Do you ever feel as if you are praying the same things over and over again? Or, do you find yourself at a loss for words only minutes into praying? Does your mind wander when you pray? These are extremely common problems which can readily be addressed by simply adopting a prayer model. I have found that praying an A.C.T.S. prayer is a great way to both focus my prayer and expand my prayer vocabulary. It is one of my favorite prayer disciplines. A.C.T.S. stands for:
What does it mean to adore someone? It means that you love them. You love who they are and what they do. When I adore God I use what I call the formula of praise. This formula is a recurring pattern I noticed in the Psalms. David adores God in three ways: First, he tells God that he loves Him. Second, he praises God for who God is. Third, he praises God for what God does. To learn more about the formula of praise and to see examples click here and read the post, The Formula of Praise.
When I extol the goodness of God through adoration I find myself humbled. I am reminded of my sins. So I move from adoration into confession. When you confess try to be specific about acknowledging what you have done wrong. Get beyond generic confessions such as, “I haven’t been as loving as I should be.” Be specific, “God I have been avoiding Janet because I am angry with her. Forgive me for pushing her to the side so that I don’t have to deal with my anger. It is sinful for me to not give her the grace I have received.” Being specific will help you change. Notice in the example that I actively acknowledged my action as sin and why it is wrong. That sort of processing your actions within your prayers will help you change, but you only get there by being specific. To learn more about confession click here and read the post, Eradicating Spiritual Virus.
I am not sure I need to say much about thanks because most of us readily know how to say thank you and what gratitude is. I do want to point out two things. First, my experience has been that having thanks in my prayer model forces me to consider what I am grateful for on the days I feel less than grateful. Paul told the Colossians, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:16) Second, I actively give thanks for the whole of creation. I don’t only focus on the people and circumstance of my life. I give thanks for the earth, the plants, the trees, the animals, the birds, the stars, the sun, and the moon and all of these amazing pieces of creation that God has intricately woven together to make life possible.
To supplicate simply means to ask. At this point in your prayer offer God the concerns of your heart. Pray for friends, family, community, situations and yourself. Pray for whatever concerns you. Take time to intercede for others. I used to think that intercession just meant praying for someone else in general. However, as I studied the scriptures about interceding, I noticed that intercession almost always means praying about someone’s spiritual well-being. You may want to adopt someone specific to pray for daily. I find that to be a very powerful prayer discipline.
Lastly, when trying a new prayer discipline like praying A.C.T.S. prayers, do it for several weeks before judging the merits of the practice. Your entire first week you may be just getting comfortable with the practice. I highly recommend living into a practice a minimum of three weeks. Research suggests that it takes as much as 18 days for something to become a habit or norm for us. Persevere for a season so that you can see the fruit.
Blessings from The Practical Disciple.
P.S. If you enjoyed this post and are serious about improving your prayer life immediately CLICK HERE.