I recently bought a (CD) Compact Disk study series by R.C. Sproul which explained five things that every Christian Needs. When it comes to improving “Prayer” life, Pastor Sproul says that many Christians often use a simple acrostic as a guide: A.C.T.S. Each of the letters in this acrostic stands for one of the key elements of prayer:
Per Pastor Sproul, not only does this acrostic remind us of the elements of prayer, it shows us the priority we ought to give to each. The first element of prayer should be adoration, or praise. The Lord’s Prayer begins with "adoration of God" - “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.” The Ten Commandments begin with the adoration of God – “You shall have no other gods”. The Psalms, which are inspired samples of godly prayer, are heavily weighted on the side of adoration. Sproul noticed over many years that as we grow in the discipline and in the delight of prayer, it seems that we naturally spend more and more of our time on this first element.
Second, prayer should include “confession of our sin” ; as we remember who we are when we come into God’s presence, we see that we have come short of His holiness and have need of His forgiveness.
Third, when we pray, we should always give “thanks”, remembering the grace and mercy God has shown toward us.
Fourth, prayer rightly includes “supplication” or petition, bringing our requests for the needs of others and ourselves to God.
Pastor Sproul thinks that this is a helpful acrostic for remembering both the elements and the priorities of prayer. Unfortunately, we often spell our prayer life something like S.C.A.T., because we start with supplication and spend very little time, if any, on adoration, confession, and thanksgiving. Let’s get our A.C.T.S. together and pray with all our heart, minds, soul and strength.