Simple ACTS of Prayer
I’m traditionally not a very methodical person on the outside. My home is beautiful, neat, clean, but also well lived in and full of loved and semi-ordered chaos. Drawings, papers and unused books cover my shelves (I may have a hard time parting with them). Mail, homeschool reading, and flyers from my last conference or travel initiative are in neatly stacked piles all around (I’m working on this, but just being real).
Many of us may have systems and methods for doing everything: our meal planners, our homeschool calendars, the scope & sequence of our years educating our children, and hopefully our Bible reading and budgets. I’m working on some new methods and systems to get my piles in order, not just ordered chaos.
The truth is, anything that is successful is systematic. God has spoken order to systems, even the universe around us. Genesis 1:14-15 says,
“Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.”
He had a system to His creation, and it’s His systems which keep our planets revolving in order. The solar system, right? I learned an amazing piece of science this summer at the Creation Museum: if the sun was just one foot closer to Earth, we’d all burn up. But if it was one foot father away, we’d all freeze. God’s systems work.
God sending Jesus to take our sins and redeem the first Adam as the last was methodical. And, Jesus himself taught us a method of praying with the Lord’s prayer.
There are so many prayers needed right now. So many things in our world are not right and need to change. So many health issues, crises of terror, hate, racism, war, economy, politics, and basic needs. I’m sure God’s ears are full of the cries of His people. We see it all over social media, and the more time we spend there, the less time we spend with God. Do we need to hit a reset button?
I know as a busy mom, my time is short. Yours is, too. Let’s face it, everyone in society has a resounding answer to the question, “how are you?” Busy. Do we forget God knew we’d get to a season so busy, so inundated, that we need Him now more than ever? What if we became systematic, not rote, but methodical in our prayers? What if we could get to a place where our collective prayers were truly effective on a global scale? What if we asked people how we could pray for them and then prayed effective prayers? Would more people meet Jesus in a time where He is so needed?
Our pastor said this past week, “You can’t be who you’re going to be and who you used to be at the same time. Be willing to change.” I pray to let the new things come alive in me (2 Corinthians 5:17). But I know, if I want to grow, I have to become more effective in my methods of prayer.
For our prayers to be effective, especially in our overly busy lives, let me propose a couple things:
1. Our prayers don’t end.
Let’s pray without ceasing, forgetting the morning AMEN. Keep the lines of communication open and moving throughout our days. Let’s set reminders to our phones and take a minute every hour to keep our relationship with God growing.
Time with Him = deeper relationship = more effective prayers.
We’ve all heard James 5:16: “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Passionate prayers from a mama right with God are effective!
Listen to it this way from The Voice translation, “So own up to your sins to one another and pray for one another. In the end, you may be healed. Your prayers are powerful when they are rooted in a righteous life.”
We need to be morally right before God and others for our prayers to be effective. Rooted in righteousness. I love that, especially here for this Rooted devotional series. Let’s model the method of quick confession, apologizing, and forgiving, then praying, and teaching this to our children.
2. Our prayers model Jesus’ method.
What? Jesus had a method for praying?
Yes, He did. Reread and break apart, not just recite, the Lord’s prayer and you’ll discover it again, too.
Years ago, I heard an acronym for a method of prayer that has always resonated with me. One of my dear mentors says this is a surefire way to get into His presence anytime, anywhere.
-Acknowledge Him (Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be thy Name…)
-Confess to Him
-Supplicate before Him (ask for your requests)
A: Let’s acknowledge WHO He Is. What if our prayers didn’t start with what we need and want but who God is.
Holy. Majestic. Mighty. Full of Power, Awestruck Wonder and Glory, displayed over all the Earth and in the Heavens. We just had a clear example of that with the total solar eclipse, right? If we get to know our Heavenly Father better, we have a better understanding of whose we are and therefore, who we are!
C: Confess Now, “if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will cleanse our sins and heal us from all unrighteousness.” Those are big words spoken in every church service I attended as a kid that come to mind from simple memory. Until we unpack what that means, they’re just words. As we confess, we become righteous, and then our prayers become effective. It’s God’s method.
Isn’t this our goal?
Think about a time you’ve had a really deep and moving conversation with a spouse, loved one, or friend. A hard situation approached in love and a humble spirit will most likely end in a peaceful resolution. Saying I’m sorry, I’ve been angry, jealous, prideful, short-tempered (and you know, mamas, the list goes on) these words spoken work! Jesus is our friend, so let’s treat Him as our best one, confessing quickly before Him and those we’ve wronged, and show our children and others the same.
T: Thanksgiving- we have SO much in our lives to be grateful for, and yet we can easily end up focusing on the negativity from the media. Let’s cast our cares aside and keep on living in gratitude and perpetual thanksgiving. You know what you’re thankful for, and if you don’t, take a missions trip to have your eyes opened and spirit broken.
S: Supplicate. It’s not a word we use too often, but it has a deep definition: “to ask or beg for something earnestly or humbly.” It comes from the Latin word supplicat, meaning implored. Let’s go deeper with our asking by using this simple ACTS method.
I’m methodical in the prayers I speak when I put my boys to bed at night. I always quote a scripture, Numbers 6:25.
That the Lord will bless & keep them, keep His face shining on them and be gracious to them, to look upon them with great favor and grant them peace. Then, I add my own methodical prayer, to include all three parts of God’s trinity:
“That the Holy Spirit will go before you and guide the way. That Jesus will always be beside you as your best friend. That Papa God would be behind you, always having your back.”
And I pray the same for you, friend, as you live and pray your effective prayers, then mobilizing boldly and confidently as His hands and feet through great ACTS. Let’s let the fruit of our prayers be ACTS(ions) that speak louder than words.