Without a carefully structured plan, we’re all likely to become imbalanced.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
What is necessary for you to establish a healthy pattern for prayer?
You’ve decided it’s high time to get into good physical shape, so you investigate a health club. When you walk in the door, you are greeted by a staff member who takes you from station to station, showing you state-of-the-art equipment. At the end of the orientation your guide asks, “Would you like us to set up a routine for you?”
Developing prayer fitness is like developing physical fitness – we need a pattern to avoid becoming imbalanced. That’s because we all tend to do what we enjoy and ignore the difficult or distasteful or untried. Without a routine, we will probably fall into the “Please God” trap.
Here is a balanced pattern for you to follow for prayer. All you have to remember is the word “ACTS”, an acrostic whose four letters stand for adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.
Adoration – entering holy space. In my opinion, it is absolutely essential to begin times of prayer with adoration or worship. With adoration, we worship God for who He is. Adoration sets the tone for the entire prayer. It reminds us of who we are addressing, whose presence we have entered, whose attention we have gained. Adoration purifies the one who is praying. Adoration is foreign to most Americans.
Confession – naming our faults. Confession is probably the most neglected area in person prayer today. It’s important to be specific when dealing with your sins. If you take confession seriously, your life will be radically different.
Thanksgiving – expressing gratitude. Some of us have not made a clear distinction. There is a difference between feeling grateful and expressing thanks. Parents, you know how it feels when one of your children spontaneously thanks you for something. Thank God every day for four kinds of blessings: answered prayers, spiritual blessings, relational blessings, and material blessings.
Supplication – asking for help. If you’ve adored God, confessed your sins, and thanked him for His blessings, then you’re ready to tell God what you need. Be specific. Write your prayer requests down. You may find it useful to break your requests down into categories such as personal, family, people, work, and ministry.
Thank You LORD for Bill Hybel’s teaching about having a healthy pattern of prayer. Help me apply the ACTS system of praying to my own life. May I “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Bless those read this to do likewise. Thank You Jesus. Amen.
Link of the Day
A Pattern for Prayer by Steve Zeisler
Blessings to establish a healthy pattern of prayer!
Joseph Peck, M.D.
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