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Prayer

If you are like me there are times when your prayer life feels dry and lifeless. It may feel like praying as you have been is fruitless, or any motivation to pray has disappeared. This is a normal part of the spiritual life and is in no way a poor reflection on your own faith. So when you experience this don’t beat yourself up over it. When it happens there are all sorts of prayer practices and methods that different pastors and spiritual teachers have suggested over the centuries that might help your prayer practice find new life. A simple formula is, in my experience, sometimes the best and I’d like to offer you one that gives both freedom and structure to one’s prayers.


The origin of the ACTS Prayer is unknown to me, but each of its elements are ancient and scriptural. They are:


Adoration

Confession

Thanksgiving

Supplication


These four steps cover the bases of prayer. If you pay attention each element is found at some point, spoken or sung in each of our Sunday worship services, so if you’re struggling with what one particular element might look like in your personal or family prayer Sunday worship can be a good reference point for you.


The first part is Adoration. Adoration is where we praise God for who God is (Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, etc) and what God has done for us and all creation. We start with adoration because everything we do is a response to God who has acted first, both in creating us and in saving us by grace through Jesus Christ. Our prayer is ever and always a response to what God has done and is doing.


The second part is Confession. Confession is where we admit the ways that we have fallen short of who God created us to be. We confess our sins, both in worship on Sundays and in our private prayers throughout the week, recognizing the harms we’ve caused and the relationships that are broken and in need of healing. Our confession should be both individual and communal, as sin is both personal and systemic. Most importantly, we make our confession in the knowledge of God’s free gift of grace.


The third part is Thanksgiving. In Thanksgiving we recognize that ultimately every good thing, every joy in our life, comes from God, who is the source of our life and all of creation. In giving thanks we examine our lives and name all that is good in them, however large or small.


The final part is Supplication. Supplication, like all the others, leans on God as the source and summit of all that is, the one who knows all and is working for good in the midst of all things. In Supplication we lift up the needs of others, the world, and ourselves to God, entrusting these people and situations into God’s loving care. Supplication is both a way to acknowledge our trust in God and to advocate to God on behalf of others and ourselves.


These four parts sum up Christian prayer and provide a flexible framework for our prayer life. I hope that the ACTS Prayer is of benefit to you, regardless of how dry or refreshing your prayer life might be at this moment.


May God, who is gracious and loving, provide for all you need in this moment; caring for you, growing you, and challenging you to a deeper and broader faith.


Blessings,

Pastor Brian



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