Monday, April 11, 2011

Spirit Sunday - the act of prayer using the ACTS method

Prayer is something I have done my whole life, but the way I pray now has completely changed from when I was young.  And my prayer life is still an active work in progress.

When I was growing up, my family said grace before meals, and we prayed together in church on Sundays.  I did know you can pray any other time and I think everyone in my family did, just privately.  My prayers focused around the following -

*Apologies for what I did wrong, and asking for protection - like the time one of my neighbors heard me and my friend trying out curse words in the field behind her house.  I was petrified she was going to tell my parents, although she never did.  I didn't say the "F" word again for probably 10 years.

*Asking for something different than what I had - like, "God I want to be skinny like so-and-so and have long blond hair and live in her house."

*Asking for a sister.  This was a big one, and didn't stop until my mom gently told me that ain't happening.

*And on a serious note, praying that my dad's temper would calm.  I'll leave that there, because although I've cracked the lid open, I don't really want to open pandora's box, and I never want my thoughts on my dad misconstrued.

Anyway, it wasn't until college that I learned the ACTS system of praying.  The following is taken from -

  • 1
    ADORATION: Begin the prayer by adoring God. Praise and worship HIM. This is a time for telling God what He means to you and how much you love Him. This is not the same as Thanksgiving where you thank God for all He has done, but a time to tell God how magnificent/holy/glorious He is, to focus solely on Him, to tell Him all the wondrous beautiful things about Him you love. King David was a great worshipper of god and a man God Himself stated was after His own heart, read Psalms for great examples of adoration. (Psalm 8: O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth, who hast set Thy glory above the heavens! Heb 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-the fruit of lips that confess his name.)

  • 2
    CONFESSION: This is when we confess our all our sins to God. Unconfessed sin creates a barrier between you and God and can hinder your prayers. Begin by confessing your sin to Him with an apologetic and repentant heart (to repent is to stop and turn 180 degrees from). Ask God to bring to mind any sins you may not be aware of so that you may repent and confess. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness I John 1:8-9. Often times the feeling of a weight lifting will follow this step. Important: Nothing can separate you from the love of God. But we can separate ourselves from the love of God just as Adam and Eve ran and hid from the Presence of God after their sin in the Garden-Notice God called after them, He did not wait for them to come to Him

  • 3
    THANKSGIVING: This is where we count our blessings, thanking and praising God for all He has given us and done for us in life. You may begin with the basics such as family, friends, food, shelter, safety, jobshealth, healing. Thank Him for hearing your prayers and for forgiving your sins, for His all-consuming love for you. Thank Him for His promises, for the glory of His handiwork, for His promises to you (if you don't know them, start looking them up). Follow Paul's advice, Ephesians 5:20 thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • 4
    SUPPLICATION: This is also known as Intercession. This is the phase of prayer where we come to the Father asking God to supply needs for ourselves and others. Be specific in your prayers. For example, instead of asking for God to bless your family, ask Him to help your son focus in math class and to give his teacher the wisdom she needs to present the information in a way he can digest, etc. If you feel led to pray for a certain person but don't know exactly what that person needs, ask God to lead you in prayer. He will.

  • 5
    Remember, prayer is an act of communing with God. It is about communication. It is about relationship with the Father. Use these steps to help you obtain that but don't feel you must adhere to any rigid rules. Also don't forget that communication is a two way street, that means you have to listen as well. You may not hear at first but with practice you begin to feel God speaking to your heart.

  • Read more: How to Pray the A.C.T.S. Prayer |

    This is the method I am using to teach my children how to pray.  There is no right or wrong way, God loves hearing our prayers, whether in thought, written or spoken word, song.  But I feel like this method is easy to understand and helps you focus on the how of communicating with God in a way that is all-inclusive.  Does that make sense?  

    Like I said, it's a work in progress, my prayerlife with God.  Currently I am most concerned about the time I spend praying, which is not enough.  Also I am working on meditating more on specific Scripture verses during my prayer time, which I rarely do even though I love it.   Why don't I do more of what I love, when it always makes me feel "better" when I do it?

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