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Supplications And Prayers


Supplications And Prayers

      In the Holy Scriptures, the Word supplication(s) can be found sixty times. Supplication is often considered to be the same as prayer.   Prayer has been defined as: an invocation that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication. The word “pray”, or one of its many variations, occurs four hundred seventy one times.   Based on this, one can determine that prayers and supplications are somewhat different.   This idea can also be gleaned because these words can be read in the same verse. There seems to be no reason to repeat the same thought in two different ways within the same scripture.

   Daniel 9:17 is one Bible passage that contains both words. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. At this point, the definition of supplication needs to be supplied. This will help us see how that one can pray without making supplication.   This word comes from supplicare, which is Latin, and means: to plead humbly.   The Spirit had Daniel pen his “deliberate communication” as he humbly asked God to grant His favor on the Holy Sanctuary, that had become desolate in Jerusalem.  

     When we break this down, we should see that supplication is prayer, but not all prayers are supplication. For instance, the brethren of Colossae were admonished to pray. In Colossians 1:12 we see the purpose of these prayers. Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: As one prays such prayers, one is not asking (requesting) anything, but is expressing gratitude for the blessings one has in Christ. A similar passage is found in Ephesians 5:20. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; The verse that follows this shows the attitude all Christians should have always. 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

       There is also a New Testament passage which contains several terms that identify a Christian’s communication with God. In 1Timothy 2:1-3 we find all of these are to be offered to God for all men, including those who rule over us in the civil realm. These are all pleasing in God’s eyes. I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

       We have previously defined supplications and prayer, and the “giving of thanks should be self-explanatory. The word “intercession” means: the action of intervening on behalf of another.   This is necessary as, not all men, and not all civil leaders are children of God, and therefore do not have the privilege of prayer that God will recognize.   Here, many will object, perhaps claiming that God “hears” everyone’s prayers. To this, we gladly concur, as God “hears” all things. This is not to say that God “accepts” all prayer.   However, a reading of John 9:31, and a proper application of it, should properly explain. After Jesus healed the man who had been blind from birth, and while being interrogated by the unbelieving Jews, this healed man made a most profound declaration. He said: Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

       Sinners are those not in a proper relationship with God.   At that point in time, Jews that properly followed the Law of Moses, were doing God’s Will.   Today, those “in Christ” and faithful to the New Testament Word, have obeyed the gospel and are in a proper covenant relationship with God.   One of the privileges of this relationship is prayer.   As Jesus taught His apostles to pray in Matthew 6:9, He instructed: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”   Afterward, He gave them a “sample prayer”. Then, in John 16:23 we see Jesus relegate the timeframe in which this was to occur. He said: “And in that day”, meaning the New Testament age. He also taught: “ye shall ask the Father in my name”. This shows prayers are to be directed to God, by those who are “authorized” to pray.   The phrase “in my name” equals “by my authority.

       In 1Timothy 2:1-3 (above), we see that Christians, those who can truly call God, “our Father”, can ask favor for, give thanks for, and intervene on behalf of others.   This also includes for our civil leaders that we may be able to live quiet and peaceable lives.   It is for our benefit that we have the possibility of living peaceable lives in the faithful service to God.   Therefore, it is wrong for a Christian to NOT so pray.   In fact, James 4:17 makes it clear this is the case. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

     It seems there are many today, who follow the false teaching that directs one to “pray” and “ask Jesus into their heart”. This has the sinner praying before he/she is saved.   This teaching is nowhere in the Word of God.   To be in a proper covenant relationship with God, one must obey the gospel as given in the New Testament, starting in Acts chapter two.   Then, if remaining faithful to God’s Word, one is authorized to offer supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks to God.   Become God’s child today and access this great privilege of prayer.   Let us assist you in being obedient to God today in accordance with His Word.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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