ACTS Prayer


This model of prayer incorporates the four components seen in the prayer that Jesus taught to His disciples (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4). To aid in remembering the model, it was given the acronym ACTS, the letters representing the components: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.

Adoration

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, and bless his name. 
—Psalm 100:4

We should praise God for several reasons. First, God is worthy of our praise. Second, praise sets the proper tone for our prayer. Third, praise reminds us of who God is and His inclination toward us. And fourth, praise purges us of other concerns and softens our hearts for prayer.

Many Scripture passages in the Bible remind us of the importance of praise. For example, we are called to praise God, in recognition of what God has done for us (1 John 3:1; 1 Peter 2:9-10; 1 John 5:14). Through our praise we show our respect and fear—reverential awe—for God (Psalm 34:11). By our praise we focus the attention of others onto God (Psalm 45:17). Our praise brings us closer to God (Psalm 45:18). We praise because of God's lovingkindness and faithfulness are endless (Psalm 36:5). Even the lonely and destitute are to praise (1 Timothy 5:5). It is important that we cease our daily busyness and exalt God (Psalm 46:10). Waiting on God lifts us up and renews us (Psalm 40:1-3; Psalm 90:13-17; Isaiah 40:27-31). We are to continually offer praise to God (Hebrews 13:15).

To help us in our times of praise we may play recorded music, such as favorite hymns or praise and worship songs. We may also read Scripture passages to God, whether silently or aloud, as part of our time of adoration. Here are just some of the possible Scripture passages we might employ: Psalms 8, 19, 23, 46, 95, 98, 84, 100, 103, 145, 148, 150; Isaiah 40; Matthew 22:32-33; Luke 1:46-55, 67-79; Revelation 4:8; 5:12-14, 9-10.

Confession

This is the message which we have heard from him and announce to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and don’t tell the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we haven’t sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
—1 John 1:5-10

Simply put, sin separates us from God. Before we accept that Jesus Christ, God's Son, died in our place, the barrier is an eternal one. Once we are following Christ, any unconfessed sin prevents a deeper relationship with God and hinders our prayers. These Scripture passages (Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:1-2; Proverbs 28:13) tell us that our relationship with God is impaired by the presence of sin.

When we pray, we should spend time confessing and repenting of (turning away from) specific sins and accept God's forgiveness and cleansing. God knows our sins before we confess them. But our confession demonstrates that we are aware of them and that we desire to remove those barriers to our relationship with Him.

Our confession does not have to be elaborate, but truthful and to the point. We should ask God to search our heart and show us the areas that displease Him (Psalm 139:23-24). We should then repent of those sins, ask God to forgive us and allow God to cleanse us (Psalm 51:10-13).

Thanksgiving

Praise the LORD, my soul! All that is within me, praise his holy name! Praise the LORD, my soul, and don’t forget all his benefits, who forgives all your sins, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your desire with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
—Psalm 103:1-5

In verses 1 and 2 the Hebrew word used is transliterated barak, meaning to kneel or to bless. In the case of our conferring of blessing on God, it means to praise or glorify God. Verse 2 tells us to remember the things that God does for us. The Hebrew word here is gemul, meaning a dealing, a recompense, or a reward.

Scripture tells us that we should always remember what God has done for us and that we should thank God each time we enter into His presence (Psalm 100:4-6; Psalm 103:1-5; Psalm 107:15; Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 4:6-7; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:18).

But what has God done for us? In short, He has done everything. God created the Universe, containing all that we know or can know. God loves us in spite of our sin and forgave us through the death of His Son, Jesus. God gives us family, friends, food, shelter, safety, jobs, health, and healing. God leads us, sustains us and disciplines us. God opens doors of opportunity and closes them, both done in love. God permits us to serve Him and He is faithful to us. Considering all that God has done for us, how can we not thank Him?

Supplication

“I will bring these to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” 
—Isaiah 56:7

The passage in Isaiah 56:3-8 is foretelling of a time, during the Messiah's millennial reign on earth, when God will be openly worshipped by believers from all nations. All will offer to God continual thanksgiving, worship and praise, described here simply as "prayer" (the Hebrew tephillah). These will be the "sacrifice" (the Hebrew zebach) and the "burnt offering" (the Hebrew olah). These will be placed on God's "altar" (the Hebrew mizbeach).

No longer literal sacrifice, but spiritual sacrifice will be offered that is genuine and sincere (Psalm 141:2; 51:17; Malachi 1:11). Jesus quoted from this passage of Isaiah as He cleared the temple of merchants and money changers (Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46). While Jesus knew what people were like inside (John 3:24-25), He was probably struck to witness in person just how far they were from God's ideal of sincere worship.

Thanks to the love of God, the only things that separate all of us from the Creator of the Universe are our willful sin and our unbelief. Our thanksgiving, our praise and our worship are the very least that we can give in return. Isn't it amazing that these are the very things that God requires of us?

The English word "pray" is a verb that means to implore, to beseech, to ask. And while there is more to prayer than asking, it is the asking that most people associate with prayer. In the process of asking, also called supplication, we humbly request that God supply the needs of ourselves and of others. Because we ask God to step into situations and change them, this kind of prayer is also known as intercessory prayer or intercession. But what should we ask?

We should pray for sustenance (Matthew 6:11). And we should pray for wisdom (James 1:5). We should ask others to pray for us (1 Samuel 13:19; Ephesians 6:19-20) and we can and should pray for others (1 Samuel 13:23; Hebrews 10:19-25). We should pray for those in authority over us, for their sakes and for ours (1 Timothy 2:1-4). And we should pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44). We should pray for the salvation of others (Matthew 6:10; Matthew 9:38; Revelation 1:4-6). And we should pray for those who minister to others (Acts 12:5; Colossians 4:3-4; Romans 10:1). We should be specific in our asking (Matthew 21:22). And we should not give up when God does not answer our prayers immediately (Luke 11:5-10; Luke 18:1-8). In short, we should pray all the time and for everything (Colossians 4:2; Philippians 4:6).

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