Many people struggle with prayer. Some have trouble in finding the time or energy or quiet, others in finding the words or even knowing what to talk about at all.
I don’t always pray when I should, and I don’t always pray well, but prayer is important to me. Recently, my reconnection with coffee helped me come up with a pattern I’m finding helpful for praying (COFFEE: Call out to God, Open myself to Him, ask Forgiveness, commit to Following Him, give Him Everything, and commit to His purposes through Evangelism).
There’s another acronym that’s been used a pretty widely for learning to pray more effectively: ACTS. Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
Adoration is a time of acknowledging and glorifying God’s majesty. God is the unique, eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, holy, just, and loving creator of all that exists. When I think about how many molecules there must be in a single grain of sand, how many grains on a single beach, and how many beaches on this single planet… I remember that I need to become a lot more humble than I’m inclined to be (no matter how humble I ever become). “Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you – majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” – Exodus 15:11 (NIV)
Confession is familiar enough. Our sins separate us from God, for He is just and holy. We must remove them daily, like weeds that block the sun and choke out life from the garden. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
Thanksgiving follows confession quite naturally. Restoration of our relationship with God is worthy of celebration, but so are the many other ways He blesses us everyday. Taking time each day to thank Him for His gifts in our lives – our families and friends, our shelter and food, our jobs and communities, our health and safety and all those blessings and mercies we never realize God provides helps us remember to share and appreciate what we have. “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” – 1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV)
Supplication is probably the least familiar word in the acronym. It means to ask (or even beg) for something humbly and earnestly. To be humble is not to think less of ourselves but to think of ourselves less. In bringing our requests to God, we should remember that He is sovereign and all-knowing, and that His plans are always going to be better and wiser than our own. God always answers prayers, but sometimes the answer is “not yet” or even “I have something better planned.” Asking humbly helps us remember that God is not a vending machine. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” – James 4:10 (NIV)
Please keep us in prayer, and let us know how we can pray for you. “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:1 (NIV)
Please pray with us:
- that those whom God is calling to partner with our ministry (financially or otherwise) would hear Him clearly and respond faithfully.
- that we will be able to leave for Cape Town in early January.
- that those awaiting us there (as colleagues, neighbors, or clients) be blessed now and during our integration.
- that we and our kids continue to respond well to these transitions.
- that we wisely steward the time left here, completing our tasks and visiting friends and family.
- that God be glorified through our ministry, our attitudes, and our family.
As always, thank you for your prayers.