Good News — Learning to Pray

By Anna Belcher

Whatever is most important to us, that is what we order our lives around. And the more we arrange our lives around something, the more important it becomes to us. Prayer helps us to arrange our lives around God. It centers our attention on Him. God is of supreme importance, so I’m going to look at two tools that help me center my life on Him.

The first is an acronym: ACTS. It stands for one way of ordering prayers. Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. I’ve found this very useful by helping me to not just take my grocery list to God, but actually talk to Him.

A is for Adoration. It is good for our souls to take time to gaze upon the beauty and majesty of God, and putting this as the first part of our prayer time encourages us to do that.

C is for Confession. Two places in the gospels tell us that if we are making an offering and we are mad at our brother or our brother is mad at us, we must go reconcile with him first, before we finish making the offering. If we ignore our sin, try to justify it through good deeds or make the argument that what we did wasn’t actually that bad, then our relationship with God will be severely hindered. We must admit our sin, and Jesus’ blood will atone for our transgressions.

T is for Thanksgiving. Without taking time to reflect on everything that God has done in our lives, we, like the Israelites, quickly forget. We grumble about not having meat, forgetting how God provided manna, how He parted the Red Sea and brought forth water from the rock. Our hearts become hard.

S is for Supplication. Most of the time, I admit, my prayers are mostly supplication. It is not a bad thing to bring our needs to God. In fact, He tells us to do just that. This just shouldn’t be the only part of our prayers. But they should definitely be a part of them. God delights in allowing us to partner with Him to accomplish His work through prayer.

The second tool that is very beneficial to our prayer lives is to look at the way Jesus answered the disciples’ request to teach them how to pray. Take each element of what is known as The Lord’s Prayer and pray over it. Consider what it means. For example “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name,” begins the prayer by stating attributes of God. Begin your own prayers by naming attributes of God. Continue this way, following the form of the Lord’s Prayer. Pray through other scriptures as well. The Psalms are a great place to start.