The Meaning of Prayer and Supplication Part 2

March 24, 2014

The Meaning of Prayer and Supplication

Part 2

The Word

What do we mean by supplication?

In Philippians 4:6-7, it says that when you pray this way, you will be able to come to a place of peace. The term that’s used there for peace means to guard as would a sentry.

Background: Throughout the Roman empire, there were cities in which there was a contingent of Roman soldiers. Philippi, to whom the letter was written, was such a Roman colony, a center of representative strength of the Roman government. It was to that people that the Apostle Paul uses a term they would more understand than many other communities would. When he uses the term “keep” or “guard” it is the same expression used of the soldiers who, like sentinels or sentries, would go marching about that city, preserving its boundaries, its defenses. It was the first place that would be attacked by an enemy that wanted to lay hold of that territory, but it was the last place that could be successfully overtaken because of the strength of its fortressing.

Philippians 4:6-7 says 1) we are not to worry but to 2) make our request known to God 3) with thanksgiving, and that 4) God’s peace will march about our request like a sentry.

The teaching of Scripture is that when we pray, we can be secure in that place of peace, like the citizens of Philippi who could look out at their city and see the soldiers guarding it. We don’t have to get up from praying and then spend the day wondering if God heard us or will answer our prayer. Supplication is the prayer that moves in the confidence of that peace.

The word supplication is directly related to the simple verb for “to bind” (Matthew 18:18). Wherever you encounter the term “supplication,” it is presenting to us that kind of prayer where we come to the Lord and move into the dimension of controlling by the power of God that which is uncontrollable by human power.

What can you do to stop the rising tide of evil?

You can do more than being indignant, condemning or vexed. According to the Word of God you can make supplication. That’s where you begin to enter in to the place of control, and binding.  Where we draw lines, as you are directed by the Holy Spirit.

We have the privilege to draw lines in prayer as we are directed by the Holy Spirit. “Ask what you will” doesn’t mean that God is obligated to answer prayers spoken without having entered into consultation with Him. The Holy Spirit will teach you how to pray. Where you don’t understand how, then you can pray in the Spirit, and He will make intercession with you, joining together with you in prayer so that effective imploring of God in behalf of the situation can be made.

Supplication is where I come into conference with God. Father, what is Your will in heaven that I may declare it on earth? It is where we are moving in partnership with the heavenly Father. His will for us is to learn how to move in response to what He has designed and is intending to do in any given situation.

The Lord wants those who will learn how to draw specific lines and begin to bind up (supplication) by the strength of the hand of God. There’s a pattern to binding, knots to be tied properly, if it’s to hold. “Binding” and “loosing” not spiritual guesswork; there’s a methodical approach to prayer when you come to binding. It’s not in the multitude of words, but the Lord will show you how to pray.

Binding and Loosing

Those who learn to pray with supplication are not people that have earned something from God, but they learned something of God. God has not taught us to pray prayers of destruction, but to bind up the works of darkness. It’s not our responsibility to tell God how to go about it, but it is our responsibility to take a posture of prayer against those things that are alien to His purpose for mankind, and to bind up their operation.

We are to pray for God’s righteousness to be revealed. God doesn’t give us the right to make judgment on any situation in binding it up otherwise it can wind up being no more than Pentecostal witchcraft. God wants us to enter into consultation with Him and while you’re functioning on the earth side of things, He’s guiding things sovereignly on the heaven side. You find out what He has in mind, what He’s already got bound there, and as He shows you His mind, then you bind those things on earth. Though He’s got them bound in heaven, until you take things over on earth, nothing will happen.

Prayer and the Word go together

Supplication is where we enter into the presence of God. Let Him talk to you from the Word and find out the grounds for your authority or what His mind is about how to deal with things.

Prayer is not just one side of devotional life and reading the Bible the other. Both enter into the same flow. We need to come into His presence, and let Him teach us, speak to us and direct us. Then we begin to learn where we can function and see what we’re supposed to do.

When someone asks you to pray, take a moment to ask the Lord how He would have you to pray over the situation. Ask Him to bring the Word to your mind with regard to it, and ask Him to show you how to pray. Then begin to pray in the Spirit. While you’re praying in the Spirit, you’ll find that, very likely, the Holy Spirit will bring to your mind exactly what you’re praying.

Praying as the Lord shows you how is revelation praying. You stymie the flow of evil, cut off the works of darkness, see health begin to be loosed, and the power of God manifest. With all kinds of prayer, spiritual battle is being done and supplication is going forth. When you have prayed that way, you know that you have entered into the counsels of eternity and loosed in time or bound in time what is the Father’s will for that situation, and when you’ve done that, Scripture says that peace comes to your heart.



The Meaning of Prayer and Supplication

March 24, 2014

The Meaning of Prayer and Supplication

 Part 1

The Word

Text: Acts 2:41-42; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6-7; Matthew 18:18

Authority, Transparency, Unity

Life together for the early Church was centered under steadfast teaching of the truth under the authority of the Word, with leadership appointed by Jesus. He gives the same kind of leadership to the Church today (Ephesians 4:11-12). Fellowship was transparent, and they continued in the “breaking of bread” to foster a unity of spirit.

…and Prayers

Not just the singular prayer, but plural — in all manner of prayings. Not even counting those expressions of worship, thanksgiving, and praise that are exalting to the name of the Lord, but in just those terms that speak of our approach to God to petition, to entreat, to make request or specific call for action, there are no less than eight or nine expressions used in the N/T scriptures basically wrapped up in three concepts:

  • General kinds of prayers, asking, beseeching the Lord
  • Supplication
  • Intercession

They include:

  • Prayer that invokes God’s blessing
  • The generic term of praying to God
  • The beseeching or imploring of the Lord, almost begging, but not as a beggar.
  • The explicit asking, calling to Him with a desire of our heart
  • Prayer that is a binding action

It’s this binding action that comes into relationship with the term supplication.

Whenever we pray, something happens of divine intervention. Ephesians 6:18 underscores prayer in the sense of spiritual warfare because we are a people that are going toward the Lord in a generation that is moving away from the Lord.

His good grace toward us

The word used most commonly in N/T scripture for prayer is proseuchomai Three things comprise the word: the preposition that means “toward,” the EU—we use that for eulogy—meaning good. The ending of the term is from the Greek word for grace. If you were to put it all together it is known to mean prayer, but the whole concept used here in Acts 2 is talking about coming toward the Lord on the basis of His good grace toward us.

Coming toward the Lord because we have full acceptance. It emphasizes that movement toward Him on the grounds of grace, on the grounds of what He will do for us irrespective of what we have done. That’s not only in terms of receiving the forgiveness of God for your sins but also regarding your petitions in prayer.

The early Church was not just piling up hours of prayers (Matthew 6:7). The compounding of prayers — praying continually — was built on the fact that they knew that they had good access to the grace of God, and they were moving toward Him, seeking to see His kingdom worked as they were praying. They were asking on the basis of His grace.

This term is interesting also because of the two other words between which it appears in the Greek lexicon. The preceding word means “to approach, to move toward, or to come toward where you’re accepted.” It seems the Lord even arranged a language with its surrounding and related words to make a speech to us. The one just before saying, to come toward Him in open approach. The word following it means to hold toward.

This skein of words convey the whole concept of prayer. To make a bold approach to the Lord, to ask on the basis of His good grace, and then “hang in there,” and hold on.


September 8, 2012

The Word

As we begin to prepare for the fall and winter season, we find that it is hard to get out of our summer mode of relaxing, laid back care free attitudes and living. Most of us are not accustomed to hearing that early morning alarm clock going off for a while now. Yet it is time to get back into our routine of getting the kids off to school, husband/wife off to work and life goes on in an uneventful manner. Or does it? It is time to dust off our Prayer Warrior Arsenal and be mindful that the enemy of our Soul, Satan, is waiting for that one time when our guards are down for our family or ourselves to bring about his sneak attack. Also, an election for the highest office of the land is impending and is at stake. Saints of the Most High God it is time to Pray!

Text: Luke 11:1-13 (KJV)

Probably nothing hinders an attitude of expectancy in prayer more than the supposition that to be effective, prayer has to take a long time. Inherent in our nature is the conviction that to get anything from God, we have to work hard to earn it. Most of us are at least superficially convinced that everything hangs on God’s grace, that we can be forgiven solely by free favor shown through the Lord Jesus Christ. But beyond that beginning, even the most sincere person will still be inclined to believe that great prayer requires great amounts of time.

The stories of powerful men and women who have prayed and shaped lives and nations through hours of intercession and lengthy travail seem to buttress the case against my being effective in prayer. But Jesus taught a pathway to effective praying that any one of us can walk. It may lead eventually to experiences like those of the great prayer warriors whose dedication so intimidates us. Yet their arrival at those heights began with early steps on the flat lands where they learned basic attitudes toward prayer—and, no doubt, where they cast off many false notions about it as well. Let us begin in the same way.

In Luke 11, Jesus tells a story that ought to be the primer on prayer. The message of the story is that God wants us to ask Him freely and boldly for whatever we need. Ironically, however, its original intention has been seriously distorted. The principal reason for this is one word in verse eight: importunity.

Importunity appears in the King James Version, while the word persistence is the unfortunate translation in most modern versions. Perhaps the best way to discover the simple power of what Jesus was unfolding in His preliminary teaching on prayer is to retell the story:

“Suppose a friend of yours arrives at your house in the middle of the night, after traveling all day long. Because he hasn’t had anything to eat, you go to prepare something for him, only to discover that your pantry is empty. Because the shops are closed at that hour, you decide to go to the nearby home of another friend, and although it’s a horrible time to arouse anyone, you bang loudly on the door.

“Now answer me,” Jesus is saying, “which of you has a friend who would stand at his bedroom window and shout out to you, say, ‘Don’t bother me. The whole household is in bed’?
None of you! It’s not even a question of friendship. The man will get up and give him what he needs because of the simple fact that the neighbor had the nerve to ask.

“And I’m telling you—ask, and it shall be given unto you!”

That’s the uncluttered version of Jesus’ story. It tells how to learn to pray well. To begin, you need to learn to have the nerve to ask boldly.

A look at the original language supports this simple approach, so much so that it is mind-boggling to understand why this passage has been used to show that prayer must earn answers through overcoming God’s reluctance, as if our persistence could overcome God’s resistance. In fact, Jesus is saying that your first barrier isn’t God—it’s your own hesitation to ask freely. You need to learn the kind of boldness that isn’t afraid to ask—whatever the need or the circumstance.

The lesson revolves around one idea: shameless boldness. The word employed here occurs only twice in the Greek New Testament, once in its positive form and once in its negated form. In 1 Timothy 2:9 aidos is used to describe a posture of propriety and reverence. It means “modesty” or “respect.” It applies to the adornment of women that should distinguish them from the brassiness of the worldly woman. The Elizabethan English
word, “shamefacedness,” which appears in the King James Version, is literally correct, but its flavor has changed too much in 350 years to be helpful any longer when it comes to ladies’ garments.

But Jesus’ use of the word in this parable is in its negated form—anaideia. The “alpha privitive” of the Greek language has the same force as English prefixes like “im” or “un.” Negated, “possible” becomes “im-possible”; “likely” becomes “un-likely.” Jesus said the reason the midnight seeker gets what he needs is because of his anaideia–not his reverence, not his modest sensitivity to the hour, not his caution, nor his respect for propriety, but his bold unashamedness—indeed, his brassiness.

It is the brassiness of a smart aleck making demands, but the forwardness of a person who is so taken with an awareness of need that he abandons normal protocol.

There is nothing in the text that lends itself to the idea of persistence. The contrast is clear: the awakened friend gets up and gets what is needed. He doesn’t carry on a war of words from the upstairs window. Nor does he smolder silently in irritation under the blankets while his friend downstairs insistently beats the door and shouts his need into the unresponding darkness.

The only other point of confusion lies in a misunderstanding of the verb “ask.” Its tense in Greek conveys the idea of continual asking. But that is not a command to ask repeatedly for the same thing in order to force God into action. The continuality which Jesus wants is in ceaseless petitioning. In other words, you need never hesitate to ask for something just because you asked for something else earlier. Any hint that heaven “gets too busy” with earlier requests to have either time or supply for the next is pure folly.

Here’s the message of the parable:

1. You have a friend in the heavenly Father. He’s on your side, and available anytime, in every circumstance.
2. Boldness is your privilege. Your assignment is to ask; His commitment is to give—as much as you need.

This is the beginning. “Seeking” and “knocking” are further steps as one walks the pathway of prayer. But we need to get started, and this is probably the greatest need facing us today: too many hesitate to pray. They hesitate through a sense of unworthiness, a feeling of distance from Deity, a wondering about God’s will in the matter, a concern of “if it’s okay,” an uncertainty of how much to ask for, a fear that God won’t hear.

Jesus strikes the death blow to such hesitancy: ask. Ask with unabashed forwardness; ask with shameless boldness! He commands. And when you do, He clearly teaches, “you friend, My Father, will rise to the occasion, and see that everything you need is provided.”

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