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A Pattern for Prayer - ACTS

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them they should always pray and not give up.

(Luke 18:1)

Photo credit, Light Stock, Neely Wang

Some time ago, I participated in a bible study using the book Too Busy Not To Pray by Bill Hybels. One of the things I took from it was a prayer pattern that can be used when you try to pray. This consistent prayer pattern can keep us from just praying to God when we need something. I thought I would share it as we all sometimes have trouble figuring out what to say when we pray. ACTS stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.

Adoration sets the tone for the entire prayer. It reminds us of whom we are addressing, whose presence we have entered and whose attention we have gained. We can say a psalm of praise such Mary's song (Luke 1:46-55), Zechariah's song (Luke 1:68-7), or even sing a song that we choose. We can praise God for being faithful, righteous, just, merciful, gracious, willing to provide, attentive, and unchanging.

Confession allows your conscience to be cleansed. We should try to be specific rather than general. That way we can be honest with God. We will get relief that God has a forgiving nature just like Psalm 103:12 promises: "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

Thanksgiving in our prayers are important because we often feel gratitude, but we do not always take time to express it. Four blessings we can thank God for are answered prayers, spiritual blessings, relational blessings, and material blessings.

Supplications are requests that you make of God. Nothing is too big for God to handle or too small for him to be interested in. It may help to break requests into categories such as ministry, people, family life, and personal needs. Under ministry, we can pray for St. Thomas's church staff, our church services, and other various ministries. Under people, we can pray for people in leadership positions and people struggle with mental and physical diseases. Under family, we can pray for our marriages, children, parents, and siblings. Under personal, we can pray about our character.

I encourage all of us to try to write down our own prayer today using ACTS and then pray it.

About Melissa Hall

Melissa has attended St. Thomas since 2017. Her husband, Nathan, is the communications committee lead. They have a 5-year-old daughter named Everly. Outside of church, she is a software developer and she likes to walk/jog

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