Session 5: Supplication
How to Experience God in Prayer
God is a good Father, and He hears our cries for help. In this session, Chip shows us how to turn anxiety into specific requests we can put before God.
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Online Discipleship: How to Experience God in Prayer
Part 5: Supplication
Welcome to session five of How to Experience God in Prayer. I am excited to wrap this up with you. We have talked about: there is a kind of prayer. Just saying words, your mind wandering, “Oh, God, please help me.” There are a lot of prayers that don’t allow us to really connect with God.
But there is a kind of prayer that God promises you will experience supernatural peace and very specific power. It’s found in Philippians chapter 4; that’s where we have been. By way of review, let’s follow along, let’s read it together one more time. “Be anxious for nothing” – that’s big, isn’t it? “But in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.” Adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and now our fourth word: supplication. Very specific petitions, with the promise that, when that happens, the peace of God will literally, a surpassing peace, will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.
This last word is really interesting. It has the idea of a very specific, literal writing out a grocery list and bringing it to God. One of the reasons that a lot of people don’t experience God, good Christians, mature Christians, is they pray very vague prayers. “Lord, bless my children. Lord, give me a good day. Lord, I hope things will go well. Lord, would You help?”
Well, you know, He may do that, but you don’t know whether He did or not. As someone has said, nothing really becomes dynamic until it becomes specific. This word is a word for: bring your specific things to God. When Jesus was teaching about prayer in Matthew 7, “Ask, seek, knock,” and then he gives this picture of when a child comes before this father and he asks very specifically, his father is not going to give him something bad.
So here’s what I want you to get: you have to come to the point where you begin to ask very specific things. Again, for me, a journal has been helpful. This journal is my important prayers for 2018. Some of you aren’t writers. I’m a verbal processor, but I have about seven or eight things that are personal that are very specific and I will tell you, when 2018 is over, if the Lord doesn’t return, I will know: answered, answered, answered, or, wow, that wasn’t answered yet, or maybe I need to change that prayer. But let me encourage you to be very, very specific in your prayers.
The other thing is that there is a context here where, let’s remember, he said when anxiety comes, this is how to pray: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and then you bring these specific things. One of the things that I have done, again, I use my journal is when I am feeling anxious, I actually take it and I make a little box.
What I do is I take my anxieties and make a little box: “My wife and I aren’t getting along right now.” Right? Doesn’t everyone have a little tiff with your wife now and then? I make a little box. “Lord, show me what I need to do, specifically, today, to repair the relationship with my wife.” Put a little box: “Lord, will You give me discernment today about what I am supposed to do in the meeting with Bob?” Another box: “Lord, will You please provide?”
What I can tell you is that I have boxes with check marks, with dates next to them, in my journal and what I can see is the God of the universe is showing up in my life. He is not showing up because I am special. I am special in that I am His son. He is showing up because in the midst of the anxiety and the pressure and the demand – those are problems – God has disguised those as opportunities for you and for me to say, “I am anxious.” Don’t be anxious. “What should I do?” I am going to get a view of God – adoration. I’m going to get an honest view within – confession. I am going to salt and pepper that and I am going to list my blessings and choose to be thankful.
Then I am going to take my journal and say, “Lord, here’s my specific needs. I am offering them to You and I am praying in faith. I am asking You to show up in these specific ways.” Here’s what I am going to tell you: yes, you will experience emotional peace, but you will find yourselves writing down specific answers to prayer and you’ll realize God is at work. He is for you. You are asking; He’s answering. You’re seeking; He’s coming. You’re knocking; doors are opening.
It really turns the entire Christian life into an amazing adventure. And, so, let me encourage you. Here’s a little thing I want to end all of our time with; you might even memorize this. This is one that takes this entire passage, everything we have learned, and I kind of like to get things down to one sentence: When anxiety knocks at the door of your heart, let prayer answer.
What kind of prayer? Adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and specific supplication. …and run into your Father’s heart.
Our Father who is in heaven, who is holy, loves you and cares for you. Bring your needs. He will take care of them. Confess your sins. He wants to forgive them. The power, the glory, His will wants to be done in your heart and in your life.
He is just waiting for normal sons and daughters like you and me to come. Draw near to God; He will draw near to you. It’s an exciting journey together. I pray that you will learn like never before, not just to pray, but to experience God in your prayers.