The ACTS of Prayer

Because I have been off work due a disability, I have had greater opportunities to pray. I pray for myself, of course, but for my family and friends, but even for people I have never met. I love to pray! And I now have a lot of time for two things: Prayer and Study. And I joyfully accept the opportunity to do both!

But the other day, I noticed for the first time,, that I have developed a “pattern” in my prayers. Now, don’t misunderstand me, this is not a “magic formula” for praying, like someone has made the “Prayer of Jabez“:

“Are you ready to reach for the extraordinary? To ask God for the abundant blessings He longs to give you? Discover how the remarkable prayer of a little-known Bible hero can release God’s favor, power and protection. You’ll see how one daily prayer can help you leave the past behind – and break through to the life you were meant to live”

Oh, give me a break! There is no magic in the prayer Jabez gave. Jabez’s story is told in only two verses in the entire Bible: I Chronicles 4:9-10. When you read his brief story, you will see that Jabez is certainly someone we can emulate. He valued God’s blessing, and Scripture commends him for that, saying that he is “more honorable than his brothers.” You can now think of Jabez as something more than just the answer to a difficult trivia question!

But, as I pointed out, he only receives two verses in the middle of one of one of those lengthy genealogical tables. It is certainly a pretty cool commentary that is worth hearing and is indeed a great example of prayer. But it is not a secret key that unlocks all the blessings our God has in store for us.

If you are going to treat Jabez’s prayer as a mantra that you can recite word for word, you are missing the whole intent of the passage. I agree with Dr. James Rosscup, who wrote, “A healthy prayer commitment according to God’s Word has more facets of variety than can be squeezed out of two verses in one Bible book.”

But as I was saying, I have a tremendous amount of time that I am able to spend in prayer. As a result of that, I recently discovered a pattern in my prayers. Now, I realize that as one writer declared, “Acronyms are the bane of a writer,” but I have found them to be helpful in remembering certain aspects of faith. For instance, in a previous message I gave the “ABC’s” for fulfillment in our relationships:

Accountability
Brokenness
Cleansing

See? That is the ABC’s of relationships! We must be Accountable to each other; we must be Broken before each other, and we must seek Cleansing in our lives and relationships.

I also told you about “TIS“! These are Satan’s only weapons that he can use against you: Thoughts. Ideas and Suggestions. Bring each of those into the confinement and submission of Scriptures, and you will see more victory in your life!

Well, today I want to show you the ACTS of prayer. As I was about to say before, this is not something I deliberately started doing; it is just a pattern I fell into: Adoration; Confession; Thanksgiving; Supplication: ACTS!

I have no idea where you are in your spiritual journey, but there are thousands of believers who attend church more often than not who fervently declare that they are Christians, but . . . well . . . they may know facts about our God, but they certainly don’t know Him. But they have probably never given a moment to consider “Adoring” Him. Even the thought of it smacks of fanaticism. The have such a fear of being a “Fool for Jesus!”

Even as “Christians,” they will still flail around, trying to make their lives come together through their self-efforts. Yes, it has proved to be futile, but they are never willing to step out of their pride to seek the Lord. They have no passion, and they seem content at being beaten down and defeated.

They certainly are not into “confession,” even if they have tried the “small-group” thing. Even the thought of sharing their weaknesses and struggles to somebody gives them the creeps. “Who knows — it might come back to bite you sometime.”

And that “Thanksgiving“? For all they know it is simply a day where you get to stuff yourself with turkey and pumpkin pie, and watch football all afternoon.

And “Supplication? What in the world is that? But they might be able to buy that one. It sounds like an old-fashioned word that is supposed to represent asking “Gawd” for things.

But for me, I have experienced too much to remain quiet and sedate. I continually find my Lord in every aspect of my life, and as such, when I pray, I begin my prayers with Adoration. Amazingly, once I begin to adore my Heavenly Father, I realize how small I really am, and I am lead to Confess my weaknesses.

But then, surprisingly, when I acknowledge how small I really am, He pours His Love and Grace into my heart. I cannot help but be grateful, so I offer my Thanksgiving. This whole process fills me with the confidence and the boldness, to present my requests, my “Supplications.”

Nickolas

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list. However, you can also find these messages at: Thought For The Day)

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