Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
By making daily Bible reading a part of our lives, we hear from God each day, and our lives are enriched. The other half of that communication occurs when we talk to Him in prayer. This year, we have committed to developing our prayer life so that we can pray more effective prayers that are pleasing to our Lord. To begin that effort this month, we have decided to dust off the old prayer box and pull out one of the oldest outlines for prayer method we know about – the ACTS method.
It is unknown where this originated, but it has been repeated countless times by innumerable evangelists. While it is true that there is no set of rules or structure for prayer that God wants us to use or has mandated, this method contains very good key elements to prayer that are easily remembered. No, we are not referring to the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. People love acronyms because when they are not too complex, they help us remember things. With that in mind, the elements of prayer represented by the ACTS method are adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.
The element of adoration is to recognize the greatness of our Creator and that He is worthy of our praise, our worship, and our love for His majesty, His holiness, and His omnipotence. By loving acknowledgement of His awesome power, His boundless goodness and loving care, and the majesty of all that He has created, we give Him the glory of which He is worthy, and we focus our minds and hearts in the right frame of mind for the rest of our prayer.
Through confession in our prayers, we acknowledge our weaknesses to God, admitting that we are in need of His forgiveness to keep our hearts pure. And as Christians, this helps us to stay focused on the reason that we even have the privilege of being able to obtain forgiveness in prayer. We have a “High Priest,” who gave His life so that we could have that forgiveness, and by whom we can approach our heavenly Father in prayer.
Thanksgiving is so integral and important to prayer that we cannot emphasize it enough. We must recognize the love and care that God has shown for us – and continuously does so in all that He does for us. God has given us so many material and spiritual blessings in this world that He has created – not because we deserve any of it, but because He loves us even though we are not worthy of that love.
By making supplication to God, we recognize our dependence on Him for all things. We give Him our petitions, acknowledging and addressing not only our own needs, but the needs of others as well – a key component of prayer. Expressing our love and concern for others to God in prayer builds our faith, and helps us to grow as His children, reflecting the love that His Son had for all people and which He charged us to have as well.
There are many ways to pray, and this method is not the only one that will work. Also, there is no prescribed order to these elements, nor are they all required in every prayer. But they can serve as a great frame of reference for planning our prayer. That planning – the preparation for prayer is an important aspect that we plan to focus more upon in our study of prayer this year.
We will more closely examine the first element in this method (adoration) next month, as we continue our study in prayer life.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.