Although prayer cannot be reduced to a formula, certain basic elements should be included in our communication with God. I believe they are Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication, or ACTS for short, which will help you remember.
A – Adoration. To adore God is to worship and praise Him, to honor and exalt Him in our heart and mind and with our lips. Adoration expresses our complete trust in Him and reflects our confidence that He hears us. Adoration demonstrates our reverence, awe, love, and gratitude.
C – Confession. When our discipline of prayer begins with adoration, the Holy Spirit has opportunity to reveal any sin in our life that needs to be confessed. By seeing God in His purity, His holiness, and His love, we become aware of our own sinfulness and unworthiness. Confessing our sin and receiving His forgiveness restores us to fellowship with Him and clears the channel for God to hear and answer our prayers (1 John 1:7-9).
T – Thanksgiving. Nothing pleases God more than our consistent expression of faith. What better way to do this than to tell Him, “Thank you?” God’s Word commands, “Give thanks in all circumstances” because “this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As we approach God with a thankful heart, He makes Himself strong on our behalf.
S – Supplication. Supplication includes petition for our own needs and intercession for others. We are to pray for everything and in specific terms.
As you talk to God, for example, pray that your inner person may be renewed, always sensitive to and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Pray about your problems, pray for wisdom and guidance, pray for strength to resist temptation, pray for comfort in time of sorrow—pray for everything (Philippians 4:6).
Then pray for others—your spouse, your children, your parents, neighbors, friends, campus, or community. Pray for your pastor and missionaries, and for various other Christians to whom God has given special responsibility. Pray for those in authority over you (1Timothy 2:1, 2).
These elements—Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication—have helped many Christians to develop a more well-rounded prayer life.
Yours for helping to fulfill the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
Reprinted by permission, Campus Crusade for Christ International, Orlando, Florida.