I remember as a new Christian feeling at an absolute loss when it came to prayer. What do I say? How do I say it? I am talking to God after all, so do I salute? Bow? Get on my knees? Do I say “thee” and “thou”? In a time before google, I didn’t even know where to turn. I was too embarrassed to admit I didn’t know how to pray!
Enter a sweet church lady who took me aside one day after church. We were in the fellowship hall when she handed me a card. The card had four letters in bold: ACTS.
“This might help dear”, she said. I just looked at her. How did she even know that I was wondering about this?
She went on to explain. “There is no formula for praying to God, dear. You are simply talking to God.”
“I know”, I said with very little confidence in my voice, “but...”
“It’s not that complicated, dear. You just talk with God as you would talk with an earthly parent who loves you and wants the best for you. God is your Heavenly Father. But I understand it might be new for you. That’s why I gave you this card”.
She went on to explain that the ACTS model of prayer would give me a simple guide to prayer.
“ACTS stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication,” she said sweetly.
Okay, I thought to myself. “Adoration” I understand. It is easy to worship a loving, generous, merciful God. I get that. And I even understand the T for thanksgiving. I am so “thankful” to God.
But I was embarrassingly unclear with C and S. It must have shown on my face because the sweet church lady chimed in.
“Confession, is a very important part of the prayer, dear. Confession is when we express to God how sorry we are for the wrong things we have done, said, or even thought.” She looked at me squarely.
What did she know? I wondered. I hadn’t done anything THAT bad.
She went on. “Ask God to forgive you, and believe that He does so freely. Confession helps to remove any barrier in your communication with Him.”
“And supplication?” I asked.
“This means praying for your needs and for the needs of others, like for your friends, and family, and even those you don’t know. I pray for our missionaries and for the government. They need all the prayer they can get.” She smiled and gave me a little wink.
“Don’t be so serious dear, this is just a guide to help you. You’ll get the hang of it and pretty soon you will be talking with God like He’s an old pal. I love my prayer time. It gives me such peace”.
With that she gave me a little pat on the shoulder, got up and went to pour herself another cup of tea.
Over the past few weeks we have been working on a series called There’s an App for That! In week one we talked about the importance of applying Biblical truth to our lives. Then in week two we looked at the importance of forgiveness when we looked at and hopefully installed the forgiveness app. Last Sunday, we took a look at another challenging app, the Confession app. Like the sweet church lady said, confession to God important but we also learned last week that real confession leads to real change. And it is important not only to confess to God but to the ones we have wronged, and then don’t do it again.
This Sunday we are going to tackle another app, but you need to see it to believe it. So, be sure to come and bring a friend. I promise that you will see something you have never seen in church before. Don’t miss it!