Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 30 July |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Solanus Casey
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

What is a prayer of supplication?


Jeffrey Bruno

Philip Kosloski - published on 07/23/19

Offering prayers of supplication is primarily a recognition that we need God for everything.

The verb “to supplicate” comes from a Latin word that means “to implore” and has the added prefix of “sub” meaning “from below.” Whenever someone “supplicates,” it is an activity that is done when a person puts themselves lower than someone else.

It makes sense, then, that supplication has become associated with Christian prayer, recognizing that God is far beyond us and we are in need of his help.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church expands on this definition and connects it to other synonyms that helps us understand it.

The vocabulary of supplication in the New Testament is rich in shades of meaning: ask, beseech, plead, invoke, entreat, cry out, even “struggle in prayer.” Its most usual form, because the most spontaneous, is petition: by prayer of petition we express awareness of our relationship with God. We are creatures who are not our own beginning, not the masters of adversity, not our own last end. We are sinners who as Christians know that we have turned away from our Father. Our petition is already a turning back to him. (CCC 2629)

A prayer of supplication, then, is a prayer of petition that asks our Heavenly Father for a particular spiritual or material benefit. It recognizes God’s supreme power over all creation and his ability to grant us what we need.

Prayers of supplication are scattered everywhere throughout the Bible, with the Psalms being the most prime example. If we need any inspiration as to how our prayers of supplication should look like, open up the Psalms and start reading.

When we pray, let us remember that God is God and we are not. He is in control and has a planned marked out for us. It is up to us to turn towards him and away from our sins, asking him to have mercy on our souls.


Read more:
Pray with your children this classic bedtime prayer to keep them close to God


Read more:
Practical tips for Christian meditation, according to St. Francis de Sales

PrayerSpiritual Life
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
Lauren Daigle
J-P Mauro
After 3 years Lauren Daigle ousts herself from #1 Billboard spot
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.