Several weeks ago I was reading an article and the author was talking about taking the position of a supplicant. Now there is an old fashioned word you do not hear very often. A supplicant is one who supplicates...I am not kidding that is from the dictionary. Supplicate means to make a humble entreaty for; to ask for earnestly and humbly. The author was using it in the context of leaning into God in prayer; taking a humble posture and opening your hands as a supplicant.This word fascinated me so I looked it up in my Concise Dictionary of English Etymology. I wanted to know what does it really mean? It comes from the same root word as supple and means to bend down under.
Well today I was given the very best picture of supplicate/supplicant and a wonderful insight into what this word really does mean. I was walking with a friend at Four Mile Creek, an area in Charlotte that borders a large creek and nature preserve where the city has built a beautiful walking/riding trail. We came to a place where several people had stopped and were looking at something in the grassy area not twenty five feet from the path. There a doe had stopped and was nursing her fawn for all to see. She didn't seem to me to be the least bit alarmed at all of the humans gawking at her, but what so caught my attention was the position of the mother and babe. The fawn was bending down under and nursing happily away; so much so that all you could see of the fawn was its white tail wagging excitedly. The mother's position was not one of boredom...looking straight ahead... or alarm ...looking at us.. but rather her constant posture the entire time was having her head turned in and turned down toward her young one.
All I could think of was the word supplicate; seeing it with news eyes and new understanding. The fawn is a supplicant bending down opening its mouth and receiving life from its mother. That is exactly what God wants me to be and to do. It should be as joyous to pray and commune with God as it was for that fawn to nurse from its mother. I smile even now as I remember the little white tail communicating in a way that words cannot. And how reassuring that the mother was not ignoring the fawn or distracted or remote or any other word we might conjure up to think about where God is when we pray. The mother in whom the Creator Himself deposited all these beautiful instincts was looking down, turning in and intently involved with her offspring. Why should we think God would do anything less?