The Ingredients of Prayer IV: Supplication

We now come to the last ‘spiritual color’ or ingredient of prayers, Supplication. Supplication, according to Benjamin Palmer is a petition in relation to sin, so we ask for forgiveness, which is part of confession that we already looked at. In this blog, we define supplication as to ask, entreat, plead, and beg. To ask from God with a burning heart for our and other people’s needs. Note that it is not only for ourselves but also for others especially for the household of faith (Gal 6:9-10).

Warning: some Christians reduce prayer into mere asking. We know that this is the last ingredient but for some, it has become the sole ingredient. God is our friend. We are united with God in Christ. If our prayers are all asking without ACT, it became cheap. This is not true relationship.

Phil 4:6

How do we plead with God? How should we supplicate or ask God in prayer? We must ask desperately, persistently, and confidently.

Ask Desperately

We entrust unto God all things. Not “do our best, and God will do the rest”, but “do our best, while praying to God”, and “trust God, and keep going” (Proverbs 3:4-7). It is a petition with a deep sense of our needs. This kind of prayer is scattered throughout the book of Psalms.

Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! Psalms 27:7 ESV
For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. Psalms 72:12 ESV

Notice that the Psalmist ‘cried aloud’. You’ll imagine the intensity of his prayer before God. He also describes himself as ‘needy‘, ‘poor‘, and someone who ‘has no helper‘. He is desperate knowing who he is as a sinner and the One to whom he is calling on. We call upon the Name of the LORD. Is this how we pray to God?

It is sad to hear that few public prayers are marked with a sense of desperation and utter dependence on God. When you listen to the prayers of modern evangelical churches today, you’ll hear lots of ‘I declare’ and ‘I decree’, as if they were given divine authority to speak things into existence.

Some prayers are not answered because men are proud, and filled with strange fires in their hearts. So their ‘desperate’ posture is only superficial, but inside they stand above God who will do whatever they declare. On the other side of the spectrum, some prayers are not answered because our prayers are lifeless, unfelt, and mechanical.

Lifeless prayer is no more prayer than the picture of a man is a man.

Thomas Watson (1620-1686)

The lack of fervency is the lost of many prayers. The lazy petitions tires before it comes halfway to heaven.

George Swinnock (1627-1673)

The Westminster Larger Catechism # 178 ask, What is prayer? Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, in the name of Christ, by the help of his Spirit; with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies.

When we offer up our desires to God, it must not be cold and lifeless. It is desperate but it should be coming from a heart enliven by the Spirit of God.

Ask Persistently

On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the LORD in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.
Isaiah 62:6-7 ESV

This is a persistent and unrelenting prayer. The text in Isaiah is a picture of unrelenting prayer. Pastors are called watchmen, men of prayer and the Word (Heb 13:17, Acts 6:4). They have a twofold duty, (1) to make mention of the LORD to the people, and (2) to make mention of the people to God. How is this performed? They shall never hold their peace day and night. They should always call upon the Name of the LORD. This is the manner as to how they pray.

This does not only apply to the ministers of the gospel but also the Christians. By praying persistently, they are to “give God no rest.” This is anthropomorphic, which tells us about the perfection of God in human language. When we pray persistently, we are praying without ceasing. God is inviting His people to pray to Him because He is the faithful One and the Covenant-keeping God. Until Christ comes we must pray.

God is so far from being displeased with our pressing importunity, as men commonly are, that he invites and encourages it; he bids us to cry after him

Matthew Henry (1662-1714)

In praying persistently, we are called to ask that we may receive (Luke 11:9). But it did not say that we will receive instantly. As we said before, God does not want to raise spoiled brats. We are taught to wait and hope in Him.

The great fault of the children of God is, they do not continue in prayer; they do not go on praying; they do not persevere. If they desire anything for God’s glory, they should pray until they get it. Oh, how good, and kind, and gracious, and condescending is the One with Whom we have to do! He has given me, unworthy as I am, immeasurably above all I had asked or thought!

George Müller (1805-1898), cited by Donald Whitney in chapter 4

Ask Confidently

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 1 John 5:14 ESV
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV

We are standing before God not because of who we are but according to Christ’s merit and blood. We come before God’s presence in the Name of Jesus. John Bunyan (1628-1688) speaks of this as approaching the throne of grace by the second veil. He writes,

“We have boldness to enter in the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He has consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh. The second veil then is the flesh of Christ, the which until a man can enter or go through by his faith, it is impossible that he should come to the Holiest where the throne of grace is.”

Bunyan, Prayer. 97

When we approach the throne of grace, we do it by faith, believing that it is only through the finished work of Christ that we can plead with God. There lies our confidence!

Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. Daniel 9:17 ESV

Daniel asks God to listen to his prayer and pleas for mercy. Did he ask because he is God’s prophet or a faithful servant? No! He asked for God’s sake, “that his glory might be promoted; that his excellent character might be displayed; that his mercy and compassion might be shown. All true prayer has its seat in a desire that the glory of God may be promoted, and the excellence of his character displayed (Albert Barnes 1798-1870).”

To God be the glory!

This blog post is based on our pastor’s message in Bella Vista last 02/02/22


  • Bunyan, J. (1965). Prayer. The Banner Of Truth Trust.
  • Goodwin, T., & Palmer, B. (2007). What Happens When I Pray? Grace Publication Trust. (Original work published 1997)
  • Whitney, D. S. (2014). Spiritual disciplines for the Christian life. Navpress.

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

One thought on “The Ingredients of Prayer IV: Supplication

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: