What is the ACTS Prayer Model and How Can It Help Me Pray?
Do you have a heart for prayer, but stumble in your confidence because you aren’t sure you are doing it “right”? First, let me reassure you – there is no way to pray wrong! God loves His children coming to Him. Period. He loves to hear your heart and all the thoughts circling round your often-too-busy mind!
However, there’s something powerful about approaching God’s throne with confidence. Confidence leads to boldness and God tells us to come boldly to the throne.
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. -Hebrews 4:16 NLT
So, how can a prayer model help me pray?
Prayer models help us reach our prayer goals. They make us consistent, give us confidence, and instill boldness. They serve as a checklist approach to praying so we don’t forget the things we want to bring to God or run down rabbit trails we never wanted to travel.[bctt tweet=”Prayer models make us consistent, give us confidence, and instill boldness. They serve as a checklist approach to praying so we don’t forget the things we want to bring to God or run down rabbit trails we never wanted to travel #ACTSprayermodel #momentsofhope” username=”lori_schumaker”]
You know the kind, right? We start off praying for a friend’s circumstance or personal need and then all of a sudden, we realize we just added bread to the grocery list? (Insert shocked face emoji here) What I’ve found throughout my own years of praying is that those impulses happen less when I pray with intention. A prayer model does just that. It helps us be intentional by keeping us on track and establishing wise habits.
One I’ve stuck to for many years is the ACTS Prayer Model. This model, together with praying Scripture as we explored last week with Melanie at Ministry of Hope, will lead toward intentional effective prayer.
The ACTS Prayer Model
A – Adoration
Starting our prayers off with adoration for our Father prepares our hearts and minds by getting them in the right place. It focuses our thoughts on the awesomeness of our God. We get the opportunity to tell Him how amazing He is and acknowledge His mighty power and love. In doing so, we remind ourselves of His character and the very reasons why we can trust and have confidence in Him.
C – Confession
Confession takes humility. Conversations that are rooted in humility are productive. We cannot get to authentic relationship unless we surrender our pride and trust God with our broken attempts at life. When we pour out the sin weighing us down, we find freedom. The burden is lifted. There is no point in hiding our sin from God because He already knows. But there is tremendous gain in admitting and repenting of our sin. It is where true transformation takes place.
T – Thanksgiving
Gratitude is powerful. Again, it prepares our hearts and minds to give and receive in fullness. It sets the atmosphere as a positive environment instead of seeped in the negativity the enemy loves for us to hold close. We remind ourselves of all our blessings – of all God has already done in our lives, which in and of itself, gives us hope. It reminds us of what He has already done and therefore is capable of doing again.
Originally, I struggled to understand the difference between adoration and thanksgiving. It is easiest to think of as adoration is worshiping God for who He is and thanksgiving is thanking Him for what He has done.
S – Supplication/Intercession
Now that we have praised Him, freed ourselves from the weight of sin, and thanked Him for all He has done, we can approach God confidently with our needs and the needs of others. With humble gratitude and surrender in place, our petitions are soaked in authenticity. There are no barriers such as bitterness, anger, or shame.
The ACTS Prayer Model Helps Us Get Unstuck
One of the aspects I like about the ACTS Prayer Model is that it keeps us from getting stuck in the muck of our lives. Negativity sucks us in. It’s like quicksand because it fools us into thinking it is harmless. We start by simply unloading our struggles. But then we unload … and unload … and get stuck there. We forget to see the good on each side of our struggles. But seeing the good takes intentionality. It’s not easy because the bad is a squeakier wheel. It drowns out the good. So, if we don’t intentionally think on all that which is good, we lose ourselves to the depths of the bad.[bctt tweet=”Negativity is like quicksand. It fools us into thinking it is harmless. We start by simply unloading our struggles. But then we unload … and unload … and stay there. Getting unstuck takes intentional effort. #ACTSPrayerModel #SearchingforMoments #Prayer” username=”lori_schumaker”]
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. -Philippians 4:6-9 NLT
Get This ACTS Prayer Model Chart
Along with this post, I’m sharing a printable chart. You can use this chart as a reminder of the ACTS Prayer Model when you write or say your prayers. I hope it helps you and as you seek to strengthen your prayer life. (The printable pdf version of this can be found in my Library of Hope to which you get free access when you subscribe.)
Thank you for joining us for the The Way We Pray Series. If prayer is new to you, these four articles will give you a solid prayer foundation. They will equip you to pray with confidence and boldness! Join us next week as my friend Natalie of Milk & Honey Faith walks us through how Jesus taught us to pray.
If you are looking for more resources on prayer, I have an influencer storefront on Amazon where you can find some of my favorite products. As you can guess, most are books! Any of the items listed there are ones I personally recommend. You can get there by clicking HERE!
Hi Lori, I’m back from a summer blogging break and it’s good to be linking up with you again. I’ve seen several prayer models and haven’t paid many of them much mind, but somehow I think this one will stick with me. Thanks for sharing.
It’s so great to see you back, Tiffiney! I hope your break was replenishing and restoring, my friend ♥ I took a break July-mid August, as well. I have learned that if I want to keep offering quality content and minister to others well, I need those breaks in this season of life. Maybe someday when the needs change at home, the time won’t be as necessary, but for now, it is. I’m so glad this model will serve as a help, too! Thanks so much for joining me here ♥
What a great and simple way to help our prayer life! I can relate to that idea that we start off praying and suddenly we are working on the mental grocery list! So grateful that God has grace for us and knows our hearts. And grateful for simple tools like this!
I’m glad someone else relates, Rebecca! lol! If I’m not intentional, it happens way too often! These tools help me immensely in that intentionality.
ACTS always makes me smile, because I was sharing it as a handy reminder for my middle school girls’ Sunday School class. I could tell by the expression on their faces that they were wondering about something, so I asked what was up, and it turns out they thought I was coming up with this really cool acronym on the fly–that it was original with me in that moment!
They’re all grown up now, one in college, one working (and dating my son!), and one just had her first baby. This post reminds me to pray for them today.
What a neat story, Michele! God gives us the sweetest of memories as we anchor our lives to Him ♥
This is beautiful! I love picturing myself before the throne of God when I pray. It humbles me and reminds me that my prayers should be filled with thanksgiving and an attitude of praise and adoration. I also love that you mentioned praying through Scripture. That is certainly a powerful tool!
When we really stop to think of the incredible gift we have to approach God before His throne any time we would like and be received as a precious child, it is quite humbling! Thank you so much for joining me here each week, Emily!
Models can be so helpful during different seasons of life. Thanks for the reminder of this one. laurensparks.net
Right? That is exactly how I feel, Lauren!
I learned this prayer model when I joined a group of moms to pray for the school and students our children were attending. It was so helpful for keeping us on track as we took turns praying through each of the 4 items. It is also easy to teach kids to pray using this model. For awhile, I made a paper dice and each side had one of these categories (one side had a “roll again” and the other side had “do all four”). My son and I would roll the dice and then just do one of the categories that day. So maybe all adoration. Another day all confession. Etc. It taught us the 4 categories and it was then easier to combine all four.
What a fun and effective way to teach each category! And I’m sure left you with sweet memories of your time working together on it!
I’ve used this prayer model for a long time, and have found it to be so effective. I don’t use it every time I pray, of course, but when I need to pull it up in my head, I’m glad it’s there to rely on. Thanks for sharing it here, Lori! I’m sure it will bless many.
Isn’t it funny how it is kind of like riding a bicycle? I’m the same. I don’t always pray with the model, but it lives in the back of my mind kind of guiding my prayers and when I need to get specific, it’s always right there.
I was reminded today that prayer takes effort and focus and practice! You might enjoy Dave Lomas message on Christian meditation – linked in my post today – actually the next one concentrates on prayer itself – pastor of Realty SF. Blessings as you align your heart and will and message with His which blesses so many!
I will have to check it out, Sue! Thanks for the heads-up ♥
I agree when I pray with intention I am less distracted. I also find writing out my prayers helps. I write them like a letter to God.
I love this. “Confidence leads to boldness and God tells us to come boldly to the throne.” Thanks for the reminder today.
I remember when I first heard His words about going boldly to the throne. Bold just wasn’t even a part of who I was – in any area of my life! What a difference it made and what a journey it set me on! Thanks so much for joining me here, Christine!