The well-known prayer formula I’m speaking of begins with the acronym ACTS. ACTS stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. In the next few paragraphs, I’ll share a few more details concerning exactly what is meant by each word. I’ll also share a little scripture to back up this formula. It’s a simple formula that my wife taught my sons. So, let’s get started with Jesus providing what many refer to as the “model prayer.”
Luke 11:1-4, Jesus and the Prayer Formula
And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say,
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”
This Well-known Prayer Formula Starts with Adoration
Adoration is giving praise to God. Jesus acknowledged in His prayer that our heavenly Father is the ruler of heaven and that his name is hallowed or holy. Jesus also shared, that in everything he wanted God the Father’s will to be done on earth and in heaven. We are to first always praise God for everything that He is and everything He is to us. He alone is worthy of all praise and adoration so praising Him should be the first thing on our prayer agenda.
Next is Confession During Our Well-known Prayer Formula
Jesus was sinless but His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. So, he provided, “forgive us our sins;” and continued that we should also forgive others that have sinned against us. We should confess our sins daily and, if possible, name each sin as we pray. A blanket statement is also completely acceptable because Jesus is our intercessor and our prayer and the thoughts and desires of our hearts are translated through Him to God.
Next is Thanksgiving God During Our Well-known Prayer Formula
In Jesus’ prayer, we see a very subtle illustration of thanksgiving. He said, “for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. If we are truly thankful for what Jesus did for us on the cross of Calvary, we will also want to pass that grace He provided us down to others that have sinned against us. We are called to extend them grace. We should also express our thanksgiving for all the other gifts God provides us daily. Including helping us through temptation and protecting us from evil. So, we always have something to be thankful for even on our worst day.
Finally, Our Well-known Prayer Formula Ends in Supplication
We are to pray for others. Hence, we are to petition God to minister to the people we know are hurting physically, emotionally and also spiritually. We are to ask God to help those in need. Health those that are sick. Save those that are not saved before it is eternally too late. Pray for those on your prayer list or lists. Be as specific as possible without being a busybody or gossip. Be discrete and thoughtful when praying aloud.
This ACTS prayer formula works very well for those that are just starting a prayer life. For instance, new Christians or backslidden Christians that are rededicating their lives to Christ. This also works great when teaching your children. The formula is just a template though. Prayer from your heart should also be fluid and easy as you talk to God. He’s your best Friend, your Savior, and your Lord. If you have a great relationship with Him, praying or speaking to Him should become easier and easier as you pray. The order of the prayer is less important than the content. Just talk to God.