What is Prayer?
I once had a student ask me, “what is prayer?” The question caught me off guard. Would it catch you off guard? How would you have answered that in the moment? Well, I replied back to my student that prayer is a conversation between God and me. I can talk about my day, ask questions, make requests and also just sit in silence, and even listen if I feel the Spirit moving within a specific way.
My favorite way to pray however, is by praying the ACTS prayer. ACTS is an acronym for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
Adoration - Start the prayer off with giving thanks to God for who He is. Before this, I will usually put on a worship song, close my eyes, and breathe deeply in and exhale out as I calm my spirit and soul for the three or four minute worship song. Then I will begin to thank God and name characteristics I am thankful for. Even read through a Psalm or two for inspiration, they are all about adoration.
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”- Psalm 121:1-2
“Thank you Lord for your sovereignty. Thank you for the way you met me today. Thank you for knowing what’s best for me and always providing for me. Thank you for being healer and listening to my every petition.”
Confession - Be honest with God and confess any sins or things that have been heavy on your heart.
“I confess my sin of negativity and gossip. I am sorry for how frustrated I got with my children or my coworkers or my spouse. Lord, heal my brokeness and sin of XYZ. I confess that I am a sinful person, in need of repentance, forgiveness, and a Savior.”
Thanksgiving - Verbalize what you are grateful for in your life and surrounding you.
“Thank you Lord, for the rain. I praise you for my friendships and my family. Thank you for my job and love. Thank you for my community and the way you show up and support me.”
Supplication - Make your request known to God.
“Lord, I pray for those who do not know you. I pray for my job, my family, my spouse, my finances. I pray for healing of XYZ, etc”.
So, if you ever struggle with what to say in prayer, “ACTS” it out.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6, emphasis added).