Forbearance and Supplication

At a recent Bible Study we discussed Philippians 4.  Let’s first take a look at the passage in Young’s  Literal Translation (YLT).


YLT Phillipians 4:4-13

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice;

5 let your forbearance be known to all men; the Lord [is] near;

6 for nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer, and by supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God;

7 and the peace of God, that is surpassing all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

8 As to the rest, brethren, as many things as are true, as many as [are] grave, as many as [are] righteous, as many as [are] pure, as many as [are] lovely, as many as [are] of good report, if any worthiness, and if any praise, these things think upon;

9 the things that also ye did learn, and receive, and hear, and saw in me, those do, and the God of the peace shall be with you.

10 And I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at length ye flourished again in caring for me, for which also ye were caring, and lacked opportunity;

11 not that in respect of want I say [it], for I did learn in the things in which I am — to be content;

12 I have known both to be abased, and I have known to abound; in everything and in all things I have been initiated, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want.

13 For all things I have strength, in Christ’s strengthening me;


Let’s first take a look at the definitions of the two words in bold, forbearance and supplication.

Forbearance: noun

patient self-control; restraint and tolerance.

“forbearance from taking action”

synonyms:    tolerance, patience, resignation, endurance, fortitude, stoicism; More


the action of refraining from exercising a legal right, especially enforcing the payment of a debt.

Supplication: noun

The action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly.

‘he fell to his knees in supplication’


These verses are very clear, especially when we look at the definitions!  God, the true God of the Bible,  is not calling us to run out and fix things down here on earth as we see fit.  He calls us to pray about things!    To turn them over to him, submitting to his will, to what is He is doing.   In a very similar sense, the above verses tell us works without submissive prayer is useless!  Most folks cannot see how God is now working down here on earth.  Most are blind to these things.  Still we  are told to pray and listen,  and then submit to his will,  following his direction.

If at first we don’t hear, the parable of the unjust judge passage gives us clear direction.  We are not to stop asking.  Not to make stuff up. Not to take our best guess. We are simply to keep asking in faith (expecting an answer – knowing that God promises to answer the prayers of the righteous (the chosen).   NLT 1 Peter 3:12  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.)

YLT Luke 18:6-8

6 And the Lord said, `Hear ye what the unrighteous judge saith:

7 and shall not God execute the justice to His choice ones, who are crying unto Him day and night — bearing long in regard to them?

8 I say to you, that He will execute the justice to them quickly; but the Son of Man having come, shall he find the faith upon the earth?’


Many think that men need to take a more active role.  Someone  asked what if Martin Luther King had not done anything – Just prayed, would God’s will have been done?

I don’t think this is a fair question.  I think that Dr. King understood the power of God and was praying in submission throughout his ministry.  I think that prayer was the fuel for his advocacy work, not his reasoning alone.

Other verses tell us that prayer without acts in hollow, but I think we first have to accept who our God is.  The God of the Bible is omnipotent!  He is all powerful!! He is in control – not man, not men! Yes, he works thru men.  He works thru his chosen few, but he also works thru the blind masses!

Mat 10:29 Not a sparrow falls outside his will. NLT Prov 21:1 The kings (our leaders) heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord.  He guides it where ever he pleases.  In a very similar sense, the above verses tell us works without submissive prayer is also useless!


I think this verse is very pertinent to this discussion, confirming God’s power down here on earth.

GWT 1 Peter 5:6-11

6Be humbled by God’s power so that when the right time comes he will honor you. 7Turn all your anxiety over to God because he cares for you. 8Keep your mind clear, and be alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion as he looks for someone to devour (to use/deceive). 9Be firm in the faith and resist him, knowing that other believers throughout the world are going through the same kind of suffering.

10God, who shows you his kindness and who has called you through Christ Jesus to his eternal glory, will restore you, strengthen you, make you strong, and support you as you suffer for a little while. 11Power belongs to him forever. Amen.

So how does this passive submission order stack up against to the warning that faith without works is dead?  Let’s take a look.

NKJV James 2:14-26  Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my[b] works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?[c] 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[d] And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

So this is a warning is against works without faith.  When we have real submissive faith, God will eventually be made manifest.


Works without the urgent pleadings in prayer, the waiting to hear and obedience to what we hear is not what God calls us to.

May God choose, guide and perfect you!



PS  Looking for guidance on which old posts from this site need to be deleted, which need to be corrected…  While my original efforts to seek God were very misguided, and much is reflected in my words, still I wonder if there may be ways to redeem them, now that I can see Gods real power and have been given a glimpse of his glory.

God Bless




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