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Upgrading Your Prayer Life in 2018: ACTS and the Model Prayer

Every year we look at our Christian lives and strive to do better. One place most of us all try to improve is our prayer life. But many of us have questions on not only how to get in the habit of praying, but how to pray without it sounding like a grocery list.

Most Christians are not taught how to pray, they only copy patterns of prayers that we have heard others pray. But did you know there is actually a right and wrong way to pray? Proper prayer is required for positive results. Luckily the Bible instructs us on the way to pray...and how not to pray. We will begin with how we should avoid praying.

I. How NOT to pray

A. The Motive of Prayer is important. Verse 5 does not condemn public prayers, but it does say that we shouldn't do it to impress others. We should pray from the HEART and only for the glory of God...not man.

B. Don't Use Vain Repetitions v. 7. The heathens pray with vain repetitions. It is not the repeating of phrases over and over or even the length of prayers that pleases God. Some people believe that you must get up every morning and pray for two hours before you can face the day. The length of your prayers are determined by you as a person. Some days it could be 1 hour, some days 15 minutes. It is a fact that most women speak about 25,000 words a day and a man about 12,000. That is why women find it easy to pray for an hour, and a man will start repeating himself in about 15 minutes. Your prayer length should be as long as your heart is in it.

C. Don't Pray With Selfishness

"Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts" James 4:3

The scripture here in James is clear; a selfish prayer will not be answered. God wants to answer your prayers but He is not willing to meet a selfish desire.

II. How We Need To Pray (Using ACTS and the Model Prayer)

Most everyone has heard of the Lord's Prayer in Matthew

6:9-13, which Jesus gave us as a handy guide on how to pray. This is not meant to be a rigid blueprint or for us to have canned prayers; rather, it is a method and guide to help us build our own prayer. So how do we build our own prayer? It's as simple as following the acronym A.C.T.S.

A - ADORATION -"Praise Be to God!" - Psalms 68:35

"Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name." This means when we pray, we should begin our time adoring and praising God. Tell God how much you appreciate Him. Express your love for Him. Praise His power and majesty.

C - CONFESSION - "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." - 1John 1:9

"and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." This means we are to see our sins and confess to God what we have done wrong. Tell Him where you have fallen short and be specific. Thank Him for the forgiveness you have in Christ and ask for help and strength to turn away from future temptations.

T - THANKSGIVING - "Glorify Him with thanksgiving" - Psalms 69:30

"For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever" This means we need to be grateful for what He has done for us. You have plenty of reasons to be thankful. Thank God for His love, His faithfulness, His patience and a million other things. Express gratitude for what He's doing in your life. Thank Jesus for dying on the cross for you. Thank the Holy Spirit for indwelling you, and never leaving. Thank Him for being your conscience, your counselor and that "still small voice." Remember to listen too for God to speak back!

S - SUPPLICATION - "Make your requests known to God." - Philippians 4:6

"Give us this day, our daily bread....." And lastly this is where you bring our requests to God. This is called petition, our earnest, seeking of not only personal needs, but for the needs of others as well. Petition is a vital component, but not the only piece. Make sure you have a well-balanced prayer that is not selfish, but that does not ignore your needs either. And don't forget in this component, we are also to make intercession for others. This is the understanding of the needs of others and bringing those before God.


Many of us haven't had a consistent prayer life, and it's hard to develop a good prayer habit. Here are a few practical tips to help you begin:

- Break up your prayer times. Spend time when you first get up; look over your day and seek his help in all you plan to do. Be open to His opportunities and His presence for growth, learning and more while you are going about your day. Then spend some more time with Him when you are about to go to bed. Reflect on your day, what you have learned and what you can do better.

- Take baby steps. Don't get overwhelmed thinking you need to be praying an hour right off the bat. Start with five minutes a day in the morning and again in the evening before bed. Then slowly add to it.

- Concentrate on God. The priority is your sanctification, your learning and your growth in Him. This is best done in a quiet place, free from distractions. So no praying in front of the TV!

- Seek to free your mind of stress, worry and distractions, so Jesus is the only One in your mind. This is hard and takes practice, but the more you do it, the better you will become at it.

- If you get stuck, read. Read the newspaper and pray for items in your nation and in the county in which you live, and for your neighbors. Also, read the Bible or sing a hymn.

- Try to pray out loud. This will help you concentrate.


This may seem overwhelming to begin with, but if you are just starting out, try 10 minutes a day for a month (5 min in the morning, 5 min in the evening). Then in the second month increase it to 15 minutes. The third month, 20 minutes and so on. Your goal is to have at least one hour a day in prayer - free from distractions and a wandering mind. If this is too much and your mind wanders, just remember to break the time up even more throughout the day.

We always end our prayers with AMEN, which means, "So let it be!" It is the wording of your confidence in God. So leave it with God! Trust that He will take care of everything.

One day, you will get to heaven and then you will realize all that prayer did on this earth; you will be amazed at how God used you. So remember to pray for people in need, loved ones, leaders, pastors, and our church and you will make a real difference. Make sure your prayers are real, authentic, not too general, and not weak, and you will be mightily used!

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