ACTS Model of Prayer

A few evenings ago in our mid-week service I shared with those gathered another model for prayer.  It is called the ACTS Model of Prayer.  This is an acronym for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.  As I was going through the introduction I shared how I prefer to start with confession as to remove all hindrances to prayer.  I then pointed out that would make this the CATS Model of Prayer.  Well…  That was not the desired outcome.  So, for the purpose of this writing I will follow the original  model.

I.     Adoration – Adoration is worship.  Now, I can see why start here.  We should worship the LORD both publicly and privately.  He is worthy of our worship!  As we worship Him this will bring into perspective how lowly and sinful we really are.  Then we can move on to the next topic of confession.

Worship is ascribing worth to Someone, someone or something.  I think it would be safe to say that if we have a wrong view of our God we will not worship Him as He deserves.  As I have shared in the past series on “How to Pray for an Hour” there is no time limit here.  You can be as free as you want to worship as long as you please.

II.     Confession – What is confession?  Some people have the idea that confession is letting God in on a secret.  This could not be further from the truth.  God is All-Knowing.  He knows very well what sin we are ensnared in.  Remember, Jesus died to pay the price for that sin.  He suffered the penalty for our sin.

Confession means that we say the same thing about our sin that God says.  It means that we agree with God about our sin.  Then when we confess our sin we can forsake it and move on in life with a clean account before God.  This frees us to live as God created us to live.

III.     Thanksgiving – For some people this is just a “most wonderful time of the year”.  When in reality this should be a lifestyle for a Christian.  What are you thankful for?  Think about Christians in other parts of the world that are thankful to have one page of God’s Word.  Think about the people that live on the street who are thankful to have one small meal a day.  Think about the elderly person that has been abandoned in a nursing home by thoughtless family and forgotten.  Think about the children that fill children’s hospitals all over the world.  Are you thankful yet?

Thanksgiving should be such a part of us that it flows like the breath from our nostrils.  Bible commentator Matthew Henry was robbed once.  Someone asked him how he could obey I Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  Mr. Henry’s response exemplifies this thought of thanksgiving.  He said that he was thankful that he had the money to be taken.  He further said that he was thankful that he was the one robbed and not the one doing the robbing.  Wow!  That is real thanksgiving.

IV.     Supplication – Supplication is where you pray for your own personal needs and the needs of others.  This is where I struggle.  Sometimes I feel prideful when I pray for my own needs.  Yet, we must.  God wants us to come to Him and ask.  He wants us to seek Him for ourselves and for others also.

There are times when God will bring someone to your mind and my mind.  When He does this we need to stop what we are doing and pray immediately for whomever that is.  You never know what the results might be.  We could be the one that prays a prayer that saves someone’s life.  Prayer is serious business.  It is the King’s business.

So, how are you doing?

Pray For One Hour 8

Matthew 26:40-41, “And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?  Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

VIII.  Pray for one hour – thanksgiving:  confessing my blessings.  I Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks:  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Notice what this verse does not say.  It does not say, “For everything give thanks…”  It says, “In everything give thanks:…”  Sometimes this seems very difficult to do.  Since God tells us to do it then it must be possible.

I remember reading about the Bible commentator Matthew Henry.  He was robbed and his money stolen.  He took this verse to heart and started out by saying that he was thankful that he was the one robbed and not the one doing the robbing.  Wow!  That is giving thanks in a very difficult situation.

So, how are you doing?

A Gift From God 12

Last night I was watching the news; as depressing as that is.  I saw a story that caught my attention.  It was a story about infertility.  It caught my attention because a Pastor I know from another state is going to be a father.  His wife is 51 years old and he is 65 years old.  Yes, when their child turns 18 he will be a whopping 83 years old.  Well…

I thought about how this child; just like all other children, is a gift from God.  This Pastor even referred to himself in the context of Abraham and Sarah.  Thankfully he is in good spirits about it.

I thought about “A Gift From God” and this pastoral family now expecting.  Some in our world would see this as a set back or an interruption to their life.  Not this family.  They are taking it in stride like they should.  They see it as God sees the child.  A gift.

I thought about the promise God made to Abraham.  Look at Genesis 17:5, “Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.”  That is a promise from God.  “a father to many nations have I made thee.”  This is a fact.  Now, we can look back and see God bring this to pass.  Abraham submitted to God’s plan for the most part until he and Sarah stepped out of God’s plan and then Ishmael was born.  For the most part Abraham’s response was of faith and God blessed him with a tremendous gift.

Sarah’s response was a little different.  Look at Genesis 18:12, “Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”  No, I am not sharing this to knock or beat up on Sarah.  I am simply point out the difference in their responses to the promises of God and His gift to them.

So how do you respond to the gift of God?  We need to respond in faith and thanksgiving.  I thank God for the gifts He has given to me and my family.  Yes, even those gifts we did not really think we wanted or needed.

So, how are you doing?

Thanks-Living 7

As we close out this series of “Thanks-Living” I find it funny that it is the seventh installment.  Seven in the Bible is the number of perfection or complete.

As I close out this series I have to ask myself, “Am I a thankful person?”  Maybe you should ask yourself that question.  Now, we both have to answer honestly.  This is the painful part of this little exercise in thankfulness.

I am afraid that if the truth be known to us we would find that we might not be as much of a thankful person as what we might want to be.  I mean truly thankful.  I don’t mean just flippantly throwing out a “Thanks” or “Thank you” on occasion.  I mean that we need to be thankful, sincerely thankful all the time.

How much would you do for someone that was not thankful?  It would not be too long and you would want to quit doing anything for them.  I know.  We need to work on being genuinely thankful and doing it all the time.  Look at Ephesians 5:20, “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;”  I know this is hard for me as I get caught up in circumstances and I seem to lose my thankfulness.  God forgive me!

So, how are you doing?

Thanks-Living 4

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!  I thank God for you my readers.

Bible commentator Matthew Henry was robbed once.  As he gave account of what happened he said something close to, “I thank God that I am the one who was robbed and not the one doing the robbing…”  This man really knew how to give thanks.

Today is Thanksgiving 2014.  What are you thankful for?  I have learned to be more thankful.  I hope you do not think I am bragging; because, I am not.  As you walk with Jesus farther and farther down the road you learn things.  Something you learn is what is truly important and what is not important.

We often have such a hard time being thankful when things are not going the way we think.  If things are going according to what we like then things are good.  If things are not going the way we had planned then we think God is out to get us.  Look at what the Bible says in I Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  The word “in” is huge here.  I mean we are commanded to be thankful even in the midst of dark trials and tribulations.  Just like Matthew Henry I can learn to be thankful for those things like he was.  Sometimes it is hard to be thankful in the midst of trials and tribulations; but, since God commanded it then we know it can be done.  Oh; by the way, it is a command.

So, how are you doing?

Thanks-Living 3

Well, today is the day that strikes fear in the heart of many turkeys.  This could very well be their last day on this earth and then they become the centerpiece of somebody’s Thanksgiving meal.  That makes me happy!

Tomorrow is the official Thanksgiving holiday.  Many of us will gather around the table with family.  Some will even take time to say one thing they are thankful for before starting the meal.  I like this as a tradition.  The problem is that I have such a hard time coming up with just one thing to say that I am thankful for.  I am blessed beyond measure!

I was thinking.  If a person is an atheist to who is he thankful?  I mean, really.  Are they thankful to “Mother Earth”?  This makes we want to vomit.  As a Christian we are to be thankful to God Almighty.  He is the Creator and Sustainer of life.  He is the Object of our Thanksgiving.

Look at Colossians 1:3, “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,”  I am thankful to God for so many things.  Most importantly I am thankful that He love me so much that He died for my sin.

As you sit down to the Thanksgiving table tomorrow I hope you can genuinely offer Thanksgiving to God Almighty for what He has done for you.

So, how are you doing?

Thanks-Living 2

As I sit and write this blog post it is raining very hard.  As we continue this line of thinking about Thanks-Living I can honestly say that I am thankful that this is rain and not snow.  We would be under snow like the east coast of our nation.  I cannot imagine getting six feet of snow in one day.  That just kind of blows my tiny mind.

It does not matter how bad things are we can still find something to be thankful for even in a seemingly bad situation.  A woman that was known for her positive speech was told one day that someone thought that she could even find something nice to say about the devil.  She said, “He sure is persistent.”

Being thankful is a choice that we make every moment of every day.  Some old sower people just make a choice to be that way.  We must make a choice all the time to be thankful no matter.  Look at Ephesians 1:16, “Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;”  Notice Paul just simply says, “Cease not to give thanks…”  What stops you from being thankful?  Maybe you need to work on removing that obstacle and becoming a thankful person.

So, how are you doing?

Thanks-Living

With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching I have been thinking about that very subject.  It will not be too many days and I will be standing before the men at the mission and I am looking for some nugget of truth to share with them.

I have been rolling around the idea of “Thanks-Living” and “Thanksgiving Living”.  Either idea is a good one I believe and I think they both convey about the same message really.

We have all met people that are so self-centered or self-focused that they would not say “Thank you” to anyone.  That is sad.  As I get older I try to let those around me know that I am thankful.  I especially try to let those in the public who serve us know that I am thankful for their service to me and my family.

Someone wisely said, “If you can read thank a teacher.  If you can read in English thank a soldier.”  This is especially true in this day and age.  When was the last time you thanked your trash man for picking up your stinking garbage.  Don’t give me, “He gets paid to do that.”  I try to let them know that I appreciate them picking up our nasty smelling garbage.  In return when I need to get rid of something a little outside the parameters for pick up they usually just take it.  Then I give them a little something with a “Thank you!”

Look at Romans 16:4, “Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.”  When you look at those who serve you in this light of Scripture it changes things dramatically.

So, how are you doing?

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving 30

Today is the last official post for Thanksgiving.  I have been reflecting back on many days gone by.  We have endured some really tough days.  There have been days of sickness.  There have been days where our son’s autism nearly killed us.  There have been days that friends turned against us.  There have been days of all kinds.

Thankfully there have been days of victory.  There have been days of joy.  There have been days that put a smile on your face as well as deep into your heart.  Yet, the Word of God tells us to be thankful no matter what kind of day it is.  This is easier said than done some days.  I know you understand.  The fact remains that we have been commanded.

Look at I Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  Please notice that this verse of Scripture does not tell us to be thankful for every thing.  The Word of God tells us, “In every thing give thanks:”.  It is like one man said after he was robbed.  He thanked God that he had something to be taken from him and he was thankful that it was not he who was doing the robbing.  No matter what your circumstance give thanks “in” in no matter if you cannot give thanks for it.

So, how are you doing?

Thanksgiving 28

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am sharing an article from “The Legal Alert” November 2013 issue Written by David C. Gibbs Jr., which is a publication of the Christian Law Association.  It goes as follows:

“God’s Provision and the First Thanksgiving”

“God was obviously helping the Pilgrims in many ways, but one of the most surprising forms of assistance was a man – an Indian who spoke perfect English.  In the spring of 1621, after barely surviving their first long and severe winter, God sent the weary settlers an Indian named Squanto who could speak their own language.  Squanto offered to teach the Pilgrims how to survive in this strange land.  God had perfectly prepared this Indiana to be a helper for the settlers.

As a young man, Squanto, a native of the area, had been captured and taken to England.  While there as a slave, he had mastered the English language. He had been freed shortly before the Pilgrims’ voyage and had returned to America to find virtually all of his tribe wiped out by the plague.  Despite his former treatment at the hands of the Europeans, Squanto was willing to help the Pilgrims learn to survive in the New World, teaching them where and how to fish and stalk game and which berries were safe to eat.  While these skills were important, probably the most important thing Squanto taught the Pilgrims was ‘how to plant the Indians’ winter staple, corn, which Europeans had known nothing about.’

The Pilgrims knew the value of Squanto’s assistance and were careful to give God the glory for sending him to help them.  William Bradford writes:  ‘Squanto continued with them and was their interpreter and was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation.’  The Pilgrims, in turn, shared with Squanto the most valueable treasure they had brought with them from England – the Gospel.  Cotton Mather reports that Squanto died within a year or two after to the aid of the Pilgrims, ‘but before his death, desired them to pray for him.  That he might go to the Englishman’s God in Heaven.’

Mather tells us that other Indians who assisted the Pilgrims were also impressed with their God.  During the summer of 1621, when it appeared the year’s corn harvest would not survive a severe drought, the Pilgrims called for a day of fasting and prayer.  By the end of the day, it was raining.  The  rain saved the corn, which miraculously sprang back to life.  One of the Indians who observed this miracle remarked:

Now I see that the Englishman’s God is a good God; for he hath heard you, and sent you rain, and that without such tempest and thunder as we used to have with our rain; which after our Powawing for it, breaks down the corn; whereas your corn stands whole and good still; surely, your God is a good God.

That miraculous corn harvest provided the basis for the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving, a tradition Americans continue to celebrate.  Today, however, our public schools sometimes teach that Thanksgiving signifies the thanks the Pilgrims offered to their Indian neighbors who had helped them; but history demonstrates that, on that first Thanksgiving Day, the thanks of both Pilgrims and Indians went to God for His great goodness toward them.”

So, how are you doing?