Day 3 – ACTS Revised

Can you think of a prayer time that stands out in your mind as being extra special? Well, yesterday was one of those times with the Lord for me. My Day 2 on the Daniel Fast was full of joy and blessing. I sensed God’s Presence in a real and powerful way, and I praise Him for all that He is doing in my heart and life.

How was your day? Did you start in the Word? Did you find moments of quietness when you could be still before the Lord and hear from Him?

This morning God woke me up very early, which happens frequently when I am fasting. Even though I was tempted to remain under the covers and stay warm and cozy in my bed, I finally got up and sat down at the computer. I felt that God wanted me to share something that He has laid upon my heart. The following devotional is what He gave me today. I pray that it will help you in your walk with the Lord.

Lately I’ve been questioning the accuracy of the Christian acrostic ACTS. But, before you excommunicate me or accuse me of causing division in the body of Christ, hear me out.

ACTS, which stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication, is a tool in teaching the basics of personal prayer and is modeled after Matthew 6:9-13. In these verses known as “The Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus begins with praise: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name (verse 9). Because we want to follow Jesus’ example, we also tend to start our prayers with Adoration. Jesus didn’t open His prayer time expressing sorrow for His sins because there was nothing to confess! He didn’t need to repent of anything, so He went right into Adoration, worshipping the Father for who He is.

Why doesn’t this pattern work for us? Think about it. When you have willful sin in your life, do you praise God? Your heart is tainted with rebellion, and God seems a million miles away. Isaiah 59:2 says that when we have known sin in our hearts, God’s ears are closed to our prayers: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”

Perhaps we have it all wrong when it comes to the order of the ACTS acrostic. Rather than moving right into Adoration, we should begin with Confession. Only when we’re painfully aware of our need for the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy can we truly magnify His Name. Once the Lord has cleansed us of our sins, we’re ready to enter into Adoration and Thanksgiving – worshipping the Lord and thanking Him for what He has done in our lives.

The final component of prayer is Supplication, which involves calling out to God for our own needs and on behalf of others. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” He wants us to come to Him in faith, trusting Him with every detail of our lives because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

Instead of using ACTS to structure our prayers, I’m suggesting that we use CATS instead. That way we approach God in brokenness and humility, which then frees us to adore the Lord with all that is within us (Psalm 138:1), which is exactly the kind of prayer that pleases God.

C – Confession (admitting our sins to God)
A – Adoration (praising the Lord)
T – Thanksgiving (expressing gratitude for what God has done)
S – Supplication (praying for ourselves and others)

Comments

  1. I wholeheartedly agree. I have been saying that very thing for years. Never did understand it. Started a fast June 10th of 2010 and I am enjoying the blog devotionals as I go. Really great job!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Arlene. I pray that the Lord will bless you richly during your fast as you seek Him with all that you are. 🙂