Do you struggle to pray? Sometimes I do, or I would say quite often we struggle to keep our focus on the Lord in prayer, and our mind wants to go somewhere else. This can be a frustration to many people and will cause them to lose hope regarding their spiritual life.
Some people need structure to cope, and others can go on anyway. There is no set formula, or nothing which is biblically right or wrong. The Bible speaks both about spontaneous, and structured prayer. The protocol on how to pray covers several ways of prayer. The primary focus of prayer is the intent. Does the prayer honor God and exalt His name? What is the purpose behind the prayer? Is it personal gain or ambition? Do you pray for others to be blessed and encouraged? Are your prayers done in secret and in humility? Are your prayers focused on obtaining godly wisdom, counsel, and direction? God is pleased with these prayers and answers them.How often are we to pray? The Bible says pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). What should we pray for? What if we do not know how to pray? The Bible says the Holy Spirit will help us pray (Romans 8:26-27).How do w e pray to God? Prayer is essentially putting your request, concern, or issue before the Lord, and trusting Him to answer them.Matthew 18:3 says we need to pray with the heart of little children, simple, reverent, specific, and trusting.
But there are some important ingredients that has to be included when we communicate with God, and what we are sharing with you is a common model of prayer which many people use to structure up their prayers in order to make it easier to focus. It has been known as the “A.C.T.S prayer”. It is basically a free and spontaneous prayer, but consisting of four steps: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Let this structure lead you into a more focused and powerful prayer life:
- ADORATION: Begin the prayer by adoring God. Praise and worship HIM. This is a time for telling God what He means to you and how much you love Him. This is not the same as Thanksgiving where you thank God for all He has done, but a time to tell God how magnificent/holy/glorious He is, to focus solely on Him, to tell Him all the wondrous beautiful things about Him you love. King David was a great worshipper of god and a man God Himself stated was after His own heart, read Psalms for great examples of adoration. (Psalm 8: O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth, who hast set Thy glory above the heavens! Heb 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-the fruit of lips that confess his name.)
CONFESSION: This is when we confess our all our sins to God. Unconfessed sin creates a barrier between you and God and can hinder your prayers. Begin by confessing your sin to Him with an apologetic and repentant heart (to repent is to stop and turn 180 degrees from). Ask God to bring to mind any sins you may not be aware of so that you may repent and confess. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness I John 1:8-9. Often times the feeling of a weight lifting will follow this step. Important: Nothing can separate you from the love of God. But we can separate ourselves from the love of God just as Adam and Eve ran and hid from the Presence of God after their sin in the Garden-Notice God called after them, He did not wait for them to come to Him
THANKSGIVING: This is where we count our blessings, thanking and praising God for all He has given us and done for us in life. You may begin with the basics such as family, friends, food, shelter, safety, jobs, health, healing. Thank Him for hearing your prayers and for forgiving your sins, for His all-consuming love for you. Thank Him for His promises, for the glory of His handiwork, for His promises to you (if you don’t know them, start looking them up). Follow Paul’s advice, Ephesians 5:20 ..giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
SUPPLICATION: This is also known as Intercession. This is the phase of prayer where we come to the Father asking God to supply needs for ourselves and others. Be specific in your prayers. For example, instead of asking for God to bless your family, ask Him to help your son focus in math class and to give his teacher the wisdom she needs to present the information in a way he can digest, etc. If you feel led to pray for a certain person but don’t know exactly what that person needs, ask God to lead you in prayer. He will.
Remember, prayer is an act of communing with God. It is about communication. It is about relationship with the Father. Use these steps to help you obtain that but don’t feel you must adhere to any rigid rules. Also don’t forget that communication is a two way street, that means you have to listen as well. You may not hear at first but with practice you begin to feel God speaking to your heart.