Praying is having a conversation with God—just as if God was sitting across the counter from you. But sometimes my mind wanders. . .sometimes it seems that I just say the same things over and over. A prayer model which I really like is the ACTS prayer: The acronym stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Here is the pattern:
Adoration: As we spend time in adoration, we acknowledge and praise God for who God is and what God does. So this morning I said, “Dear gracious God –you are my creator, my friend, my guide – you are faithful, forgiving, you are my rock.” So start by praising God with words from your heart that describe why you adore your God.
Confession: 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and will forgive us our sins.” This part of prayer is to name those things we have done which were harmful to our relationship with God, harmful to others or harmful to ourselves. So this morning, I said: “Please forgive me for I have neglected a friend who is alone, lonely and ill. I have not spent time reading your word. I have been eating too much junk food.”
If you cannot think of any sins which you have committed, just be quiet and listen and the Holy Spirit will reveal areas in your life that are not pleasing to God. Part of confessing the sin is to change –to repent- to turn in a new direction—an active move on your part to no longer indulge in that particular sin.
Thanksgiving: “In everything give thanks.” 1 Thess. 5:18 Thanksgiving allows us to thank God for what God has done for us, and through us, right now.
“Thank you for the beautiful day, that I have meaningful work to do, for my health, for my husband, my children and grandchildren.” Potentially, this part of the prayer could be very long. Also remember to include little wonderful touches which God adds to our lives like: clean water to drink, electricity supply we can depend on, a surplus of food in our refrigerator, hot showers, etc.
Supplication: Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” In this part of the prayer we ask God to meet the needs of ourselves and others.
Pray for others. “Please be with a grandchild who is in a challenging time and needs to make good choices.”
Pray for world issues. “I am concerned about the people of Haiti and the break-out of chorea. What should I do?” It is good to remember that prayer is a way of connecting with God; so that, God can empower us to take “action.”
Pray for your own needs. “Dear God, I continue to struggle with making good food choices. Help me O Lord.”
May this ACTS prayer be helpful to you as you connect with God in prayer.
Remember it is also important to be quiet and listen because God may have a definite response to your thoughts and words. For example: I prayed this morning, “Help me make better food choices.” A few minutes later the question came, “What will you do today about your bad food choices? What action? What will you do about the cholera outbreak in Haiti?
Remember that the purpose of prayer is to connect us with God so that we can be empowered by God. . .empowered to know what to do and then to do it.
Try the ACTS prayer. Amen