What Does Supplication Mean In The Bible

The idea of supplication in the Bible is something that has been explored and examined by scholars, theologians, philosophers and religious adherents for centuries. While many understand supplication as an act of asking for something out of a sense of need, the Bible has much more to say about the concept. To gain a fuller understanding of the idea of supplication as it relates to the Bible, it is important to examine the definition, the context of its use, and ways in which Christians can use supplication in their own spiritual practices.


Supplication is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a humble entreaty or petition; an earnest request or plea.” In the Bible, it is often used with great reverence, as it is an expression of trust in God and a request of divine aid and intervention. There is also an important distinction in the Bible between idolatry and supplication, as supplication is an act of seeking divine assistance while idolatry is an act of worship directed towards an inanimate figure or concept.

Old Testament Context

In the Old Testament, supplication is seen quite often. Abraham, for example, is known for his supplications to God for the city of Sodom, a symbol of wickedness, in an effort to save his nephew, Lot. Job is another example, as he often appealed to God for help in the midst of suffering. In both of these instances, as well as countless others, supplication is shown to be an earnest and often desperate plea for divine aid.

New Testament Context

The concept of supplication is also seen in the New Testament, often in the prayer of Jesus. For example, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus refers to his imminent suffering and death as an offering of supplication. In this context, His supplication is an act of resignation and trust in God’s will, illustrating the idea of faith as a form of supplication. Additionally, in his teaching, Jesus also encourages his disciples to practice supplication, often referring to it as a way to “seek” or “ask” of God, with confidence in His benevolent response.

Supplication In Spiritual Practice

For modern-day Christians, the idea of supplication is still very important in developing a relationship with God. He desires that Christians make their requests known to Him, trusting in His answered prayer. Additionally, supplication is seen as an act of humility, as individuals come to God in humility, recognizing their need for His help and willingness to receive it. Additionally, supplication can also be used to deepen one’s faith, as even if the answer is not exactly what was sought after, individuals can still trust that God has their best interests in mind.

Practical Application of Supplication

For Christians, supplication can be used as an effective way to commune with God and to deepen their faith. This can be done through a variety of means such as prayer, contemplation, and study, all of which invite individuals to draw upon the promises of God and to actively seek His will in their lives. Additionally, when practicing supplication, individuals can focus on being mindful of the needs of others by praying for, meditating on, and seeking God’s answer for them. Finally, for those struggling to understand the concept of supplication and its practical application, the Bible is a great source of guidance, providing wisdom and insight into the practice.

Scriptural Reflection of Supplication

Scripture is filled with many examples of supplication, demonstrating how individuals can bring their requests to God and receive his response. Matthew 7:7-11 provides a poignant example of this, as Jesus encourages His disciples to ask of God and trust that He will answer their request. Additionally, King David’s Psalms often make mention of supplication in a variety of ways, including in the opening to Psalm 28 “Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul” and throughout Psalm 17 “Hear a just cause, O Lord, attend to my cry. Give ear to my prayer.”

Modern Supplication for Believers

Today, Christians of all ages and backgrounds continue to use supplication as a way to commune with God. As an act of humility, individuals can come to God in times of need, and trust that He will answer in ways that are fitting and beneficial for all involved. Additionally, practicing supplication can help believers to become more in tune with the will of God, allowing them to discern the answers they receive. Finally, today’s believers can also make use of various forms of “supplicative” prayer, such as petitioning God for the needs of others or relying on the promises of scripture to seek His will.

Practical Considerations for Prayer

When engaging in supplication, there are a few practical considerations that individuals should keep in mind. Firstly, individuals should remember to be persistent in their prayers, as God often answers prayer through unexpected means and in His own time. Additionally, individuals should pray with boldness, trust and faith, recognizing that they do not always know God’s plan, but that He always has their best interests in mind. Lastly, individuals can also seek the guidance of spiritual advisors, theologians and fellow Christians who can help to provide spiritual direction and insight in times of prayer.

Reflection of Supplication in Christian Life

The practice of supplication has been a part of Christian life since the earliest days of the faith. It is an act of humility and devotion that reminds believers of their dependence on the grace of God and their need to seek His will in their lives. Additionally, it is an act of faith, as God desires that individuals have unbelieving trust in Him as they come to Him in prayer. Through biblical reflections, spiritual practice, and practical considerations, supplication continues to be a powerful way for Christians to commune with God and deepen their relationship with Him.

Experiences of Supplication

For many, the experience of supplication is a profound one, connecting individuals with the heart of the faith and reminding them of their love for and dependence on God. Additionally, it serves as a reminder that God is always with us, and can be relied on in times of need and in seeking His will. Whether through heartfelt prayer or through quiet contemplation, individuals who come to God in supplication often find peace, joy, faith, and strength that they can use in their daily lives.

Purpose of Supplication

The purpose of supplication is two-fold. Firstly, it is an act of humility that invites individuals to draw closer to God and seek His will. Secondly, it is an act of faith, trusting in God’s plan and that He answers prayer according to what is best for the individual and for His kingdom. Additionally, supplication is a reminder of our dependence on God, and of His love for us, as He desires that we draw ever nearer to Him.

Using Supplication and Knowing God’s Will

Supplication can be an important component of discerning God’s will. As God desires that individuals seek Him and commune with Him through prayer, supplication provides individuals with an avenue to do so. Additionally, scriptures such as James 1:5-8 and Romans 8:28 can be used to gain wisdom, comfort and assurance as believers seek to understand the will of God. Through prayer, spiritual practice, and Scripture, individuals can use supplication to deepen their faith and draw nearer to God.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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