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?

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

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 26

Last night I had the opportunity of going to the mission and preaching their chapel service.  I do this on the forth Friday of each month.  It is such a pleasure.  These men are so appreciative of the snacks and that we take time to go and minister to them.  I normally do not pick out songs prior to going because I let them request their favorite songs.  They sing at the top of their lungs.  Some sing off key; but, I don’t care.  They are singing from their heart.

We go each month because we are motivated by love.  Look at I Peter 4:8, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”  The word “charity” is the Greek word agape which means love, i.e. affection or benevolence; specially (plural) a love-feast (Taken from the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).

Charity is basically love in work clothes.  If I love the men at the shelter then I will do my best to teach them God’s Word and to win them to Christ.  What a privilege!  I can honestly say that I love those men and they respond in love to us.  I am so thankful that God has put His Love in me in so many different ways.  I am thankful for the love of Christ which constrains me to go each month and share with these men.

So, how are you doing?

Thanksgiving 25

The other evening I had the pleasure of preaching at the mission again this month.  I love it so much.  My wife bakes two pans of brownies and puts frosting on them.  She also bakes three different kinds of cookies, a couple dozen each.  This is a labor of love for our family.  We love these men and it is our pleasure to bake these snacks and share them with the men.  They appreciate it so much.

I was moved nearly to tears as I told one of the men that the 600 count package of napkins would be left for them to use.  He responded, “Praise the LORD!  Thank you.”  It was a package of napkins.  To you and I this is a simple thing that we take for granted; but, to this man it was a luxury.  It was such a small thing to us; but, to him it meant that someone cared enough to share what they had with them.  It humbled me for sure.

This man’s response to a package of napkins brought to my mind I Thessalonians 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  I have come to learn that I have no idea what life is like for these people.  One thing I believe is that if Jesus were here today walking on earth as He did in His day that He would have gone to the men, women, boys and girls at the mission.  He ministered to the down and out more than the up and up crowd.  After tonight, I am thankful for napkins.

So, how are you doing?