I have always been an advocate of “spiritual disciplines” and the “A.C.T.S.” acronym used for effectively prayer exercises. Personally, I believe if we want to find and live “life to the full”, practicing ‘spiritual disciples’ is essential. Also, since my vision for this year in regards to our local congregation at Blue Point Bible Church is that we will “Walk Worthy- Bearing Fruit”, providing a platform and clarity for effective prayer is vital
For Christmas I was given a braclet which I have found useful in bringing me through the ‘A.C.T.S.’ format. Similar to the Greek orthodox use of a Komboskini or a Catholic Rosary, this allows for a physical reminder to pray and a guide. There are 4 beads on the bracelet which I have allowed to represent each letter in the ACTS acroymn.
I want to take you through those details and prayefully provide you with some tools to begin effectively praying with confidence. Prayer warriors – rise up!
ADORATION – We could sum this up by defining ‘adoration’ as acknowledging God’s worthiness- what we might call “praise” or “worship”. My mind immediately goes to the “hallowed be Thy Name” part of the Our Father. Hallowed simply means to revere of declare holy (Greek term “hagios” means to set apart).
Let us set-apart the thoughts we have for God and lift up praise that He alone deserves.
Some Scriptures that would aid you in this regard are: 1 Chronicles 29:11-14; Revelation 4:11; and Revelation 5:13
CONFESSION – Here is where the ‘rubber meets the road’ and we all want to avoid it. The Apostle Paul is very clear in regards to the daily need of us to “examine ourselves” in 1 Corinthians chapter 14, as well as 2 Corinthians 13:5. Also, the “Proverbial wisdom” reminds us, “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion (Proverbs 28:13)”.
King David was a “man after God’s own heart” and we read his many confessions throughout the Scriptures, especially in Psalms – See, Psalm 32:5.
Some Scriptures that will aid you in this regard are: 1 John 1:9; Romans 3:23; Acts 17:30; James 5:16
THANKSGIVING – Expressing thanksgiving in vital to living a life that appreciates all that God has provided to us. Also, expressing gratefulness provides a platform for us to humble ourselves- after all we are called to have the same mind as Christ did when He humbled Himself (See, Philippians chapter 2). Once again, King David provides ample opportunity for us to see the ‘heart of God’ and understand a “thankful spirit”. In Psalms, King David remarks, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His loving-kindness is everlasting (Psalm 118:1)”.
If you cannot find things to be grateful for- you need to begin praying ADORATION & CONFESSION all over again. Surely the mercy, grace, and knowledge of God that has been provided gives us every reason to turn and praise God again and again.
Some Scriptures that will aid you in understanding “thanksgiving” offered to God would be: 1 Chronicles 16:34; Psalm 95:1-6; Psalm 145:7; John 16:33; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; James 4:10
SUPPLICATION – and now we get to the “popular” side of ‘praise and prayer’, our requests, pleas, desires, and petitions. The Scriptures reveal that we are supposed to ask. King David yet again serves as a great example, as you can read through the various times he pleaded and begged God to answer his prayers (See, Psalm 4:1; Psalm 5:8; Psalm 6:4; and Psalm 7:1).
Throughout Scripture God is seen as the ‘Father’ who loves to give his children what they need to find “life to the full’. We read about this in Matthew chapter 6 -7, “…how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him” (Matthew 7:11). Not only that, “…for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8)”. Simply put, we are told to ask our Father to provide us with our “daily bread” (ie, our daily needs).
There is so much to be said about how we ‘petition’ our Father, however I want to simply supply some foundations.
- You must ask (Joshua chapter 10; Matthew 7:7-11; John 16:23-24)
- You must ask in faith, believing you will receive (Hebrews 11:6 ; James 1:6; 1 John 5:14-15)
- You must have Godly motives (James 4:2-3; 1 John 3:21)
- You must seek God’s will (Matthew 26:39; John 14:13-14; James 4:15)
The Apostle Paul makes the point that as Christ-followers we are to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer an supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6)”.
It is my honest and sincere prayer that this blog will encourage you to take a more devoted look at “spiritual disciplines”. If I may share a sermon I preached on “spiritual disciplines” as well as a link that I stumbled upon and found rather encouraging this morning.
Link I stumbled upon – http://missionalmonks.com/tag/spiritual-disciplines/
In Service to Him,
Pastor Michael Miano