Wednesday, 6 June 2012

ACTS...

One of the best ways I found to organise my prayers was to use the ACTS acrostic. I don't use it all the time and I don't always stick to it religiously - because our faith is much more than religious mumblings or sticking to one thing or another - but it is a good way to get started. let me explain the way I was taught it.

A - adoration - this is special as, with the Lord's Prayer, we start with God. We start by turning our attention, praise, worship and thoughts to our God and King. Its only fitting that everything we do should start with Him - after all WE start with Him!
'“Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honoured by every nation.
I will be honoured throughout the world.”
Psalm 46:10

C - confession - we need to remember that our God is a holy God and that we are sinners. The only reason we can come before Him and enter His presence is because of the amazing work of Christ on the cross. God cannot bear to look upon sin, and as we are sinners we need to make sure we keep short accounts with God. In 1 John 1:9 we read
"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just
to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness."

If we confess our sins regularly then its a lot easier to remember what we have done wrong, and its a lot easier for the Holy Spirit to be heard in your life. Think about it - you do something wrong on day one (like a chocolate binge... ahem!) and you don't bother to confess it because it's not that big. Then on day two you may have another one... and it doesn't annoy you quite as much... and so on until day seven you hardly even notice that you are eating chocolate at all, never mind eating 5 bars at once. We need to keep short accounts so that we can truly let God be head over all of our lives - and if you can't think of anything you've done wrong, then Psalm 139:23-24 has the words for you!
"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life."

T - thanksgiving - we need to give all the glory and thanks back to God for everything that goes right and in fact for anything that goes wrong too. As they say in 'Facing the Giants'  - we need to praise Him when we win and praise Him when we lose. Saying thank you can be hard sometimes - especially in today's culture of selfishness and self-centredness. So we need to make a special effort to make sure that we spend time thanking God for everything that He has done for us. Psalm 100:4 reads

"Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name."

Yesterday was a perfect example of that. My family and I were going on a trip to Tayto Park in Meath, just outside Dublin, today. It is a trip that has been planned for months and the boys were all very excited. The problem was the weather. I have taken a very bad allergic reaction to stepping outside my front door in the current spell of heat and sun, and within 5 minutes I am covered in hives and unable to breathe properly. I got up yesterday, dosed myself in an antihistamine and we set off. When we got there it was raining - and we ended up keeping our coats on the whole day long as it rained on and off throughout the 5 hours we spent at the park. BUT the damp kept my symptoms at bay and as everything was open and hardly any people had braved the rain, we got to do everything we had planned - and my boys being boys loved the rain and puddles as well!!  So while most families could very well have complained and grumbled about the weather on their way home, we were thankful that God gave us the perfect day to enable me to enjoy the park with the boys. We would have been thankful for getting to go anyway, but we were even more thankful that He gave us rain instead of heat!

S - supplication - this is where we bring our requests to God. I would always bring other people to God first - praying for others is such a joy and a privilege. We are told to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ and we're told to pray for those who don't know him yet. We will look at this a little better tomorrow when we look at the concept of having a '5 in focus' list. This is also the section where we bring our own requests before God. Philippians 4:19 says:

"And this same God who takes care of me
will supply all your needs from his glorious riches,
which have been given to us in Christ Jesus."

God really does supply all that we need - in His time and in His way. The wonderful thing about prayer is that we can be totally honest with Him and He will always answer us. Sometimes that answer will be yes. Sometimes it will be no. And sometimes it will be to just be still and wait. It can be confusing but the more time you spend quietly in prayer and fellowship with our Lord, the easier it becomes to hear His still small voice and to actually be able to discover His will for your life.


A couple of last wee tips that i have been told over the years.
  •  Pray Scripture back to God - He wrote it and as the powerful weapon that it is it is even more powerful when prayed back to God. Find a few key verses that relate to your problems or that relate to the character of God that you want to praise. Not only will you be praying Scripture back to Him, but you will be reading more, learning more and hiding more and more Scripture in your heart for the Holy Spirit to bring to mind just when you need it most!
  • Keep a prayer journal. Even if you hate the thought of keeping a diary, this can be a wonderful exercise. Simply write our your prayers with a date that you prayed them, and then every 6-8 months read the book back and mark off any prayers that have been answered. It is truly amazing when you look back and see how God has been faithful and answered your prayers throughout the year.
  • Pray with a friend. The prayers of 2-3 together in one accord are powerful and it can definitely help you to stay on focus when you pray with someone else.
  • Pray with a clear heart and pray without ceasing - don't give up when you think God isn't listening or isn't answering your prayers quick enough. Eg. sometimes people get discouraged when they are praying for healing for a loved one, and God takes that person home. But you have to remember that if they were a believer and God took them home, that is the ultimate in healing. Our prayers need to be unselfish - we can't pray for someone to be healed just so that we feel better because they are still with us, After all, if God took you home how much happier and more amazing would heaven be than here on earth? Don't want to get into a discussion on healing - just using it as an example of how sometimes God answers in a different way but it is still an answer and it is ultimately better for the person who gets to be in God's presence.


Hope you have gotten something useful out of this. It has definitely been a challenge to my prayer life writing it and I hope that it will help to bring us all into a deeper prayer life with God. Please do comment below if you have anything you want to add or say - I'd love to hear from you and it's a little more private here than on facebook!!

Tomorrow I want to challenge you when we meet the concept of '5 in focus' so until then remember to


1 comment:

  1. Have you every thought about becoming a SPEAKER at womens conferances?? these blogs are a real insperation and great help - maybe you could be the next womens speaker at your churches next ladies day.... something to think and pray about and i will be praying too.

    blessings x

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