the means by which we approach Him.
When considering the importance of prayer individually, we must also consider what it means to lift others up in prayer.
1 Timothy 2:1-3 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior”
Intercessory prayer is the means by which we place ourselves in a position before God in place of those who are weak. Why? The next next verse in Timothy reveals the answer.
vs. 4 “who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
The greek term énteuksis literally means to “hit the mark”. It is used to describe one who seeks to act only as the Lord directs, i.e. following His will to act as His hand extended. When we prayer for others, we pray for God’s will to be done in their lives, not that they might have comfort in trouble, not for God to bring them out of the trouble, or for their lives to be easier. While these attributes may be God’s will, we cannot assume anything, but seek the Lord on their behalf and pray according to how God directs us.
Some people lack the knowledge of Truth and so we pray for their salvation. Others lack understanding and so we pray that God gives them understanding through the trial. The understanding is according to God’s purpose for leading them into that trial, or allowing them to go through temptation. Many times the Lord gives His servants perspective that those who are in the midst of the trial can’t see.
As Jesus intercedes on His people’s behalf, so do His people intercede for each other.
Hebrews 7:25 “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
As the Lord shows us love, we are called to show love to others.
What is it that you are hopeful for? Have you sincerely prayed about your circumstances or do you just hope God knows your needs and the rest will be taken care of?
Do you consider others and all they are going through? Are your prayers sincere?
The lessons learned through obedience to God’s commands, the process of 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 as 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.
3 thoughts on “A Supplication”
I love your writing Brother Fox. You break down the words like my Pastor Brother Brown does so 69-year-old pilgrims like myself can more easily grasp the meaning.
I appreciate the feedback brother. I work with a lot of men who are new in their faith. If I can’t make the message simple, they can’t understand the gospel. The goal is to encourage and build up.
Very nice post 🙂🌺!