Prayer is how we communicate and worship God. Prayer can also be overwhelming for believers. Why? We get stuck in our heads thinking we have to sound a certain way or say certain things. Jesus gave the disciples a template for prayer in what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” (Matthew 6:5-15) This prayer has some specific elements that we will call ACTS of Prayer.
What are ACTS of Prayer
I’m glad you asked. The ACTS of prayer is a simple acronym created to remind us of the four elements of prayer.
A – Adoration
C – Confession
T – Thanksgiving
S – Supplication
Before we take a closer look at ACTS in prayer, let me remind you of some essential things. Prayer is a conversation between you and God. God knows who you are, so there is no need to be fancy with your words or speak formally. Just be yourself and talk to your Father.
Use scripture as you go through the four elements of prayer. Every parent likes to know their kids are listening to what they say, God is no different. When we speak scripture and use it in prayer – God knows we are listening to His words. Because you are speaking scripture, you are also building your faith while you pray because “faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
Acts in Prayer Adoration
How do you start a prayer with adoration? Jesus gives us the example in Matthew 6:9-10. Jesus acknowledges that in all things, God must be first. He says, “hallow be thy name.” The term “hallow,” according to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, means “to render sacred, to consecrate.” Consecration involves setting aside for a particular purpose. In short, the name of the Lord is holy, special and we must acknowledge that.
“Adoration is caring for God above all else.” According to Evelyn Underhill. Starting prayer by acknowledging that God is holy and above all else glorifies God and puts our hearts and minds in condition to communicate with Him.
Acts in Pray Confession
“Many of those who had become believers were coming, confessing, and disclosing their [former sinful] practices.” This passage from Acts 19:18 is after a series of miraculous events. Start at the beginning of Acts 19. You will see that Paul arrived in Ephesus and introduced the believers to the Holy Spirit’s baptism. They begin to prophesy and speak in tongues. Paul begins to work miracles that lay the foundation for the tradition of prayer clothes. The outpouring of the spirit convicted people to confess their sins for the purpose of redemption.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and continually to cleanse us from all unrighteous.” (1 John 1:9) Jesus died for our sins, and God no longer counts our sins against us.
When I sin sometimes, I’m the one that hides from God, just like Adam and Eve hid in the garden. Sin is a stumbling block in our faith walk instead of confessing to God we avoid Him when the word tells us to come boldly to the His throne of Grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in our time of need(Heb. 4:16). We need to know Jesus took our sins on the cross so we can be righteous and have a relationship with our Father.
Confessing Hidden Sins
It’s not just sin that causes us to stumble, we might be doing all the right things for the wrong reasons. Or I found myself being angry it just be because of pride. We can get hung up on a tradition or ritual.
There are even times we may not recognize sin in our life. That co-worker you stay angry at or how offended you get over a slight. Maybe it’s a bit unforgiveness in your heart from hubby forgetting today was the anniversary of your first date. Stumbling blocks can be subtle. The enemy doesn’t come at you with a pitchfork and horns – it would be easy to avoid him. The enemy comes at us with justified feelings that grow into sin. That is why we need to follow Solomon’s advice and catch those little foxes before they destroy the vine. So
For the things I know I’m doing wrong, I’ve found it best to just clear the air with God and move forward. And I keep track of the things that are making me angry or annoying me and ask God about them. The best way to do that is through confession in the ACTS of Prayer. Don’t take my word for it. Daniel was confessing his sin along with the sins of Israel when the angel Gabriel visited him. (Daniel 9:19,20) Daniel’s confession drew in the host of heaven; who knows what will happen when you add confession as part of your prayer. If you are unsure where to begin, ask God to search your heart, just as David did.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
Don’t hold anything back. Open your heart to God and let Him reveal the things holding you back in your walk with Him.
Acts in Prayer Thanksgiving
You may be asking what the difference is between adoration and thanksgiving? Adoration is recognizing who God is – His holiness and sovereignty. Thankfulness is our response to everything He has done for us. Think of it this way. Adoration kneels before the King while thankfulness is a child hugging Dad around the neck for the new puppy he brought home.
The Bible has much to say about thankfulness and prayer. Below are some of my favorites:
- “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6
- “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” Psalm 100.4
Why is thanksgiving in our acts of prayer so important? When we offer up thanksgiving to Our Father, it brings us closer to Him. Nothing makes God happier than when His children draw close to Him. Thankfulness makes God smile. Think about it, when someone shows you gratitude for your sacrifices, your love, and your kindness…doesn’t it make you smile. Remember, you are made in God’s image. What makes us smile makes our Father smiles, after all we are made in His image.
Enjoy thanksgiving in your ACTS of prayer. Keep a list of everything God has done for you in your Bible or on your phone. The act of thankfulness will deepen your faith. As you remember all the things you have to be thankful for, your faith is affirmed, and your confidence in prayer grows.
What is a Thanksgiving Offering in the Bible?
But remember, there is a difficult side to thanksgiving, as shown in the following verses.
- “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” 1Thess. 5:18.
- “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call upon the name of the LORD.” 1 Thes 116:17
The Bible is nudging us to be thankful in ALL things. First Thessalonians refers to it as the sacrifice of thanksgiving. When bad things happen, others tell us, “all things work together for good to them that love God.” It’s not easy to be thankful in adverse situations. Trials test our faith. James tells us that testing creates perseverance. (James 1:3) Sacrifice takes effort and is often something we do not want to do, at least not at the moment. Look for ways God is working behind the scenes to bless you in the trials and develop your perseverance.
Acts Prayer Supplication
What does supplication mean Biblically? Is the difference between prayer and supplication? The Latin definition of supplication is “to plead humbly.” In ACTS of prayer, this is where we make our requests known to God. Biblical supplication is making requests and interceding for others in prayer. It is still prayer, but the focus is more on what we plead with God about than about showing adoration or thanksgiving. That is why the ACTS of prayer are helpful. They allow us to accomplish all that we need when we approach God in prayer.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Eph 6:18.
You see prayer and supplication listed separately because the focus of each is different. Prayer honors God while supplication asks for help. When you supplicate to God, you give him your request. You are entrusting God to handle your need. Be anxious for nothing!!! You gave the issue to God with a spirit of thanksgiving. Let Him take things from here.
ACTS Prayer Guide
ACTS of Prayer strengthen your prayer life. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”. Do you see the ACTS of prayer in this scripture? Here is a simple reminder to take with you:
- Adoration – Go boldly before the throne, adoring our God and King for who He is
- Play some worship music, or sing
- Confess – Obtain mercy for our sins through confession
- Pour out your heart, say your sorry, ask God how to move forward.
- Thanksgiving – Remember the grace given to us. Express thanks for forgiveness of sin, redemption, provision, healing…if the Lord did it, thank Him for it.
- Supplication – Experience fresh grace by handing over your requests and needs to your loving heavenly Father. Write your requests down.
When praying the ACTS of Prayer, people often wonder, “What is the most perfect prayer of thanksgiving and praise to God?” Most of us think we must get the right combination of words in the proper order. Prayer is not about the words you use but the heart behind those words. The most perfect prayer is one that comes from a genuine heart. Take your time and enjoy talking to your Heavenly Father today!