The Meaning of Prayer and Supplication

March 24, 2014 · Print This Article

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.

Comments

4 Responses to “The Meaning of Prayer and Supplication”

  1. christopher casteel on May 8th, 2012 6:25 pm

    thanks for this explanation been searching for these answers

  2. Jason Basden on August 24th, 2013 2:37 am

    Awesome teaching, I would like to receive more if possible.

  3. Lusia on January 4th, 2015 6:32 pm

    I thank my heavenly father for teaching me in His words everyday and reading your blog is God’s continuous teaching for me. thank you and would appreciate your email for more wonderful teachings of God’s words. May God richly bless your ministry and may souls and souls be saved through your work.

  4. Christina on May 16th, 2015 10:24 am

    Thanks, searching terms regarding prayer, supplications, petition, and intercession. This was a great site for understanding.

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