ACTS of Prayer
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Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Prayer is reverently (Hebrews 5:7) talking to God. Have you ever heard of the A.C.T.S. of prayer? Each letter stands for one aspect of prayer. It is not the only model for prayer, but it can remind us of some basic things to cover when we approach our Heavenly Father in prayer:
A = Adoration (praise)
C = Confession (of sins)
T = Thanksgiving (being grateful to God)
S = Supplication (requests)
Adoration and Praise
Our Creator God is wonderful, and He deserves our praise! That’s why it’s good to start by praising Him. It also gives us a right perspective -- God’s greatness and power compared to our smallness. Jesus began The Lord's Prayer by acknowledging God's fatherly love, goodness, and rule over the earth: "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:9-10).
Confession of Sins
Everyone has sinned, and we all fall short of God’s standard for us (Romans 3:23). Our sins make a separation between us and God (Isaiah 59:2), but we want to be close to Him! "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Holding onto our sins builds a barrier between us and God. Confessing and repenting of them breaks down that wall and restores our fellowship with God.
Thanksgiving and Gratitude
How has God blessed you? How has He shown His love for you? Of course, we are thankful for His blessings. But we can even be grateful for problems and hardships, because He can use those to bring us closer to Himself. The Bible tells us to "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. " (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Supplication and Requests
Jesus taught that we can ask for what we need, and to be persistent in asking: "ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Luke 11:9). We can trust that "if we ask anything according to his will he hears us" (1 John 5:14). Because Jesus is our great High Priest, we can "with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). So boldly approach God with your requests.
The Gospels record Jesus turning to the Father in prayer time after time, day after day. We are to follow His example to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Pray with others
Jesus encouraged both praying alone (Matthew 6:6) and praying with others (Matthew 18:19,20). If you aren’t already praying with others, ask some friends to pray with you. If they don't know how to pray, you can help them! Here’s how.
Teaching your friends how to pray with you
Prayer plays a vital role in someone’s relationship with God. Prayer should become a regular part of your life. You can encourage your friends to begin with spending 15 minutes a day alone with God. Remind them that Scripture can be used as a foundation of our prayers. You can pray through a Psalm together - read a verse and then pray the ideas in the verse back to God, then read the next verse and pray those ideas to God.
Besides using A.C.T.S. as a pattern for your group prayer, you can also use the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:8-15) as a model for prayer. At first you might pray through it slowly with them, emphasizing that you really are speaking from your heart to God. Then you can expand and personalize the prayer time.
You and your friends can start a prayer journal. You can write down your prayers and keep track of prayers that God answers.
Also, together take time to "be still" as a part of your prayer - just being with God and listening to Him (Psalm 46:10).
Best of all, remind each other that Jesus is right there with you. "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them" - Jesus in Matthew 18:20.
Pray this week:
Lord, teach me and my friends to pray with confidence in You.
The ACTS of prayer is a good way to remember what a prayer should contain... Do you just "ask" and forget the rest? Learn more about prayer by talking with another Christian.