A Pattern for prayer

In order to help us remember the important parts of prayer, the acronym ACTS has been developed. This is a simple mnemonic device to help us remember the four basic elements of prayer.


A = Adoration:

We put aside all our thoughts and troubles and come into the presence of God.It is a time for "turning our heart home...," a pause in our activities to focus on God, and God alone.

For many this is a time of praise for all the glory of God revealed around us. For others it is a time of quiet listening, putting all other thoughts aside and seeking a clear focus of our love for God.

It is a time to put things in perspective, to remember "who we are and whose we are." It sets the stage for all that is to follow.

C = Confession:

This is the time for truth telling. Even as we know God is aware of all our faults and failures, it is important to let God know that WE are aware of them as well.

Too often we can hide and deny the places that hold the most pain. Too often the world rushes us on and we allow situations to fester.

Truth telling involves honest appraisal both of the good and the bad in our life. It is a time to speak to God with the deepest trust that these circumstances need attention, healing and resolution.

Often this honesty needs to be spoken aloud, shared with a trusted friend or spiritual director for in the speaking, insight often comes.

Being honest before God may lead us into some painful realization as to our need for seeking help, reconciliation or guidance.

Such Honesty is the most direct and powerful way to resolve the situations of our life.

T = Thanksgiving:

In the context of adoration and with ourselves being very honest before God, we are then able to give thanks.

We "count our blessings" as we recognize all that God has done for us. From the smallest gift of a flower blooming on a concrete sidewalk, to the awesome love of God in the Grace and Sacrifice of Jesus Christ... we give thanks.

We give thanks for the food we have, the shelter provided, the family and friends, the church family and its support.

We give thanks for hope and healing, claiming all that God has promised to us. We give thanks for the opportunity to be in prayer, to speak with the everlasting God of creation.

We give thanks for the opportunity to worship in freedom, and without coercion. We give thanks for love, and for our Lord.

S = Supplication

Supplication is simply the sharing of our needs. They are different than our wants and desires. God has promised to care for our needs.

We may recognize the shallowness of some of our desires. We may uncover a deeper need long ago buried. We may discover God has placed in our life new solutions and answers to our prayers.

As we go over our concerns for others, we may be given insights into how best to minister to others. At times, names may come to us "out of the blue." And perhaps a phone call is needed, a card, or a visit or a deep word of prayer for them.

God has a way of using our supplications to become occasions for our own growth in our spiritual journey. We are often confronted with actions and opportunities which, if followed through, enrich us greatly.

ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.

Can you see how these letters can be used in your prayer time? Can you find 5-10 minutes a day and give them a try?

As you begin, go through the letters, first with A (adoration), pause and consider how great God is. Then after a few moments, move on to C (confession), and do the same. Then move on to T (thanksgiving) and end with S (supplication.)

Take the time in the morning, or at lunch or in the car with the music off. You'll be surprised at how powerful God will be in your life with just these few moments, these few letters: ACTS.

How's your life been? How goes it with your soul? How's your prayer life?

by Rev. W. "Terry" Van Hook of Culver-Palms United Methodist Church.

Prayer Guides          Home

Revised: October 19, 2000.