How To Start Each Day With Heartfelt Prayers – Part 2 of 2

4931133631_a8ee225125_mDo you find that your prayers are sometimes labored and tedious, and do you repeat the same things over and over again? If so, here’s help; learn and practice the five main elements of prayer. From antiquity to the present they are considered to be essentials of prayer.

FIRST, ADORATION: This means to begin by revering God. Address him as the Almighty who is at the same time the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Psalms give us words we can borrow:

Not to us, O Lord, not to us / but to your name be the glory, / because of your love and faithfulness (Psalm 115:1). Or,

O Lord my God, you are very great; / you are clothed with splendor and majesty (Psalm 104:1).

Also, the very first words of the prayer our Lord taught us to pray begin with adoration: Our Father in heaven; hallowed (holy, honored, respected) be your name. (Matthew 6:9).

SECOND, CONFESSION: Thomas Oden writes, Taking personal responsibility for sin is the heart of evangelical repentance. We repent initially when we are stricken with conviction over our sins and by faith we become believers. But is there a place for repentance afterwards?

The Apostle Paul contends, “We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:2). Also, the Apostle John says with certainty, “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin” (1 John 5:18). Being born of the Spirit, (Titus 3:5 — 7) our new aspirations are to please God, so sinning constantly and then needing to repent cannot be a normal healthy pattern.

But although sin is never necessary, it is always possible. Therefore, while the Apostle John assures us that we have broken with the life of sin, at the same time he provides for the confession of sins. He is speaking to Christians, when he says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and will purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

So in our daily prayers we stay alert to the peril of pride, self-righteousness, untruthfulness, or other lapses. It is for such that John assures believers, “if we confess our sins …” forgiveness and cleansing will immediately be given.

THIRD, PETITION: Our petitions are requests for ourselves. We petition for grace to be stronger in the face of temptations, to overcome in ways we may have failed, claiming the blood of Christ to cover missteps and blunders as well as moments of conscious disobedience.

As the Hebrew letter says, “[Jesus is] …. a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God [to] make atonement for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). He is our advocate before God at all times.

FOURTH, INTERCESSION: Intercession refers to requests we bring before God on behalf of others, ranging from immediate family needs to struggles of the persecuted on the other side of our globe. The Apostle Paul calls us urgently to this ministry of intercession (Ephesians 6:18).

Moreover, Christians who take intercession seriously often develop a prayer list so that they don’t forget the needs of others for whom they intercede.

FIFTH, THANKSGIVING: If adoration is worshiping God for who he is, thanksgiving is worshiping him for what he has done, or even what we believe he will yet do.

Our thanksgiving is always first for the gift of salvation given to us through Christ’s atoning sacrifice. But we give thanks for life’s daily gifts too — for our food, for rest through the night, for loved ones, for God’s special favors we receive as his providences.

As believers we are to give thanks in every circumstance (Philippians 4:6); and to live thanklessly is to sin (Luke 17:16). We therefore offer prayers of thanksgiving to God through Christ even for what is difficult in our lives.

For example, of some difficult and perplexing situation we might pray, “I don’t understand it, and it is overwhelming me, but I am looking for your goodness and your grace through it, and for this I give thanks.”  (Colossians 3:17).

Take this five-part pattern for your guidance. Ponder its elements and incorporate them into your prayers. And to emphasize part five, keep in mind that when prayer seems hard, it can always be energized by an outpouring of thanksgiving.

 

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Photo credit: Vinoth Chandar (via flickr.com)

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2 thoughts on “How To Start Each Day With Heartfelt Prayers – Part 2 of 2

  1. Good afternoon, Dr. B. This is Rex Bennett. Your posts regularly brighten my day and stir my heart. I enjoyed your reminder about a prayer methodoligy. 30 years ago, in a mentoring program, I was counseled to use the ACTS acronym—Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Very similar to your format. Not long ago, while reading Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer, I took a cue from Herr Bonhoeffer and added “Intercessions.”

    I trust you and Mrs. B are well. May God continue to bless you with good health and a ministry to God’schildren—like me.

  2. I want to remember these 5 elements of prayer,so wherever and whenever I pray I never miss a key element of prayer out.So I decided to devise a mnemonic to help me.

    The 5 elements ,by their initials,read ACPIT.Acpit sounds familiar,maybe a Latin word I once learned. No,I can’t find it in my Latin dictionary.But there is one similar Latin word – capit,meaning captured

    Acpit is an anagram of capit.Let me think.At baptism I gave myself to Christ..It felt like I was completely His.He had bought me by His blood when he died upon the cross for me and all of us.His love captured my heart.By his Love I was captured, or capit.A comes first in the alphabet and A must come first in this mnemonic.So I rearrange capit to become acpit.

    This may sound convoluted ,but for sure I will never forget the 5 elements of prayer now.The mnemonic works.It has done it’s job.Anagram of capi,with A first is .ACPIT.

    .A Adoration is to me whole hearted worship.I think of this as the ultimate love Jesus meant when he told us to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our strength.It’s giving everything of ourselves.Praise in the highest degree.

    C Confession is saying sorry,meaning it,knowing God is our Father who will forgive us as the father welcomed back his prodigal son.When I confess I like also to think of stratagems whereby I may avoid transgressing in this way in future.

    P Petitions are requests,like intercessions.But for ourselves.I see the difference now!

    I Intercessions are requests for others ,near or far,from our family to those we never met but whose suffering has come to our attention.Now for the first time I understand the distinction between petitions and intercessions.Thinking about it,the etymological roots of the two words speak for themselves.Yet it hadn’t clicked for me before this blog.

    T Thanksgiving.Our thankyous.Whenever I reach the thanksgiving part of prayer I suddenly realize how much we have how many gifts from the simple essentials like air r to breathe and inspire and water to quench,cool and clean.Through the beautiful gifts of the home God has given us ,our Earth,with it’s birdsong and trees,fruits and flowers.To the never ending help God gives us in our daily truggles.Thanksgiving always fills me with joy as I realize all the gifts I’s taken for granted.

    There is ome extra element I like to add at the end of my prayer.Maybe it is more an element of meditation or contemplation than of prayer.I call it ,maybe rather coarsely ,’shut up and listen.Praying to God is talking to God.But what about conversation.Listening to God.I try to stop talking ,even thinking.Just keep still and open myself up,passivel.but alertly, to God.It’s not easy ,but with His help it’s possible.Sometimes I can’t hear what God is saying to me.Then later,msaybe days later,something comes to me.Maybe a direction God wants me to take.I do trust in God ! .Sometimes patience is hard,but He never lets me down in the end.

    These last two weeks blogs have made me reconsider how I pray,always a worthwhile thing.The 2 blogs have helped me structure my prayer.

    Thankyou Pastor Don.

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