Having looked at the worship elements of adoration, confession, and thanksgiving, we now turn to the element of supplication. Supplication in worship is essentially the act of asking God for something or to do something.
In this psalm we see Moses making several requests of God. Moses asks God to give understanding, compassion, and ultimately asks for mercy. In the psalm Moses acknowledges the sin of his people. Moses’s main request is that God would find favor with his people despite their shortcomings and failures. Because we know the rest of the story, we know that God indeed showed them favor and forgiveness.
If we are honest, most of our prayers are prayers of supplication. We pray for other people. We pray for upcoming surgeries. We pray for positive outcomes to difficult situations. We pray for provision and encouragement. We pray that God does something for us. Thankfully, God is a God who provides for his people and answers their prayers. We show honor to God when we ask him to work in a particular situation because we are demonstrating our dependence upon him. We must be careful, however, that we don’t begin to treat God as a cosmic genie whose sole purpose is to give us what we want.
We must also remember that when we ask God for something, sometimes his answer will be no. This is not because he does not want what is best for us. In fact, it is the opposite. Because God knows what is best for us, he does not always give us what we think we need. It may seem that God does not answer our prayers, but perhaps he has simply answered them with no or has answered them in a way that we do not yet understand.
One other thing that we must remember about asking God to do things in our lives is that sometimes we shortchange what God can really do. Sometimes our prayers are simply too small. God wants to do amazing things in our world, but sometimes we lack the faith to ask God to do the big things.
When you ask God to do something, what is your expectation? Do you pray expecting God to really work or do you simply want God to know about the need? What is it that you are praying for today? Take some time to pray for your needs and for the needs of the others around you, and when you pray, pray expectantly.