“The Infallible test of your spiritual integrity is your prayer life”
- John Owens
Prayer is possibly the most essential part of a Christian’s personal relationship with Christ, yet many of us struggle. Unbelief, busyness, lack of desire, and lack of know-how are barriers we all face in enjoying a full prayer life.
Below is a tool to help guide you into a more balanced prayer life so you can enjoy God and know Him better. Don’t be intimidated by the big words; they make up a simple acronym to help remind you of the different types of prayer. We encourage you to couple this tool with the scriptures every time you sit down and talk with your Father in Heaven.
The “A.C.T.S.” Method
Adoration | Confession | Thanksgiving | Supplication
Admiring and praising God for who He is
“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
The heavens declare the glory of God”
- Psalm 19:1-2
The Psalms do it best and often include some sort of powerful praise to God because of His character and nature.
When you adore God it’s an opportunity for you to learn or be reminded that you are talking to an unchanging, all powerful, perfectly loving, incredibly gracious, and completely righteous God who wants to listen to His children. Use the Psalms or other scriptures as a guide when you start to pray. Praise God for who He is. It’s a delight that you get to know and communicate with such a powerful God.
When you adore God, use the scriptures as inspiration.
Admitting to God that we have fallen short of His revealed will for our life in some way
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”
- 1 John 1:8-9
Confession is important because of the sin you've committed or the things you've left undone. Without confession, one can easily become autonomous, believing he or she does not need God, or become depressed, believing God is unable or unwilling to forgive their sin. Confession reminds you that although you fail as a Christian, God is willing to forgive you and desires to remove any barrier between you and Him.
When you confess, use the scriptures as a mirror to see areas of your life where you’ve fallen short.
Remembering the grace, mercy, and blessings that God has given you
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.”
- Psalm 118:1
The Psalms are full of thanksgiving. If we are breathing, God has given us a gift. God is a good Father, and when the world tries to tell us otherwise, this mode of prayer becomes even more essential. Look back into your past to see how God has been faithful. Look around you and thank Him for the people, church, and circumstances in your life.
When we're struggling to thank Him, the Cross shines the greatest. God has sacrificed His Son for you. This is something we should always well up with thanks for.
Requesting or begging God for something
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
- Matthew 7:7-8
Although this word is the least known, this method is probably the most familiar to you. God the Father is inclined to give His children good gifts. Although He does not always answer in the way we expect, Jesus gives multiple parables to emphasize His desire for Christians to ask repeatedly for things. Think about where your passions and desires align with God’s kingdom and will, and then ask God with boldness.
Use the promises you find in the scriptures as a guide for your supplication.