Cleansing Prayer

This year, we began a series intended to help us develop our praying habits with an emphasis on the ACTS method of prayer in this article. We continue to stress that there is no requirement for any set formula for prayer, but the method referred to by the acronym can be useful. The elements of prayer represented by the ACTS method are adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

National Day of Prayer

National Day of Prayer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, let’s take a quick look at confession. This is the hardest part of prayer for some people. Most people do not want to admit that they have been wrong. Most of us like to think that we pretty much have it “all together.” And after all, most of try pretty hard to do the right thing most of the time. Except when we don’t. The problem sometimes comes in recognizing and admitting those times when we have been off the mark.

But everyone has sin in their lives, and none are any worse – or better – than any others. It is true for the preacher, the elders of the church, and even for the sweet old lady who loves everyone and never misses a service. Paul said in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 1 John 1:8 says that “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

But because of the price Jesus paid for us, we have the grace of God, and can have His forgiveness for any sin in our lives. 1 John 1:9 says “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What an awesome gift we have been given by our Lord! There is nothing that God will not forgive us for simply be asking in prayer!

Finding the right words to confess to God is easy if we study the scriptures daily, and speak from the heart. Here is a short example of doing so by borrowing from David’s earnest prayer to God for his sins in Psalm 51:1,and 10. We will leave you with that.

Holy Father,
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
In your Son’s name I pray this humble prayer. 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.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Growing Daily By Prayer

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.

Jesus in Pray

Jesus in Pray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

/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.  

Enhanced by Zemanta