Prayer as begging

God's healing

Cristal weeps when she feels God’s power healing her.

Why twice?

In every thing by prayer and supplication … let your requests be made known unto God. — Phil 4:6 The synonym for prayer, translated here “supplication” and elsewhere “petition,” is strange for its redundancy.

In Greek it is δέησις (deēsis), which means a need so urgent you turn to begging. You have no other hope. It evokes the utter powerlessness of being prostrated before a potentate who holds your life in his hands. Pleading, nothing more.

Pastor Charlie Forman

Pastor Charlie Forman with Pastor Ludving.

So many times, my prayers cover things I can also cover. These are things I need to get done, I can done. I just want God to help me do them efficiently.

Then there are needs about which I am exasperatingly powerless. About those needs, I tend to get frustrated, get mad, sulk. In fact, if I’m brutally honest about myself, I complain more than I pray.

That seems to me to be what Paul is addressing. Yes, pray, but also plead (supplicate, make petition) to a God who alone can help you. You can trust God for the needs that are completely out of your control.


12 responses to “Prayer as begging

  1. Sadly, many Christians in “advanced” nations hardly know what it is to get real with God.

  2. Father, I pray for Cristal. May Your healing touch turn her family’s life upside down and on fire for You. May Your healing touch shine a light in her neighborhood and her city. Give her family bold courage as they point people to Jesus. Thank you, Lord for Your healing touch.

  3. And in our frustration we can also find the power to be thankful and isn’t that just a kick in the pants?

  4. Read this on the day when Oswald Chamber’s devotional in ‘My Utmost for His Highest’ says:
    “People say – Preach us the simple gospel: don’t tell us we have to be holy, because that produces a sense of abject poverty, and it is not nice to feel abjectly poor. “Ask” means beg. Some people are poor enough to be interested in their poverty, and some of us are like that spiritually. We will never receive if we ask with an end in view; if we ask, not out of our poverty but out of our lust. A pauper does not ask from any other reason than the abject panging condition of his poverty, he is not ashamed to beg.
    – Blessed are the paupers in spirit.”

  5. Oh yes, plead with petitions…other times cling as Jacob did as He wrestled with God. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I think you nailed the essence of the Greek with the idea of “powerlessness.: It’s like the mountain climber who falls and catches a branch at the last minute before falling to his death, holding on for his life, crying out, plese, somebody help me. He can’t help himself and must rely
    ltotally on someone else. I’m in that situation now, having just been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Only God can get me out of this dilemma alive.


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