A C T S of prayer

For I cried out to Him for help, praising Him as I spoke.
If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer.
Psalm 66:17-19 (NLT)

Years ago, when my children were small, I learned a model for prayer that they and I have used ever since. It is especially timely during this season when it is common to hear the words, “O Come Let Us Adore Him.” But this model works all year ‘round helping us to keep our focus where it ought to be.

Using the acronym ACTS, we pray in the following order:
Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplications.

A = Adoration
When we start by telling God how much we love and adore Him, it immediately changes our heart from a “me” focus to a “Him” focus. To adore God is to appreciate God in our heart and mind and to tell him so with our lips.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2:20

C = Confession
Confession is simply telling God what He already knows about us. It clears the way for honest conversation with God. The Spirit reveals to us our thoughts, attitudes, words and actions that are contrary to God’s best for us. Then it is up to us to confess and repent.

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Prov. 28:13

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

T = Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is the key that opens the door to His presence. “Enter His gates with thanksgiving ....” Psalm 100:4 An attitude of gratitude enables us to recognize that God controls everything, not just the blessings, but the problems and difficulties too. Troubles becomes opportunities to exercise faith. Giving thanks is God’s will for us: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."1 Thess. 5:16-19

I will praise God's name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

S = Supplications

Supplications are prayer requests. Where Adoration, Confession and Thanksgiving have us focus upward, Supplication has us look inward at our needs and outward at the needs of others around us. It is partnering with God and asking Him to meet those needs.

Hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people when they pray... Hear from heaven, Your dwelling place, and when You hear, forgive. 1 Kings 8:30

May my supplication come before You; deliver me according to Your promise. Psalm 119:17

I’ve found that when I start praying with my list of demands and desires, I can totally miss the fellowship with God that really is what prayer is all about. But when I start with my focus on the Lord, it puts my desires in proper perspective. It calms my emotions, clears my thoughts, and strengthens my faith.

For me, at this time of year, it is especially important to follow this model of prayer. I can get so caught up in my to-do list that my supplications go on forever! But when I read the Christmas account in Scripture, I see that adoration was the first response to meeting the newborn King. May it be our first response as well.

Lord, I love You.
A-You are worthy to be praised. I am in awe of Your might and of Your compassion. You, who the universe cannot contain, chose to humbly dwell with me and in me.
C-I confess that I am both impatient and a procrastinator. How is that even possible? Please forgive me. Forgive my sharp tongue and my delayed obedience.
T-I thank You for all You have done and still do for me. I thank You for my wonderful family and for friends who are like family to me. I thank You for Your provision, for healing, for miracles.
S-I need You. Please reach my loved ones who don't know You. Give me the right words to share at the right time. Make me more like You, so that they will see You when they see me. Help me to accomplish what You want me to do, and only what YOU want me to do, not what I want to do.


1 comment:

Karen Lange said...

Love this acronym! Thanks so much for sharing it. I may have to bookmark this page:) Blessings to you, your family, and your readers!