Last time, we discussed the A-C-T-S model of prayer, devoting time to: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Here we complete that article.
If you missed it, you can read Knowing God Through Prayer (A-C-T-S)(Part 1)
Thanksgiving is the attitude and activity of expressing appreciation and indebtedness to the Lord. Christ has blessed us so richly without our deserving anything. I want to remember afresh everyday that He is the Author and Source of all good things we enjoy and remember not to take His blessings and benefits for granted.
I must be child-like and thank Jesus for every good thing I can think of, for every way that He loves us, protects us, and cares for us. “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving.” (Psalm 69:30) Gratefulness honors the Lord and it’s healthy for our souls too. As we mature in Christ, we learn to thank Him for both the joyful and sorrowful times in our lives. God is expert at bringing good out of evil (Gen 5:20; Ecc 7:14; Acts 2:23).
- Even when feeling overwhelmed, we can use Psalm 5 to help us thank Christ that He is our King and God who hears us; that He loves us greatly; that He surrounds us with His favor like a shield.
- Even when feeling anxious, we can use Psalm 6 to thank Christ that He delights in mercy; that He turns to us and saves us because of His unfailing love; that He accepts us and will overwhelm all His and all our enemies.
- Even when feeling frustrated, we can use Psalm 16 to help us thank Christ that He keeps us safe, treasures us, and makes us secure; that He will not abandon us in the grave, but will fill us with joy and eternal pleasures in His presence.
Using the Psalms as our guide, we never run out of fuel for thanksgiving!
Supplication is the part that comes easiest to most of us. Asking God for the fruit of the Holy Spirit, for His intervention on our or others’ behalf, for strength and wisdom for difficult responsibilities. Any and every legitimate thing that we need or want His help with falls under this heading. My first request is often that God help me to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love my neighbor as myself (Mark 12:30-31). I often ask Christ to supply the needs of my family, friends, enemies, Christian workers and missionaries, government leaders, believers around the world (especially persecuted ones), and other people I know of with special needs.
I ask the Lord to save those who are not yet converted, to give growth in Christ-likeness to those who are already Jesus’ followers, and to enable believers to reach out and serve others for Christ. I ask the Lord to give us daily bread and other necessities, daily pardon, and daily deliverance from evil and Satan. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” We are to ask for the Lord’s help with everything that causes us anxiety, fear, or worry. That includes big things and little things. Our Heavenly Father loves when we ask for His help. We honor Him by asking.
I’m not trying to make this complicated. Prayer is heartfelt conversation with God. Adam and Eve talked with the Lord in Eden. And the Book of Revelation closes begging Christ to return again to rescue us at the end of this present evil age. I love to pray and echo Fanny Crosby’s song, “Draw Me Nearer”:
Oh, the pure delight of a single hour that before your throne I spend. Then I kneel in prayer, and with you, my God, I commune as friend with friend!
I agree with Crosby’s hymn, but I don’t always give prayer the priority that Christ deserves. Missionary Samuel Zwemer (1867–1952), called prayer “the gymnasium of the soul” and reminds me that I need to stay in spiritual shape by praying more and better. May the Lord help us to spend time and energy in the prayer gymnasium with Him this year! That’s the best kind of fitness plan for glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.