Have you ever felt like you didn’t know how to pray? Have you ever struggled with what to say or what the purpose of prayer is? If you have, you’re not alone. For many prayer is this mystical thing, which can be intimidating and so, we have a tendency to turn it into a ritual or a rehearsed thing.
Pastor Evan has a simple and practical way that he was taught to pray. There is no “right way” to pray for some of us it’s helpful to have a guide as somewhere to start. Prayer is really about allowing God to shape our hearts and to be quiet enough to listen.
Pastor Evan shared his notes with us, so we can have a closer look to learn more about the practice of prayer. The acronym or method is called ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication). ACTS is about saying “this is who you are God, this is who I am, this is what I’m grateful for and these are some of the things I think I need.”
Check out the definition of each part below:
• Adoration: “Praise be to God”. This is to remind yourself how important God is. For example, the Lord’s prayer starts with “my father in heaven, hallowed be your name”.
• Confession: This is where you declare who you are. I was taught this is the place to confess my sins. Scripture tells us to do this, it also says He is faithful to forgive us when we do. It gives us the courage to forgive others and to ask others for forgiveness. This is really the most freeing part of prayer if you ask me.
• Thanksgiving: Express words of thanksgiving. Sharing your gratitude with God is important again not really for his sake, but for yours. It reminds us of His presence in everyday life and it teaches us gratitude. I often find myself thanking Him for His presence, His love, His compassion and His wisdom.
• Supplication: The scriptures do remind us to “make our requests known to God.” It is where I try and place my neighbours and my church. Where I ask for healing for you and for healthy relationships. I don’t however, say those things out loud for God’s sake, as if he needs updating, I say them out loud for my sake. Stating my needs and the needs of others is about acknowledging so many things are outside my control and I need God’s intervention in my life and in the lives of those around me.
All prayer is meant to shape us, to shift us towards a deeper understand of the heart of God for the world. It has been my experience that prayer pushes us into areas we would not ordinary go, or to listen to our neighbours differently with a generous dose of grace.
Give ACTS a try and see how God is shaping your heart and where He might be inviting you to go deeper.