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Sunday, January 09, 2011

ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication

ACTS  praying

You can see a larger version of this graphic by using it as a link.

All too many of our prayers are asking for something, and, further, asking for ourselves, or our immediate associates. Someone -- I'm not sure who -- suggested that we use ACTS as an acrostic for some of our prayers: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. It's a good idea. We don't adore, confess, and thank God nearly enough, or at least I don't.

Adoration: praising God for what and who He is. Here are some ideas on doing that.
Confession: stating our sins, and asking forgiveness.
Thanksgiving: thanking God for specific things He has done.
Supplication: asking for things we want God to do, for others (also known as intercession) or for us.

The poster above includes some biblical examples of these types of prayers. 

The last type of prayer is only intercession when it's for someone else.

The verses used (from the WEB, which is public domain) are as follows:
Acts 4:24 When they heard it, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, “O Lord, you are God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them;

I Kings 8:22 Solomon stood before the altar of Yahweh in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven; 23 and he said, “Yahweh, the God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above, or on earth beneath; who keep covenant and loving kindness with your servants, who walk before you with all their heart;

Psalm 51:1 Have mercy on me, God, according to your loving kindness. According to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity. Cleanse me from my sin.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Matthew 11:25 At that time, Jesus answered, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you hid these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to infants.

Daniel 2:23 I thank you and praise you, the God of my fathers, who has given me wisdom and might, and has now made known to me what we desired of you; for you have made known to us the king’s mind.”

Mark 14:36 He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Please remove this cup from me. However, not what I desire, but what you desire.”

Matthew 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.

Romans 10:1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God is for Israel, that they may be saved. 10:2 For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.

Thanks for reading. I wish I practiced this more. This will serve as part of my series on prayers in the Bible. I expect to use some of these texts in separate posts later.

The first post in this series is here.

A Flickr contact of mine referred me to an article in the New York Times. ("The Right Way to Pray," Sept. 16,2009, by Zef Chafets, who quotes Rabbi Marc Gellman in the following excerpt)

". . . really, when you come right down to it, there are only four basic prayers. Gimme! Thanks! Oops! and Wow! . . . Wow! are prayers of praise and wonder at the creation. Oops! is asking for forgiveness. Gimme! is a request or a petition. Thanks! is expressing gratitude. That’s the entire Judeo-Christian doxology.. . ." These four types correspond to the four in the ACTS acronym.

Added February 3rd, 2014: In Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference? (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006) by Philip Yancey, the author says that Rosalind Rinker used these four stages, or types of prayer:
1. Jesus is here (Matthew 18:19-20)
2. Help me, Lord (James 5:13-16)
3. Thank you, Lord (Philippians 4:4-7)
4. Help my brother (Mark 11:22-25) (Chapter 13, "Prayer Grammar")

On February 19, 2015, I added material to the opening section.


FancyHorse said...

Beautiful poster!

The rabbi put it in a nutshell! Gimme, Thanks, Oops, and Wow - short and to the point!

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, FancyHorse!

Weekend Fisher said...

The rabbi is funny, but maybe over-cynical. How about another type: "Hi." Or, "What was that? I didn't catch what you said" (from us to God).

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Martin LaBar said...

Neither the rabbi, nor my classification, included that one!

Thanks, Weekend Fisher.