Whilst many believers know prayer is essential to the Christian life, many still find it difficult to build a consistent prayer life.
When asked, “What is more important: prayer or reading the Bible? Charles Spurgeon replied, “What is more important: breathing in or breathing out?”. Prayer is as essential to a Christian life just as much as breathing is. In fact, in the Bible, we are told to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, 1give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Here is a simple way to pray which may help structure your prayer so it has a format you can follow
Hebrews 4:16 encourages us to “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need” (NASB). So, here is a way that you can confidently come before God’s throne to praise Him, repent, thank Him and request what it is you need.
What Is the ACTS Prayer Method?
This method of prayer serves as an outline or guide for prayer so you can organize your thoughts and requests. The acronym ACTS stands for adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. It’s a model of prayer that is more than a century old, as it was believed to first be published as part of a story series in the August 1883 periodical The Continent.
This model of prayer prioritizes our time with God so we first approach Him with reverence (adoration), then repent of the sin in our life (confession), then express our gratitude to Him for all He has done (thanksgiving), and finally submit to Him our requests (supplication).
A – Adoration of God
The letter A of the A.C.T.S acronym stands for the adoration of God. During this time of prayer focus directly on God. Adore Him for who He is and His attributes, His character. Worship and praise God with your whole heart and mind. Focus your heart and mind upon the full majesty of God and His glory. As you spend this necessary time adoring God it not only pleases Him but also has benefits for you!
“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. “
As you wait in God’s presence adoring Him, you are refreshed too and your faith muscle grows much stronger as you contemplate and remember how big and amazing our God is.
Prayer of adoration
So how do you adore God? You need a few prompts to raise up a sacrifice of praise in adoration of God Almighty. You will gain lots of inspiration for praising God from the words of hymns or worship songs, and of course, the Bible is full of adoration verses!
If I find it hard to settle my heart but long to adore God that if I sit quietly listening to a hymn or worship song suddenly my heart engages in the worship and instead of focusing on the things that I can’t control, I am in full adoration of the One who can bring the necessary change in my circumstances.
Here are some of my favorite adoration scriptures: Sit still in God’s presence contemplating just one of these Bible verses and wait and watch for the adoration of God to rise up in your heart.
- Psalm 8:1: O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
- 1 Chronicles 29:11-13: Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.12 Both riches and honour come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand, it is to make great and to give strength to all.13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
- Psalm 63:3-4: Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name, I will lift up my hands.
- Revelation 4:8: And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
- John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
- Ephesians 1:7: In Him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.
- Psalm 135:3: Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!
- Psalm 34:15: The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.
- Isaiah 55:8-9: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
- Psalm 89:8: O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you?
C – Confession
“When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality failed as with the dry heat of summer. Selah
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And I did not hide my guilt;
I said, “I will confess my wrongdoings to the Lord”;
And You forgave the guilt of my sin (NASB).”
Yes, God already knows about our sins, but by confessing them, we are admitting to and acknowledging that our sin is offensive to God and agreeing with Him that we need His Son, Jesus, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. First John 1:9 tells us “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
T – Thanksgiving
Scripture is very clear on our command to be grateful, and not just for what God has given us. First Thessalonians 5:18 instructs: “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” Notice the verse doesn’t say “In good things give thanks” or “in the pleasantries of life, give thanks.” Rather, it commands us to be thankful in everything – the good, the bad, and the ugly. As you do this, you are living out “the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” as the verse states.
Practice gratitude to God in everything, by thanking Him for the difficulties you are facing on any given day, for the things He has withheld for your own good, for the refining work He is doing in your soul, for the trials that are moulding you into the image of Christ, and for the way He can redeem all things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
I have found that when I begin to thank God for everything, not just the good things, it completely changes my perspective and makes me far more of a grateful person. Thanking God in everything gets the focus off of us and what we’ve been given and puts the focus back on God, the ultimate Giver.
S – Supplication
Lastly, lift up your cares and concerns to God. Pray for the people in your life, for those who are suffering, for the needs of all people throughout the world. Ask God to show you who to pray for today.
The biblical definition of supplication is a form of reverential prayer to God. It is a prayer of humility while seeking God with boldness. It is a time of prayer where you lay your requests before God about your own personal situation and also for others. This type of prayer is also known as intercession.
Praying scripture during your time of supplication is such a powerful way to pray. The Bible is full of scripture that you can use for various purposes.
A powerful way to pray scripture over someone is to insert their name into a verse. When you do this you are praying God’s words back to Him and you are also praying God’s will for that person. This discipline will strengthen your faith and instil hope in your heart.
When you pray scripture, you can be sure you are praying the will of God because you are praying His very words back to Him!
The ACTS prayer ensures that you are praising God for who He is, confessing sin in your heart that could otherwise hinder your prayers, and thanking Him for all He is doing in your life before asking Him for all that you want and need. And for those on the other side of the spectrum who hesitate to come before God and ask Him for anything, this prayer can help them gain confidence that there is a proper place and time to do that in prayer.