The ACTS acronym for how to pray can help you not feel lost in what to say.
When it comes to prayer, it can be hard to know where to start, or what to pray for.
Many people have used the traditional acronym ACTS as a way to help them grow in their prayer life.
An acronym, or prayer method like ACTS is not meant to limit our prayers, but rather serves as a guide and helps us to grow even further in our prayer lives as we put it into practice.
Acronym For How To Pray: ACTS
You may be wondering what exactly ACTS stands for? It stands for adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. It’s a good way to learn if you’re asking to “teach me how to pray“.
It is a way to structure your prayers because it is simple to memorize the acronym.
The purpose of this prayer method is to help you to cover important areas of prayer, and to remain focused on God.
The ACTS prayer model is more than a century old. It is believed to have first appeared in the August 1883 periodical The Content.
It teaches us how to approach God with honor and reverence, which is what adoration stands for.
It calls us to repent of our daily sins, through confession.
It reminds us to show gratitude for who He is and what He has done in our lives, through thanksgiving.
And lastly, it encourages us to bring our needs and requests before Him, through supplication.
The ACTS Prayer Method
There is a specific order to the prayer method too. Notice how it begins with adoration and ends with supplication?
It is meant to help us remember when we approach God that He is more than someone we make requests to.
But He is truly worthy of our praise, adoration and wonder. Yet, at the same time He cares for our needs, and encourages us to ask.
You won’t find the acronym explicitly in scripture, but you can see that each element is rooted in what the Bible instructs us to do.
Let’s break it up together with a reference from scripture, a short explanation of the element and an example of what that may look like in prayer.
1 Chronicles 29:11-14
“Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.
Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all
Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.
But who am I, and who are my people,
that we should be able to give as generously as this?
Everything comes from you,
and we have given you only what comes from your hand.“
If you’re wondering how to start a prayer, adoration would be the first step.
Have you ever felt a deep adoration for someone or something? Adoration is a deep love and respect for someone.
It is often defined as fondness, reverence or praise. When we adore God, we are looking to Him and seeing not only what He has done but who He is.
We see His wisdom, strength, grace, power, love, and righteousness, and the only logical response is to say
“Wow, God, You are amazing!” When our hearts truly behold Christ, we cannot help but give Him praise.
This is what it means to start your prayer with adoration. It is to take a moment and remember who You are speaking to.
You get to speak to the Lord of all the universe, and you get to call Him Father. How mind-blowing is that?
Sometimes we can get so used to the realities of our faith that we forget that it is not something that we either deserve or should take for granted.
It is an absolute grace and gift from God that we get to speak to Him any time of the day, about anything.
It is even more amazing that He cares for us, and even the smallest details of our lives.
When we start our prayer time with adoration, we recognize who God is, and we take a moment to lift Him up in praise, fixing our eyes on who He is.
“Lord, I am amazed that I get to have a relationship with You. You, who made all the world, and everything in it, think and care for me.
May every part of my life be for Your glory. You are matchless in Your might, and Your wisdom stretches for beyond what we can ever comprehend. I praise Your name, Lord.”
1 John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
When we come to faith in Christ, Jesus forgives us of all our sins. But this doesn’t mean that we cease to sin.
That is where sanctification comes into the life of the Christian. When Jesus saves us He gives us a new heart.
This heart is able to respond to the gospel and to the word of God.
As we make our journey through life we will sin, but through Christ, we can confess our sin, and turn away from it.
Confession is asking God for forgiveness over your sin, and asking Him to help you resist or overcome it.
The process of sanctification means that as you repent of your sin, and turn to God, He begins to change your heart and desires.
Rarely is it an instant process, but one that humbles our hearts before God, and stirs in us a contrite spirit.
Our indulgence in sin becomes sorrow over our sin.
We don’t have to run from God in shame when we sin, but we can in humility come before Him,
asking that He forgive us of our sin, and 1 John 1:9 says that He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
“Father, I am so grateful for Your grace that calls sinners to repentance. Today I have had moments where I turned from You, and allowed my flesh to lead me. Please forgive me for the words I said, and the things I did that dishonored You, and hurt others today. Help me to lean on Your word for guidance and listen to Your Holy Spirit and not my flesh.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
It’s not always easy to have thankfulness at the forefront of our minds. It’s often easier to complain, than to count our blessings.
But God’s word not only tells us not to complain, which is something most of us can include in our confession, but His word also tells us to be thankful.
A thankful heart has an entirely different perspective on life in general.
When we are going through a tough situation especially, it can be difficult to see any good.
When we remember to be thankful, we often realize there are in fact many things that we can thank God for.
I love how this verse doesn’t say that we should give thanks when life is going well, or things are turning out how we wanted them to.
Instead, it says to give thanks in all circumstances. Whether you have much or you are in need.
No matter what you find yourself in, there is something You can thank God for. Thanksgiving is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.
And if you are having a particularly hard day, and cannot think of anything to give thanks for, you can start by thanking God for Jesus.
Check out these Thanksgiving prayer points for more ideas.
“Lord, thank You for sending Jesus. Jesus, thank You that You came. Thank You that You rescued me from the dark pit of sin that I was in.
I am so thankful for the way that You have carried me through the hardest times of my life. Thank You for a new day.
Thank You for the trees, and the sunshine, and the birds outside. Thank You God for everything.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Let’s be honest. It is hard to be anxious for nothing.
When we look at the news or the media, and we see where the world is headed, it can be tough not to feel anxious.
When we are wondering how we’re going to make ends meet, or when we are awaiting test results.
Our natural inclination is to feel anxious. But God tells us not to be anxious, instead, pray.
When you feel the nerve rising, pray about it. Ask for God’s peace, guidance and providence.
He cares for You. He wants to hear what’s on your heart, and He welcomes you to unload all
your burdens before Him. Supplication is to ask God for the things that you or others need.
These can be specific requests. Whether that is for a job, friendships, health, marriage, or conception.
You can ask Him to change your heart, or to work in someone else’s heart. Whatever your request, you can bring it before Him.
“God, I am feeling really anxious right now. I know You say that I shouldn’t be anxious because You are with me.
Help me to remember that today.
Please calm my heart and still any thoughts inside of me that are not from me. Help me to trust You and lean on You in this situation.
May Your peace guard my heart and mind.”
I hope that this has helped you, and given you guidance and confidence to put it into practice.
No matter what method we use to guide our prayers.
It is important to remember that we have a personal relationship with God at the end of the day.
As we prioritize prayer in our lives, we ultimately prioritize our relationship with God.