Supplication is a mighty mystery of worship; indeed, it is as though the spirit of worship. As we have mentioned in many places, supplication is of three sorts.
The First Sort of Supplication: This is the tongue of latent ability. Through it all seeds and grains supplicate the All-Wise Creator, saying:
“Make us grow! Make our tiny truths sprout and transform us into the mighty reality of a tree, so that we may display the elaborate embroideries of Your names!”
Another sort of supplication through the tongue of latent ability is this: the gathering together of causes is a supplication for the creation of the effect. That is to say, the causes take up a position whereby they resemble a tongue of disposition through which they beseech the effect from the All-Powerful One of Glory.
For example, water, heat, earth, and light take up positions around a seed, and their doing this constitutes a tongue of supplication which says: “O Our Creator, make this seed into a tree!” For the tree, a wonderful miracle of power cannot be attributed to those unconscious, lifeless, simple substances; that would be impossible. This means the coming together of causes is a sort of supplication.
The Second Sort of Supplication: This is through the tongue of innate need. It is the supplication made by all living creatures to the All-Compassionate Creator to give them the things they need and desire, which are beyond their power and will, from unexpected places, at the appropriate time.
For an All-Wise and Compassionate One sends them all these things at the right time, from places they do not know. They are beyond their reach. That is to say, the bestowal is the result of supplication.
In Short: All that rises to the divine court from the universe is a supplication. Those things that are causes seek the effects from God.
The Third Sort of Supplication: This is the supplication of conscious beings, which arises from need. It is of two kinds:
If it is made at a time of desperate need, or is completely conformable with innate need, or if it is close to the tongue of latent ability, or is made with the tongue of a pure, sincere heart, this supplication is virtually always acceptable.
The greater part of human progress and most discoveries are the result of this sort of supplication. For the things they call the wonders of civilization and the matters and discoveries they take pride in are the result of what is in effect supplication. They were asked for with a sincere tongue of latent ability and so were given.
So long as there is nothing preventing them and they are conformable with conditions, supplications made through the tongues of latent ability and innate need are always acceptable.
The Second Kind: This is the well-known supplication and it too is of two kinds. One is by action and the other by word. For example, plowing is supplication by action. It is not seeking sustenance from the earth; the earth is a door to a treasury of mercy, and the plow knocks on the earth, the door to divine mercy.
From Twenty-Fourth Letter by Master Said Nursi