Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7, NASB
We know we should pray. We have examples of David and even Jesus spending time in prayer. And if Jesus did it, you know it must be important (Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12). Prayer at its heart is being present with God, while praising him, crying out to him, and coming to him on the behalf of ourselves and others.
We know what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6-7, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God…” (emp. mine).
Did you catch that? We don’t just need to present our requests, though that is one part of it. Instead, we also need to include thanksgiving. I find that thanking God helps me to remember, even on the hardest days, who he is, and that He is big and I am little.
One prayer method I’ve found helpful over the years is ACTS prayers. I learned it when I first began my own journey to abide in Jesus daily, and I still find it a helpful way to connect with him.
ACTS stands for:
A—Acknowledge God: Here you remember who God is—our father, creator, redeemer… Often I will take a recent verse from my Bible study like John 1:14 and pray it back to God to help me remember who he is.
C—Confess: Often in our rush to pray for all the things we need or want, we forget to confess our sins to God. This is saying, “God, I’ve screwed up. I know I’ve sinned against you in these ways. Please forgive me.”
T—Thanksgiving: This is where we remember where our blessings come from and thank God for them. Did you see a recent answer to prayer? Thank him. Did you wake up to a beautiful day? Thank him!
S—Supplication: This is a big word that means asking for what we need. It’s what we usually do in prayer. Here ask God for what you need. Pour out your heart to him. Bring the needs of others before him, too.
This way of praying helps me to keep the most important things first. It begins with worship and acknowledging who God is and then ends with my requests of him.
Right now, take a few minutes to pray an ACTS prayer. It may seem simple, but it is powerful!
Take out a sheet of paper and write A C T S on it, or just think through the different parts in your head. Spend sometime going through each part beginning with God and then ending with your requests. How does it change your perspective to begin with God and thanksgiving first?
Abiding with Kids
Kids can easily pray this way with you, but with a little rewording to make it easier to understand. Try saying and then having them repeat: God, I praise you because… God, please forgive me for… God, thank you for… God, please help.
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