Recently a friend blessed me by asking about the pattern for praying that I had mentioned in a sermon. We don't have to use any pattern or method in how we pray. After all, prayer is simply a conversation with God. However, sometimes it help to have a pattern to follow. If we review our prayers we may discover that all we do is ask God for something. There are many patterns and suggested formats for praying. Below is one that I use that is easy to remember and helps me.
The patterns uses the word ACTS as in the bible book The Acts of the Apostles. A very good book to read. In this pattern ACTS is used as an acrostic where each letter stands for a word.
A - Adoration---Praising and worshipping God Almighty and who He is
C - Confession---Agreeing with God about ways we have fallen short
T - Thanksgiving---Thanking God for specific ways He has blessed us
S - Supplication---Making our requests known to God.
A - Adoration
We worship the Supreme Creator of the universe. He is all powerful, all knowing, and all present. He speaks and worlds come into existence. He has no beginning and no end-the Alpha and Omega (first and last letters of the Greek alphabet). Praising and worshipping God is not stroking His ego. It is not flattery intended to get us what we want. Adoration is an expression of love. As powerful as God is His love for us is just as powerful. Spending time in adoring Him helps us establish the right relationship between us and God. He is The Almighty and we are His children. He is Savior and Lord. He is our authority. We follow Him not the reverse.
C - Confession
Confession means to agree with. In this case we are agreeing with God that we have fallen short of the mark, His desire for our lives. Sin is to miss the mark. To have a free and clear relationship with God it is necessary for us to admit where we have failed and accept His forgiveness. Jesus' death on the cross provides forgiveness for any sin we may have or are, or will commit. To appropriate His forgiveness we must acknowledge our error and receive His work on our behalf. In James 1:9 we have the promise; "If we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." When we mess up we need to 'fess up. Once we have 'fessed up everything we have a relationship with Him that is free and unhindered.
T - Thanksgiving
The Bible teaches us "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17 We need to have the "attitude of gratitude".
S - Supplication
This is where we ask God for whatever is on our heart and for what we need. It isn't wrong to ask for God's help and provision but it should not be all of our prayer. God is not our genie in a bottle. To quote C.S. Lewis in his book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe "he is not a tame lion." He is the Lion of Judah but He is not our pet. In humble submission to Him we ask Him for specific blessings, for provision, for ourselves and others.
So if you need a pattern to pray by I recommend using the A.C.T.S. pattern. It can help keep our prayers well said. However, the bottom line is pray! Talk with God daily and stay in an attitude of pray all day.