Editor's note: This is a reprint of a previous column.

"And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto Him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul ... " (Enos 1:4)

"Supplication" is defined as a humble or earnest petition or

entreaty, a humble prayer addressed to God that often specifically

petitions for a special blessing.

The root of supplication comes from "to be flat," or pliant. It also

has the sense of supple or foldable. In a literal sense, to supplicate

means to be on folded knees. Another sense of the word is to beg humbly.

The word supplication, as used in the Old Testament, is a

translation of a number of words, which mean to bend or to stoop; to

beg for favor, grace or pity; to entreat; or to search for the answer

to a hard question, proverb or riddle. The Greek word in the New

Testament is essentially the same with the additional sense of

beseeching or begging as binding oneself.

Very often in scripture and in more modern usage, supplication is

used in conjunction with prayer, as in prayer and supplication. The

question is whether this is simply repetition for effect or redundancy,

or if there really are separate meanings for prayer and supplication.

In fact, sometimes prayer and supplication are used as repetition for

emphasis. For example, Psalms 6:9 reads: "The Lord hath heard my

supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer." However, there are a

number of cases where supplication is used as a special application of


Prayer encompasses all forms of how we approach our Heavenly Father.

Prayer, while it can be supplication, simply means to ask or to

entreat, whereas the sense of supplication is of a more intense nature.

So, in general, we would not speak of supplication before our meals or

in invocations or benedictions at church meetings.What Enos did was

clearly more than his typical prayers. Another example is Melchizedek,

who "offered up prayers and supplications with strong (mighty and

powerful) crying and tears unto Him that was able to save him from

death" (Hebrews 5:7).

Another good example of this intensity is the Prophet Joseph Smith,

who tells us that "After I had retired to my bed for the night, I

betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for

forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to

me that I might know of my state and standing before Him."

When the word supplication is used in the scriptures, in this deeper

sense, it is most often in the case of special, almost unique pleadings

and cries of the heart for very particular blessings and manifestations

and, thus, a much more intense form of prayer.