The word supplication (see Zechariah 12:10) is never used in the Bible except to denote a cry or prayer that is vocalized. In other words, it is not private or meditative. Supplication has to do with the voice!
The Hebrew word for supplication signifies “an olive branch wrapped with wool, or some kind of cloth, waved by a supplicant seeking peace or surrender.” These were called “branches of supplication.” Simply put, they were flags that signified a cry of total, unconditional surrender.
Picture a battle-weary soldier, ragged and worn, tired and overwhelmed, stuck in a foxhole of self-will. He is all alone, weary and haggard, and has come to the end of himself. He breaks a branch off a tree and ties his white undershirt to it, lifts it, and crawls out of his foxhole, crying, “I surrender—I give up!”
That is supplication! It says, “I surrender! I can’t fight this battle anymore. I’m lost and despairing.”
Supplication is not just calling on God to do what you want. It is not begging and pleading with Him to assist you in your plans. On the contrary, it is a total giving up of your will and your way!
For centuries Christians have called on God while full of self-will, begging and crying, “O God, send me here, send me there, give me this, give me that.” But in the last days the Holy Spirit is going to fall with great power to produce a sense of spiritual bankruptcy. We will wake up to the fact that even with all our money, brains, programs, ministries, and plans, we have not even touched this world. The truth is, the church has lost ground and become weak and pitiful.
There must be surrender! Our cries must be accompanied by a willingness to give up everything in our life that is unlike Jesus Christ.
Daniel’s prayer demonstrates what supplication is all about: “Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord’s sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies” (Daniel 9:17-18).