Christianity 201

April 30, 2014

Prayers of Asking

Today, on the eve of the National Day of Prayer, we continue our look at prayer.

In researching this I came across a number of posts that used a word that you don’t hear much anymore, supplication.  Dictionary.com — not exactly a theological source, but useful — has this:

sup·pli·ca·tion
[suhp-li-key-shuhn] 

noun

an act or instance of supplicating; humble prayer, entreaty, or petition.

It was interesting that while the World English Dictionary’s origin of the verb form talked about “begging on one’s knees,” the Online Etymological Dictionary mentioned, “In ancient Rome, a religious solemnity, especially in thanksgiving for a victory.” Conflicting images? I tried to image a very earnest outpouring of thanks that takes the same form as our an earnest begging for intervention.

The word is familiar to people who grew up with the King James:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
 ~Phil. 4:6

and is retained in the ESV and NASB and others. Newer versions use petition while the NLT says, “Tell God what you need.”

Sadly however, this word has been co-opted by a number of eastern religions and at least one marginal, quasi-Christian group.

The main article I settle on for today was from the blog Words for the Kingdom. Jesse has been blogging since 2009. Please click through to read articles that appear here by other authors, so they know their work is being seen. This was titled A Good Morning.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.  Psalm 5:3

There is something wonderful about beginning your day in the presence of the Lord.  Like many things requiring discipline, you have to train yourself to be consistent about this, but once you do it will radically change your days.

I like this verse above because it full of promise and instruction and hope.  Here are a few things that I have taken from this verse. Hopefully they will help you as well.

  1. Start your day with God.  David is called a man after God’s own heart.  He experienced his share of ups and downs in his life. He sinned, he struggled, he was chased, he was a king, he was an adulterer and a murderer.  He fathered one of the wisest men to ever live.  But his one constant seems to be his relationship with the Lord.  Even when he sinned, he felt God drawing him back; whether through a prophet or in his prayers.  David began his day with God.  We would be wise to do the same.
  2. God will hear your voice.  This is an amazing promise! Have you ever wondered if anyone is listening to you?  I know I have.  We don’t have to wonder that when it comes to God.  He hears our voice.  David states this as a fact.  We don’t have to light a candle or perform a ritual or be in a certain place for God to hear us, we simply lift our voices to him and know that our words don’t fall on deaf ears.
  3. None of your problems are too small for God. David says that he lays his requests before God.  There are a couple of implications here.  First, David doesn’t qualify the type of requests he brings before God.  He doesn’t say, “I bring all the huge things before you, because I know how busy you are and you probably don’t care about the small stuff anyway.”  He knew, through firsthand experience, that God would listen and provide for all his needs whether they were big or small.  I am so thankful for this promise. Some of my prayers are huge and the issue I am dealing with seems to overwhelm me, but some of my prayers are insignificant and seem like they shouldn’t even matter.  Both kinds are welcome to God because he knows the small stuff matters to me.  Because prayer is an intimate language, we can confidently go before him and leave all of our requests at his feet.
  4. You can have confidence that God will answer your prayers. David says that he does two things: he lays his requests before God and he waits expectantly.  That expectantly is a very important adverb.  It means that we give our requests to God, with the confidence and knowledge that he will answer our prayers.  We shouldn’t pray to God as a last resort, when all our other options have been exhausted.  We should bring our requests to him as soon as they cross our mind, fully anticipating him to work in his pleasing and perfect will.  (Romans 8:28)

I know that for years I struggled with regularly having a consistent quiet time with God.  Life has a way of getting in the way.  But if you will make an effort to start your day with God, it will transform your day. Your transformed days will become transformed weeks and transformed weeks will become transformed years and transformed years will become a transformed life. (Romans 12:2)

What way of managing your quiet time works for you?

2 Comments »

  1. I determined to make my first conscious thoughts/words a ‘good morning’ to the Lord, thanking Him for accompanying me throughout the day and asking Him to guide my thoughts and actions. I try to ‘practice the presence of God’ throughout the day and He reminds me if I am slow to spend my ‘quiet time’ with Him.
    I agree that life does seem to get in the way, but it seems the older I get, the less happens to interrupt.

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — May 1, 2014 @ 4:49 am | Reply

  2. Long before the ESV was published this verse had been imprinted in my mind: The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. I spent a lot of years working with students and once gave a practical demonstration of this verse. I see kids in the grocery store or at Walmart and still remember doing some of the exact same things when I was 4, 5 or 6 years old; Asking for something, begging, wailing and even holding onto my mother’s leg as she drug me along the floor still walking away because she had already said no several times. “Now I lay me down to sleep” is a reminder to pray each day but such a routine is neither effectual nor fervent. The screaming child with tearful eyes, red face and death grip on Mom’s ankles is what fervency looks like. I don’t lie stretched out on the floor with my face buried in the rug and tears streaming from my eyes each time that I pray… but it has happened. The act of bowing our head or kneeling is about taking a position of humility. I don’t find “name it/ claim it” to be scriptural.

    Comment by Clark Bunch — May 1, 2014 @ 10:58 am | Reply


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