The Bible exhorts us to make our requests known to God. We are instructed “in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). We are told to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18).
So what does this mean? The word “prayer” is a general term for worshipful conversation with God, but supplication or petition (NIV) refers to a prayer with a sense of need. In other words, there’s something you can—and should—do about the pressing needs in your family, your marriage, your friendships, your schooling, your job, and your everyday life. These, my friend, are specific needs, and you are to petition God in supplication about them—to pray specifically concerning the issues in your life. For instance,
- Isaac prayed for his wife Rebekah to conceive (Genesis 25:21).
- Hannah prayed for a son (1 Samuel 1:11).
- Zacharias prayed for a child (Luke 1:13).
- Paul prayed for the salvation of his countrymen, for the Philippians, and for Timothy.
- Jesus prayed about His death (Matthew 26:36-46).
Our Savior and these heroes of faith prayed for specific needs, desires, and requests. And you and I are to do the same. Be faithful to lift up the personal needs in your life and those of your loved ones to God through specific supplications and petitions. Then watch to see how God will answer.