Even though I was raised in a family with Christian values, in truth I haven’t spent very much time concerning myself with church, or even thinking about spiritual matters. It’s for this reason that I find our fellowship’s weekly discussions so interesting.
During our fellowship, we continued our discussion about Getting To Know God Better. One section of our discussion focused in on prayer. I started realizing how little I had thought about prayer in my life. Prayer — it’s just something I did but didn’t really ponder any deeper. Now, I have come to realize that I have never really considered contemplating the different parts of a prayer either.
It’s kind of like how most of us speak our primary language fluently but if we were asked a grammatical question, we might have to pause to look up the answer. Like, for English-speakers out there — how would you use the present perfect tense? Odds are, most of us use this tense nearly every day but we don’t really think about it. (Note, the present perfect tense is when we talk about effects in the present of something that happened in the past).
The Lord’s Prayer
The most famous example of a prayer from the Bible is the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. While this is both beautiful and complete, I don’t really think it was God’s intention for us is to simply memorize this to recite it everyday (although I don’t think that would be a bad thing). Sure, The Lord’s Prayer is powerful and meaningful when we say it together in unity during Sunday service or some other occasion, but I think we all have something more personal that we can say to Him.
The ACTS ModelSomething that came up during the discussion was the ACTS prayer ‘template’ for the various elements we might want to include (in mnemonic order).
A stands for Adoration
This is all about praising God and recognizing your love for Him.
C stands for Confession
This is all about admitting the times we stumbled, and asking for forgiveness.
T stands for Thanksgiving
This is all about appreciation for all that we’ve been given.
S stands for Supplication
This is all about asking for things that you need (not just for yourself, but for those around you).
Public vs Private prayerOur Pastor, Wes, also mentioned that while things like ACTS are useful for public prayers (like when you’re praying at church or in fellowship), private prayers can really take on any form you want. At its core, prayer is a dialogue between you and God, so if you want to pray on your knees with eyes closed beside your bed, then go for it. You can also just have an inaudible internal conversation as well.
Me personally — I’ll even pray in the form of written (or typed) letters. I don’t write particularly formally in these written prayers… and I’m sure if anybody read one, it’d be easily mistaken for an ordinary email to a close friend. But hey, that’s what works for me. Find what works for you… the important thing is that you open that dialogue.
Why should we pray? I think a good enough reason is to pray is to get to know God better. Like I mentioned in my previous post… if you want to get closer to someone, communication is pretty essential, and the same goes for God. He may not reply in the conventional sense, but I do believe he answers prayers in different ways.
What better way to close this post than to end with a passage from the bible: James 5:16.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Take care and God bless.