ACTS: 4 Ways to Pray Intentionally

By Michael Risley

When I was a teen and first got serious about God, prayer was my least desirable spiritual tool. I enjoyed studying God’s Word, going on mission trips, and singing in the choir, but prayer just didn’t hold my attention in the same way.

Over the years and by God’s grace, however, I’ve acquired a deep love for prayer! How, you might ask?

First, I have grown in my love for God. Second, I often pray outside in nature; I call them “Prayer Walks.” And lastly, I pray primarily four different kinds of prayer on a regular basis. The acrostic “ACTS” helps me to remember each of these prayers. And I believe it will help you too!

“A” Is for Adoration.

These are prayers where I tell God why I adore Him. Typically, I focus my prayers on God’s attributes and characteristics. Often I use a Psalm to help me. My favorite is Psalm 145; it starts off, “I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever.” Later, it says, “The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all His creation.”

Wow! What a God! What delight is found in adoration prayer!

“C” Is for Confession.

These prayers often involve silence in the beginning to allow the Holy Spirit to convict me of any sin.

Psalm 139:23-24 helps prepare me to be gut-level honest with God. It says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

When God shows me a sin of commission (doing something I should not have done) or a sin of omission (not doing something I should have done), I confess the sin to Him and thank Him for His forgiveness.

“T” is for Thanksgiving.

These prayers are found throughout God’s Word, but I especially love Philippians 4:6. This verse says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.”

What has God done for you? Be sure to thank Him!

“S” is for Supplication.

These are prayers of asking for something earnestly and humbly. Again, the previous verse, Philippians 4:6 says to “tell God what you need.” Another verse is Ephesians 6:18, which says, “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”

Whether we are asking for ourselves or for others, God desires for us to express our faith in Him through prayer.

Pastor and author Chuck Swindoll writes, “If we would ask more, we would have more. But because we don’t ask, we don’t have. I wonder how many wonderful gifts are left wrapped in heaven because they were never asked to be unwrapped on earth? They just remained there, unasked for.”

God is waiting to hear from you, His beloved child. So don’t spend another day keeping silent. As Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.”

For more encouragement and tips on getting closer to God through prayer, we invite you to check out our devotional book 30 Days to Prayerful Living.