Toward More Effective Prayer

Christians praying in Goma, DR of Congo.

Christians praying in Goma, DR of Congo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last month we began a series intended to help us develop our praying habits with an emphasis on the ACTS method of prayer in this article. Most Christians pray every day. Many of us pray several times each day, giving thanks to God before eating each meal,  before going to sleep, and whenever else we find the opportunity.

Some of us have our own special times when we approach God at length in prayer. Any time we talk to God in prayer is beneficial to us. It really is not complicated – prayer is simply talking to God. But most of us want to grow – to become better at praying, especially when we pray in public; and we do grow each time that we pray. The best way to improve one’s prayer life is to read and meditate on God’s word, and then pray – and do so often!

As we study and meditate on God’s word, we will often be inclined in our prayers to quote parts of a particular passage that has become familiar to us, and that is perfectly fine. Some of the most powerful prayers in the Bible use verbiage that is contained elsewhere in God’s word. Why would it not be acceptable in our own prayers? In fact, some of the most effective and encouraging prayers we’ve heard contained references to Scripture.

As we have stated, there is no one formula for prayer. But we most often begin with the “adoration” that the ACTS method refers to. And the beginning is a great place for us to start this year of learning to pray better. With adoration, we recognize the greatness of our Lord God, and acknowledge the depths of His power and glory. Consider David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:11-13:

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty,
for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours.
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.
Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all.
In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.
And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name

We will leave you to meditate on the following short prayer. If it sounds familiar, it is because the words are adapted from Psalm 19:1, 14; Acts 17:28, and James 1:17. A lot of scripture for a short prayer, but it does serve to illustrate how easy it is to adapt God’s word to our prayers in a meaningful way. With the exception of a bit of thanksgiving, it contains only the “ACTS” element of adoration, but it is a prayer nonetheless.

Oh Lord our God,
In whom we live and move and have our being;
The heavens declare your glory, and the sky above proclaims your handiwork.
We thank you for every good gift, and every perfect gift that comes from above,
Coming down from the Father of lights
With whom there is no variation and no shadow due to change.
In the name of your Son, Jesus, we pray.
Amen.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
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.  

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One comment on “Toward More Effective Prayer

  1. Pingback: Prayer | Gracitude

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