How's Your Supplicating?
A bit of a different thought today, a sort of English lesson maybe? Problem is, I'm not an English teacher.
We read words in the Bible occasionally, that we don't use in our daily conversation, but when we understand what they mean, the meaning is deeper and more significant than our modern day word substitute.
One such word is "supplication". A use of this noun in a sentence would be "he fell to his knees in supplication". If we were writing it, would would say "he fell on his knees in prayer" probably, and we understand that prayer is a privilege we have in talking to God, anytime, anyplace about anything, and bringing our requests to Him. If we do a real study on prayer, we would likely uncover the seldom discussed deeper meanings that we get from supplicate, but the way we use 'prayer' or 'pray' everyday, only scratches the surface because like so many other things it has become softened by society's use or abuse of it. We use it pretty commonplace in our conversations, and perhaps to our detriment.
So what does supplicate mean?
Supplicate definition is - to make a humble entreaty; especially to God. To petition.
Synonyms are plea, appeal, solicitation, exhortation, urge, invocation, request, beseeching, begging, pleading, and others.
Maybe to get a real good understanding, lets look at Philippians 4:6. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;..." Notice "prayer AND supplication" might help us understand that it's not exactly the same thing as prayer, more something we do during prayer. We can pray to God, and offer nothing except thanksgiving or praise. But when we supplicate, we ask God for something, humbly, earnestly, because we know He has the power to respond, and we want His help.
King David, in the Psalms, records many prayers of supplication, asking for mercy, to be lead by God, for deliverance, and to be saved from persecution just to mention a few. In the New Testament, Jesus in telling us to pray for our daily bread gives us an example of supplication. (Matt 6:11)
When we supplicate, Jesus also instructs us to not give up on our supplicating, when we supplicate for what we need (Luke 18:1-8). James tells us we don't receive what we need because we don't supplicate. (James 4:2) James also says we don't receive because we supplicate with the wrong motives, for fleshly desires. (James 4:3) Jesus gives us a great example in supplication that we need to supplicate our requests to God in keeping with God's will. (Matt 26:39)
We know that prayers and supplication don't happen in a vacuum, things like faith, humility and obedience are involved, as well as the Holy Spirit that dwells within those who are clothed with Christ. As we supplicate, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf, making our supplication much more approachable to God when we don't necessarily know what or how to supplicate.
And finally, when we are overwhelmed with trials, troubles and life's cares, we need to listen to Paul's exhortation to the church in Philippi, to relieve our anxieties through faithful prayer, especially prayers of "thanksgiving and supplication", ensuring that the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7)
Have you supplicated before God today? I hope so! If not, supplicate before you go to sleep tonight. God is listening.