The A.C.T.S. Way to Pray

Many years ago, a pastor who was teaching about prayer used an acronym: A.C.T.S.  A: Adoration of Elohim; C: Confession of sins; T: Thanksgiving; and S: Supplication.  The past few days I’ve been considering prayer, especially intercessory prayer.  This morning I decided to use that acronym for my morning prayer time.   I began with worshipping the King of the Universe, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth, the One who is the great I AM.  

Blessed are you, Adonai our God, King of the Universe who …

This is how traditional Jewish prayers begin.  Who … Who brings forth bread from the earth, the Bread of Life.  Who creates the fruit of the vine, the fruit of the Spirit.   Who creates the various kinds of foods.   Who has given us life, sustenance and enabled us to reach this season, of celebration, of sadness, of trial.    Who has returned within me my soul with compassion and in great faithfulness and woke me up this morning.  Who restores the eyes of the blind, physically and spiritually.  Who is betrothed to me forever as my Bridegroom.   Who has given me His Torah and sets me apart from the world by His commandments.  Who says and does, who speaks and fulfills, whose words are true and faithful to me.   Who gave me the Word of Truth and planted everlasting life in my midst.  Who gave me Messiah Yeshua.  Who gave me the Renewed Covenant.  Who took my heart of stone and gave me a new heart of flesh.  Who is the Lover of my Soul. 

“If we acknowledge our sins, then, since he is trustworthy and just, he will forgive them and purify us from all wrongdoing” (1 John 1:9).

I moved onto Confession.  I wanted to confess actual sins where I broke God’s commandments; when I didn’t love Him or others as outlined in Scripture.  However, after acknowledging my Creator for who He is and His greatness,  I saw my humanity, my own ‘dust of the earth’ self having great pride and arrogance.   It was a powerful realization that I had considered myself more worthy than ‘i am’ and that I can do absolutely nothing in and of myself.  I had to confess that I thought of myself more highly than I ought and made myself out to be a little ‘i am’ god by not putting Yahweh Elohim first and foremost in my life. 

“There can be a way which seems right to a man, but at its end are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

Every sin I committed and needed to confess fell under the arrogant column and not acknowledging who the great I AM was, is, and will be in my life, day after day.    I had to confess the sin  of looking to mankind and his worldly ways to solve the chaos in my life (and even the world).   I searched my heart and saw all the plans  I thought had good intentions were really just my own arrogance.     In comparing myself to the King of the Universe, I was a nobody believing everything I was doing was of God’s will or He would at least bless my plans because I ‘stamped’ them with Him.   I can in no way even know what His plans are ten seconds from now so how am I going to find long-term solutions to those things I wrestle with every day in my soul?   Even when it comes down to the little details with health insurance, retirement plans, selling a house, children walking outside of God’s will, sickness and disease or planning a vacation,  did He really need my help at all? Was I making everything more chaotic because ‘my hand’ in the mess tied His Hands?   It became very clear in that moment that when I look to man’s solutions and the ways of the world for resolutions to chaos, I am no longer trusting the Creator and King of the Universe to be the WHO that He Is. 

“Let the peoples give thanks to you, God; let the peoples give thanks to you, all of them” (Psalm 67:4).

“We give thanks to you, God, we give thanks; your name is near, people tell of your wonders” (Psalm 75:2).

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, enter his courtyards with praise; give thanks to him, and bless his name” (Psalm 100:4). 

Thanksgiving.  I honestly have struggled with being thankful for many years because of some events that happened during my college days.   I have been fearful that if I am openly thankful, I will lose everything.  These feelings have been a great burden that I confess of often, but I have never repented of allowing this ‘spirit of fear’ to keep me in bondage.  Seeing my own humanity in the presence of the King of the Universe, I suddenly felt as I had more to be thankful for than I have allowed myself.  That ‘spirit of fear’ needed to replaced with a ‘spirit of power, love and a sound mind’.

I had a wonderful childhood with caring parents who gave me a foundation of faith.   I have a loving, supportive husband and blessed marriage.  I was allowed the privilege of raising my children as a stay-at-home mom and teaching them at home.   All four adult children walk in faith unique to themselves as individuals, albeit not necessarily how I would have chosen their walks (there’s that little ‘i am’ again!).  I have lived in beautiful places and made amazing houses our home.  I have working vehicles (I’m writing this in a car service department).   I have had horses, chickens, dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and fish to give me another perspective of God’s creation of living souls.    I have traveled to places all over the world that I only dreamed about as a child.    Though I have had some serious health issues over the years, I have been healed and I stand in those healings not by doctors, but by the I AM, the Rafa-El.    I have walked through dark spiritual warfare and came out on the other side victorious.  I have been given innumerable opportunities by God to use my gifts of teaching and encouragement, share my faith and testimony and love of dance praise worship.  

Ultimately, all of these blessings came through Yeshua being in my life.   Without him, I would have given up after those college days; in many ways I did give up and lived a life that would have probably killed me.  Because of Yeshua I was given a new life, a life that has filled my heart, mind and soul.   Because of Yeshua I have spiritual eyes to see these gifts because I can easily take them for granted (and that fear always lurks).   I live in a very rich country and, in many ways, I’m living the ‘American Dream’, but it’s so much more than that.   In the deep valleys of darkness and death that I have walked and the peaks of incredible joy,  I have always felt the empowering grace of God and His mercy to continue on.  I have always seen His faithfulness that encouraged me to press on toward a higher calling and not settle for less than Yeshua’s greatest reward (whatever that will be for me).  Even in the mundane, I have known the presence of God.  

When I considered all of the above,  the verse about entering His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise came to mind.  Though I was only in my bedroom, I entered Jerusalem.  I saw the gates, touched the Wall and heard the weeping of those waiting for Messiah.  I am truly thankful for the faithfulness of my Abba, Father.

“Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, trust that you are receiving it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).

Supplication.  After confessing my arrogance toward God and thanking Him for “doing far beyond anything we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 4:20), the requests I had seemed insignificant.   Isn’t what I have been given enough?  Isn’t His faithfulness enough to trust that He has everything under control?

In spite of knowing all of this about humanity, Yeshua told his disciples to pray and he even taught them to pray.  Even though my trite requests seemed foolish, the Son of my Sovereign King, who was also born of a woman, who was also nothing more than dust of the earth, told me to pray in faith that I have already received the answer to the young raven’s cries.   So I prayed, but with a different heart and focus than my usual morning prayer time and I began to understand intercession.  

I prayed for two friends who seek healing from cancer.   I prayed for one of my children who needs wisdom and courage to stand for faith in an ungodly situation or for God to change the situation.   I prayed for a young man whose heart change for the LORD has created in him a boldness and a desire to share with others how repentance brings victory over sin and a new heart.  I prayed for a young woman struggling to put all of Scripture together so her faith is  increased.   I prayed for a friend whose husband entered the Kingdom of Heaven and is a changed man transforming very lives and marriage.   And, as I prayed, I found myself in a place of thanksgiving again.   Yahweh Rafa-El IS the healer, the giver of courage and faith and is changing the hearts and minds of so many around me.  

Before I had finished praying about major changes that are on my personal horizon and some of the  chaos that seemed to be spinning out of control the past few days, shalom shalom, great peace, entered my heart.  It seemed that a still, small voice said,  “Whenever you choose man’s ways, you aren’t choosing Me.  I am the great I AM, the One Who brings forth bread from the earth, the One Who brings forth the fruit of the vine, the One Who brings shalom, the One Who ….  

“Yahweh has heard my pleading, Yahweh will accept my prayer” (Psalm 6:10).   

©January 2016 Tent Stake Ministries

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