Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The A.C.T.S of Prayer

Does it seems strange that of all the things the disciples could have asked of Jesus, the only things recorded that they did ask was to "Show us the Father" and " Teach us to pray"? They never asked to teach us to preach, or to evangelize with power, they never asked to heal the sick, or raise the dead.
To the request Show us the Father" Jesus responded; (John 14:8)
“Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:9)

And to their request Teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1)   Jesus responds first by telling them what not to do in prayer.
“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners [d]so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:5)

Then Jesus teaches them the Lord’s Prayer.  What we have to see here is that prayer is not something we do naturally, it requires structure and more importantly it sometimes needs to be taught. One of the biggest mistake we have is the thought that we automatically know how to pray, for some it comes natural but for others there is a need for instruction. With the disciples there was a need for instructions, and with many of us there is a need for instruction as well.

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I remember when I first came to Christ as an adult. There was a guy named Curtis who used to come to the gym where I worked out. And Curtis took me under his wing for some reason, (God knows) to teach me a level headed view of who God is. Maybe he knew my spirit, or could read what type of person is was, so he never came at me with the mystic or supernatural attribute of the faith. He knew what I thought of mysticism form my experience with Eastern Religions. And a God the walks on water or raises the dead was not what I needed at that point. I needed a personal God, and I needed to be personal with God, so through discernment Curtis knew that would have never drawn me in.
What Curtis did was give me practical real exercises that I could see measurable change in my countenance. I remember him saying that if I wanted to be closer to God I had to read the Bible. Then after 6 weeks of just 15 mins a day I did. Then Curtis asked did I really want to turn up my relations with Christ. So he taught me A.C.T.S. and the Lord prayer. And after no time I was telling other people about my God. It is the application of ACTS (Adoration Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication)[1] that this post is about, and even though it a bit long, I want you to hang in there. This is some good stuff.

When Jesus taught the disciples how to pray He gave what is known as the Lord’s Prayer, (Matthew 6:9-13) but Jesus was not telling them only pray these words, Jesus was showing them what prayer looks like. A.C.T.S. divides prayer into four sections.  Starting first with
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven on earth as it is in heaven.
1.     Adoration;
Adoration is an expression of deep love and respect, is love, devotion, fondness, admiration and total awe. Adoration is the acknowledgement of a divine being who is worthy of worship, whom we willing venerate and give homage, it acknowledges God’s glory, His majesty, His omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, sovereign nature and rule and His complete holiness, His Kingdom in Heaven and on earth.

When we pray with adoration we recognize He is sovereign over everything, every life, and every situation. And the very fact that we are given to come before His Throne of Grace in prayer is a gift for which we should honor Him. We hear this in these words
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
2.     Confession;
Means that we cannot be blind about our sins, we must see our wondering eye as adultery, our angry response as murder, our omission of a fact as a lie, our failure to do what we know as good as sin,[2]  our rebellion against a Holy and perfect God as witchcraft, and our arrogant heart as an abomination to God[3]
..  Even the things which we might say is a minor, are sin to God, we must see our sin and exceedingly sinful, and in always deserving to burn eternally in hell.
But in confession, there is also the knowledge of the goodness of God, who forgives us, and sanctifies us[4] and pre-loves us, and conforms us to the image of His son[5] calls us into His family joint heirs with Christ to share in his glory.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
3.     Thanksgiving;
When we think of thanksgiving in prayer we are to express our gratitude for all that He (God) has done for us. We should search our past and even our present to go over His mercies toward us. We inventory his mercies, and goodness toward us, the incredible and well as the nominal. We consider the health, sound mind, and hope, the family and friends, the roof over our head and food on our table, the love, the work, and the good times.
Yet we count it as joy, the trials and divers temptations which test our faith and works our patience and produces in us perfection that we may be lacking nothing[6]
Give us this day our daily bread… ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
4.     Supplication;
This is called a petition toward God, The Apostle Paul tells us that we should be an careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your request before God. Supplication is seeking not only our personal needs but also the needs of others. It is the confession,( because God already knows what we have need of,) that we are in a place right now unable to meet our own needs so we seek God who is able. And we see God, not our family, or our job, or our friend or our government but God alone as the only source of our substance and supply. Knowing full well if God does not give it we won’t have it, so we consider God will even greater than our desires[7]. Therefore then our praise is not dependent on our blessing such that we must be like Habakkuk and says “
Though the fig tree does not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls; Yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will exult in the God of my salvation!

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Your Brother in Christ
TCharves FireSpeaks

[1] “ACTS”  is an acronym that point to the Lord’s Prayer ( Matthew 6:9-13 ) and give structure to how we should form our prayer to God
[2] James 4:17 “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
[3] Proverbs 16:5 “Everyone that is proud in his hear is an abomination to the Lord…”
[4] I John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us form all unrighteousness.”
[5] Romans 8:29 “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
[6] James 1:2-5 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;  Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
[7]Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.”