“When you pray…” (Matthew 6:5a NLT)
Prayer can be a conflicting process for believers. Often our attitude towards prayer and praying is somewhere between obligation and responsibility. Rarely is it seen as the privilege and honor that it is. Praying can be accompanied by guilt, because we’re not sure what to say or even why we need to say it, or shame, because we just don’t see the need for prayer.
These same attitudes and feelings can also be experienced related to reading and studying the Bible, but that’s another Post.
When I was in high school, I met a girl. Now, mind you, I’m bordering on ancient, so when I tell you the only means of communicating remotely back then was a landline phone, some of you may gasp and say, “What is that?” Fortunately, our phone had a long cord, so I could lay on the floor of our bathroom and close the door so we could speak in private. We would talk for hours or until our parents said, “ENOUGH!” What did we talk about? Anything and everything. WHAT wasn’t the issue. WITH WHOM was the crux of the matter. It’s similar when we consider this whole issue of prayer.
Today, I’m going to give you a simple guide that can help you with the WHAT of prayer, but it will be useless unless and until you begin to understand the WITH WHOM. I loved to have long conversations with my girlfriend because I loved her (as much as I could understand love as a teen 😊). And today, after walking with Jesus for a very long time, I know with whom I’m speaking and my love for Him is growing nearly by the second. The more closely you walk with the Lord, the more your heart will beat with longing to speak with Him often – about EVERYTHING!
The acrostic I’ll be sharing today originated with the late Dr. R. C. Sproul and is available for you to check out more thoroughly at: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/simple-acrostic-prayer It spells the word ACTS. Note that the order of the letters is important.
- A – ADORATION. As with the Lord’s prayer, it’s important to begin your prayer time by acknowledging with whom you’re speaking. God isn’t the “man upstairs,” He’s the Master Designer, Creator, Sustainer of all that is, both seen and unseen. He deserves our reverence, respect, and time. But more to the point, He’s our Heavenly Father who loves us and longs to spend time with us, not for His sake, but for ours.
- C – CONFESSION. Confession literally means “to agree with God’s estimation of something.” What does that mean? It essentially means, if God’s Word says something is wrong, it’s not subject to debate. Confession is to acknowledge that you’ve sinned and, ask the Lord’s forgiveness. Sin, at its root, is not doing something God clearly says to do (i.e. love Him and others, etc.), or doing something He clearly says not to do (stealing, adultery, gossiping, etc.)
- T – THANKSGIVING. Regardless of the season of life you are experiencing, there is ALWAYS something for which to be thankful. Remember, God is not concerned with our use of proper grammar or correct sentence structure, He’s interested in us getting to know Him better and sharing what’s on our heart. (i.e. “Father, thank you that even though I’m out of work right now, I’m grateful, that You may not always provide my wants, but you will provide all of my needs as long as I’m seeking to put you first in my life.” See Matthew 6:33).
- S – SUPPLICATION. Think of this as sharing your needs, desires, and concerns. Philippians 4:6-7 says: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (NLT)
I’m sure this acrostic won’t answer all your questions, it may actually create more than it answers. It is simply a guide to help you as you’re learning to pray more effectively. A couple of things I have found helpful is to create and use a list of your requests/needs and record answers as they come. If you have specific questions or concerns regarding prayer, you can contact me at email@example.com
Blessings, Ed 😊