What is Prayer?
Prayer is talking to God and God talking to you.
I like the bumper sticker that said: “If you don’t feel like praying, talk to God about it.”
There is no formula to prayer:
It is simply conversing with God. It is essentially talking with God as you would talk with an earthly parent who loves you and wants the best for you. God is your heavenly Father who loves you perfectly. However, how did Daniel get his “Extraordinary Spirit?”(Dan. 6:3) Was is because he had a habit of dropping to his knees, facing a destroyed Jerusalem, and praying to his God 3 times per day?
The A.C.T.S. prayer model will be helpful to you as you learn how to pray. ACTS stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
• Adoration means worship.
We encourage you to begin your time of prayer by adoring and praising God. Praise Him for who He is and for all that He has done for you. God delights in your praises!
I like the comparison of the distance between us, humans, and an ant. We think nothing of the ant. The gap between us and God is infinitely greater than the distance between us and the ant. Yet God loves us! I always wonder why? It must be because God is Love. (1 John 4:8)
Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Romans.8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
• Confession means agreeing with God about the things that you have done wrong.
It’s a time to express sorrow about what you have said, thought, or done that is not pleasing to Him. Ask God to reveal to you the sins in your life that you need to confess. Ask God to forgive you for these things, and then believe that He does so freely. When you confess your sins, you receive God’s cleansing and this helps to remove any barrier in your communication with Him.
1 John 1:9. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The greatest war we fight in our lives is the one we have with ourselves, our own sinful nature. By confessing our sins, agreeing with God, we are advancing in that war against the kingdom of darkness.
It is a good idea to ask God to replace sin with the opposite. So ask God to replace pure love instead of lust, joy instead of depression, and humility instead of pride.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
• Thanksgiving basically means being thankful to God.
Thank Him for His love, protection, and provision just to name a few things. How many times has He answered your prayers? Do you have a journal of answered prayers? If not, you should.
How many times has He protected you unawares? Has another driver slowed you down and you got upset. But maybe you avoided an accident because you were a little later?
Remember the Lord in all areas of your life; home, work, business, family, church, etc.
Psalms 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Matt. 7:7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
• Supplication is the final component:
And this means praying for your needs and for the needs of others, such as friends, family, your pastor, missionaries, government leaders, and persecuted Christians around the world; even the lost. You may want to pray for such things as God’s guidance, wisdom, and opportunities to serve Him
As you pray, ask the Lord to give you the desires of His heart. Base your prayers upon scripture. By praying the Word, we align our will with His, and remind the Lord of His promises.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
There is no rigid formula for prayer. Remember prayer is talking to God. When Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink, what did he say to Jesus? HELP! Keep in mind that the ACTS model serves as a guide to help you, not a rigid formula to follow. There is no “canned” approach that you need to take; just talk from your heart. There are additional steps that will help. Set aside a specific time to pray each day.
Pick a quiet place where you can be alone with God. You will also find a special blessing if you begin your time by reading the Bible. Select a passage to read (download a Bible reading plan) and spend some time thinking about it deeply. Reflect on what God is impressing on your heart to you through the passage.
Ask God to help you apply what you are learning. God wants you to share your heart with Him, and He wants to share His heart with you—this can take place anytime, day or night!