In the final episode of our mini-series on prayer, we discuss prayer requests! How do we entrust our requests to God? What do we do when he doesn’t answer, and do God’s answers rely on our faith?


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Welcome to Verity Podcast. I’m your host, Phylicia Masonnheimer, and I am here to teach you how to know what you believe, to live it boldly, and to communicate it graciously to the world around you. I believe that women are ready to go deeper in their faith than ever before, and they don’t have to go to seminary to do it. I am so glad you’re here, and I hope you’ll join me on this journey, because Every Woman is a Theologian.

Hi friends, and welcome back to Verity Podcast. I am so thrilled to be with you for our last episode in this short miniseries on prayer. We started with the episode on God’s sovereignty and why we pray in light of his sovereignty. But then we go on to discuss the different types of prayer using the ACTS acronym.

So, ACTS, adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. And today we’re talking about supplication or requests. So this is the aspect of prayer that we’re actually the most familiar with, It’s usually what we default to. So I really hope you’ve listened through the first three or four episodes of this series so you can hear about those other types of prayer, because they’re just as vital as our supplications, our requests. I wanted to look at what Scripture said about supplication and offering up our requests just to give us some context for what the Bible says about it. And then we will talk about a certain passage that I think maybe is challenging or difficult for a lot of us when it comes to answered prayers. So we usually know this verse when it comes to our requests, but I’m going to read it anyway.

Philippians 4:6 says, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” So sometimes people use this verse to say, well, just don’t be anxious. That’s what it’s saying. So just reject anxiety. But really what it’s saying is it’s giving us a path for how to deal with anxiety. It’s not saying that we won’t feel anxious, it’s saying that when you do, this is what you do instead, this is what you do with it. So when anxiety comes, don’t stay there, don’t dwell in it, don’t choose to aggravate it or make it more than it is.

Instead, turn it into prayer, communication with God, supplication, giving your requests to God and thanksgiving, thanking God for what you already have. So listen to last week’s episode if you want to learn more about thanksgiving and what it does for us. Why thanksgiving specifically counters anxiety. But for today, let’s focus on this last part. Let your requests be made known to God. So there is some kind of, like, two sided coin here between being anxious about everything and letting your requests be made known to God. I know that when I’m struggling with anxiety, which I was just struggling with anxiety about this particular issue this morning, so often I just think about it in my mind over and over and over again, having these hypothetical conversations. I’m thinking about what if this and what if that? And what Paul is saying to the Philippian Church is, rather than doing that, turn those thoughts into requests.

So what are you asking God to do in this situation? Well, I’m worried about this particular person’s view of me or their behavior is suggesting that they think this of me. Well, I don’t know what they actually think. So I’m going to ask God for peace in that relationship, clarity in that relationship. I’m going to ask that if there’s a problem, they would communicate it directly to me and that the Holy Spirit would give me the words. And every time that situation comes to mind, I’m going to turn that into a supplication, and then I’m going to cover that in thanksgiving. Thank you, God, for the wonderful relationships I have. Thank you that I know this person. Thank you for these things about them.

This is not toxic positivity. This is not spiritual bypassing. This is a thriving prayer life. And without a thriving prayer life, we should really wonder, what does it even mean to follow God? We have a personal God, a Holy Spirit, who leads us, and he invites us to make our requests known to him personally. James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” So this has more to do with confession of sin, which we talked about in the confession episode of this miniseries. But it also kind of connects to supplications, because you’re still asking God for something, right? You’re communicating with God either about someone else or about your own sin. And it says here that the prayer of a righteous person, a person made righteous by Christ, is powerful and effective. That is an amazing promise. Now, this doesn’t mean God’s going to answer exactly the way we want. But God does answer. Sometimes it’s no, sometimes it’s wait. But he does answer. Ephesians 6:18 says, “Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” Again, he’s separating prayer and supplication.

So there’s this communication and intimacy with God, and then there’s supplication, which is requests. And he says, to that end, so in your prayer life, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. So saints, that’s you and me. We are saints. We are the children of God, made holy by Christ. Make supplication, make requests on behalf of your fellow Christians. But he says something interesting. He says, keep alert with perseverance.

This should tell us two things. When we are praying, it’s going to be hard to stay alert. We’re going to want to be distracted. And number two, it’s going to be easy to be lazy, and we have to persevere. So if prayer feels like you’re constantly wanting to be distracted or wanting to put it off, this is a form of spiritual warfare, spiritual resistance that we have to be aware of so that we in the Holy Spirit keep alert with perseverance. Last but certainly not least, one, John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, toward God, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” So this is not saying that if you don’t say certain words that are secretly in accordance with God’s will, He doesn’t hear you. So he hears us, always. He always hears. 

What this is specifically talking about is praying in God’s will. So when you’re walking in the Spirit and you’re praying in the Spirit, listening to him and praying constantly, as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5, you will be praying in accordance with God’s will. So this isn’t like having a certain passcode or the right words, and then God hears you. He’s always going to hear you. But the more you pray and the more you walk with God, the more you will be aware of his specific will, and he will actually guide you into what to pray for. So, for instance, I was praying over my marriage for a long time for a variety of different things. But then about six months ago, the Lord gave me something very specific to pray over for my marriage.

And as I prayed that specific thing, I definitely saw really rich and wonderful changes in our relationship. Now, did I need to have those magic words? No. But now I’m partnering with the Holy Spirit’s specific leading on a specific thing in my marriage that needs work, and that was revealed to me through prayer. So I can now be more specific in my prayer. That’s what I believe this verse is talking about praying in the Spirit, asking according to his specific will for your situation. So he always hears us, and he continues to lead us into deeper and more specific requests as we pray. So we’re getting beyond the bless this person, help me do this. These kind of vague prayers to asking God, what do you want me to pray in this situation? So the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings, without words.

This is Romans 8:26. And what that means is that he gives us the words, he gives us a sense of what to pray for and what to request for people. And so you can ask that God, what should I be praying for this person? What should I be praying for this situation? And in the meantime, this is what I think I should be praying. And that’s what I’m going to pray until you tell me otherwise. So no formula. So the thing I wanted to kind of wrap up with is a passage in Mark, Mark 11:24 that has been really misused in the charismatic Church. It says this, “Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.” So the way this is used in word of faith traditions is that if you want something or you think this is what God has given you to pray for it, and if you have enough faith, if you believe enough, it will be yours. And so if you don’t receive something you prayed for, the problem is you and your lack of faith. The problem is you and that you did something wrong. So it really becomes this kind of dance with the human will where you’re kind of like trying to trick or goad God into answering your prayers. Very damaging theology. 

So I wanted to look at enduring word commentary, which talks a little bit about this passage. One thing that he notes in verses 20 through 24 of Mark 11 is this. Jesus made it clear that prayer must be offered in faith, but the faith must be in God. So faith is trust, confidence and reliance upon someone or something. So the Greek transliterations are basically saying, have God’s faith, have faith in God. So one scholar, Robertson, is saying that God is the object of faith in this sentence. So the faith that you have is not like, I have faith for getting a new car or getting a new house, or I have faith for complete healing on earth. The faith is in God. So it’s not like if I had enough faith that my body would be healed, then my body would be healed. No, it’s I have faith in God, including in his sovereign will. So I’m going to pray boldly for healing, for instance. Or I believe that this particular house is where we need to go, or this job is where we need to go.

I’m going to pray boldly and request that. But my faith is in God, not in myself, and not in this thing. And so if God’s will is for me not to have that house, not to have that job, or not to have healing on this side of heaven, then I trust that his answer is still good. This happened a couple of years ago when my uncle passed away pretty suddenly of pancreatic cancer. We prayed. He’s a believer. Our family is believers, praying for his healing. My uncle was taken to be with the Lord. He was healed in heaven. 

The issue there was not our lack of faith. It was not our lack of belief in healing. We all believe that God could absolutely and miraculously heal him. God chose not to do that. What about my chronic illness? I prayed for years, 5-6 years, that God would heal me physically, and I did not see healing. I was prayed over. For those of you who are in the charismatic traditions, I was prayed over and anointed with oil. I was prayed over in tongues. I was not healed physically. And then 5-6 years in, after the birth of Ivan, I was healed physically. But you know what had changed in that time? My heart had changed. I was healed on the inside. I was honoring my body, I was resting more. I was not overworking myself with these super intense workouts and restrictive diets and all of the stuff that I had been doing to try and follow the pace of the culture. Instead, I chose a different path. And as I honored my body, I honored Sabbath in principle, I began to heal. And then through Ivan’s pregnancy, my body was healed. 

So it’s sometimes a progressive thing, God’s answer. Sometimes God says no for a period of time to teach us something. Sometimes God says no forever and we don’t know why until heaven. But it’s still an answer. Just because God doesn’t say yes doesn’t mean God didn’t answer us. So when we give our requests to God, we make known our supplications and requests on our own behalf or for someone else.

We have to remember that God does always answer. And even when he doesn’t answer the way that we want, we have to remember that he’s still lovingly answering us. And there’s something that he knows that we don’t because he’s not a genie in a bottle. God is sovereign and he is loving and he is present with us. 

So I hope that this little miniseries really encouraged you in your prayer life. If you need tips for practically praying throughout the day, you can scroll back in the episodes to ten ways to pray or ten ways to integrate prayer into your day. There’s some practical tips for this, ways to remind yourself to pray, setting timers or using prayer journaling, all things that I do. I cannot encourage you enough to make your prayer life a priority. Make it a priority. Integrate it into your time in the word. Integrate it throughout your day. You will never regret building a relationship of intimacy with God. 

Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode of Verity Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, would you take the time to leave us a review? It helps so many other women around the world find out about Verity and about Every Woman a Theologian as a ministry in a shop. We appreciate you and I hope you’ll be back next week as we continue to go deeper into God’s word and the heart of Jesus Christ.


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