Prayer. The ACTS Method
Adoration – always begin your prayer focusing on who God is. Think about His character as you pray. One of the earliest prayers almost all of us has prayed is: God is great. God is good. An awesome God can be an awful God unless God is awesome in being like a loving parent who is ready to forgive, gracious and merciful and abounding in steadfast love.
Confession is the way we face the hard truth about who we are and where we are in our discipleship. We name all the stuff that gets in the way of a vibrant relationship with God. No pretending we are perfect. Calling a sin a sin. Charles and John Wesley and their study group were intensely methodical in self-examination. And it’s not easy! Charles kept a list that he asked himself everyday! One that got me was, “after every pleasure have I immediately given thanks?”
Confession is the recognition of our constant need of God’s forgiveness and grace.
Thanksgiving – our joyful response to the way God is at work for good in our lives and the world around us. Sometime instead of praying about your fears or what you want, try praying a prayer of just everything you are thankful for.
Supplication – another word for this is intercession. Not just making a shopping list. And that should be at the end of our prayer. This ACTS pattern turns things around; beginning with adoration, the awareness of who God is which brings us to confession in which we clear the decks of all the stuff that gets in the way of God’s spirit at work in our lives. Having experienced God’s forgiveness we respond with thanksgiving. Then and only then are we prepared to bring into God’s presence the real, messy, painful stuff of our lives and our world.”
That’s the kind of praying that has the power to change our hearts.