These are heartfelt requests asking God to intervene, either on our own behalf or in the lives of others. “Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord” for a son (1 Sam 1:10-20). Many of David’s Psalms are supplications for mercy, leading, deliverance, release from persecution and so on (Ps 4:1, 5:8, 6:4, 7:1). Jesus taught we are to pray prayers of supplication for our daily needs and be persistent in our asking unless He says ‘No’ (Mt 6:11; Lk 11:5-8, 18:1-8; 2 Cor 12:7-9). “Epaphras…is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God…” (Col 4:12). “The widow who is…left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help” (2 Tim 5:5).
Supplication is the attitude of humbly yet earnestly presenting our requests to God, “by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving”, confident that as we submit our desires to Him the best answer will be sent, and His peace will keep our hearts and minds (Phil 4:6,7). We should always express our praise to Him for answers received in the past, and even if they have not been as we would have liked at the time, believing all things work out for our good (Rom 8:28).
Are my earnest prayers submissive to His will?
desire in a particular issue we can conclude with “Your will be done” (Mt 21:22, 26:39; Jn 16:24; Jas 4:2,3). By submitting to Him we indicate that we want God to change us to meet His desires – if there is an inconsistency or difference between the two. We are asking God to change us into the image of His Son and to mould us into what He wants us to be (Ps 37:4,5). His will is always best, and our desires should increasingly come into harmony with His, so we understand what God’s will is, and that when achieved it results in Him being glorified and praised. Thus, our prayers are not sulky wishes to get our own way, but humble efforts to enter into God’s perspective and make His will ours.
Although He knew He must die, “Jesus prayed fervently with loud cries and tears to the one who could save Him from [out of] death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission” (Mt 16:21; Heb 5:7). God heard His prayer, but did not grant Him the request as there was no other way to provide salvation for us.
The Holy Spirit intercedes for us, interpreting our supplications so that, when we are overwhelmed by trials and the cares of life, He comes alongside to lend assistance with our prayers and sustains us before the throne of grace (Rom 8:26). Likewise, we need to put on the ‘armour of God’ when we make prayers of supplication for other believers to combat the evil spiritual forces (Eph 6:10-18).