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prayer
Maintaining a persistent prayer life seems more and more difficult in the hustle and bustle of a busy world.
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FROM 

Christians often use a simple acrostic as a guide to prayer: A.C.T.S. Each of the letters in this acrostic stands for one of the key elements of prayer:

(A) Adoration

(C) Confession

(T) Thanksgiving

(S) Supplication

But not only does this acrostic remind us of the elements of prayer, it shows us the priority we ought to give to each.

The first element of prayer should be adoration, or praise. The Psalms, which are inspired samples of godly prayer, are heavily weighted on the side of adoration. I’ve noticed over many years that as we grow in the discipline and in the delight of prayer, it seems that we naturally spend more and more of our time on this first element.

Second, prayer should include confession of our sin; as we remember who we are when we come into God’s presence, we see that we have come short of His holiness and have need of His forgiveness.

Third, when we pray, we should always give thanks, remembering the grace and mercy God has shown toward us.

Fourth, prayer rightly includes supplication or petition, bringing our requests for the needs of others and ourselves to God.

I think this is a helpful acrostic for remembering both the elements and the priorities of prayer. Unfortunately, we often spell our prayer life something like S.C.A.T., because we start with supplication and spend very little time, if any, on adoration, confession, and thanksgiving.

The Lord’s Prayer

When we look at the Lord’s Prayer, we see adoration at least implied in the petition “Hallowed be Your name.”

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“TO LOOK BACK UPON THE PROGRESS OF THE DIVINE KINGDOM UPON EARTH IS TO REVIEW REVIVAL PERIODS WHICH HAVE COME LIKE REFRESHING SHOWERS UPON DRY AND THIRSTY GROUND, MAKING THE DESERT TO BLOSSOM AS THE ROSE, AND BRINGING NEW ERAS OF SPIRITUAL LIFE AND ACTIVITY JUST WHEN THE CHURCH HAD FALLEN UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE APATHY OF THE TIMES.”

~ E.M. BOUNDS

 

“God can handle your doubt, anger, fear, grief, confusion, and questions. You can bring everything to him in prayer.”

~ Rick Warren

Prayer “must have the passion and warmth of love and communion because communion with God is the crown and apex of true religion.”

~ John Murray quotes in Timothy Keller, Prayer14.

“Time alone with the Lord Jesus each day is the indispensable condition of growth and power.”

~ Andrew Murray

“Church revitalization will only ever happen in answer to faith-filled, prevailing prayer. It is greatly to the glory of God to revitalize a church of humble, prayerful people. But it is greatly dishonoring to him to suppose this transformation can come about any other way.”

~ Andrew M DavisRevitalize, 94.

“Christ is our life: in heaven He ever liveth to pray; His live in us an ever-praying life, if we but trust Him for it. Christ teaches us to pray not only by example, by instruction, by command, by promises, but by showing us Himself, the everlasting Intercessor, as our Life.” 

Andrew MurrayWith Christ in the School of Prayer(preface)

Why We Should Pray

“And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ ”

A young lawyer who had just opened his law practice was sitting in his chair behind his new executive desk, waiting for his first client to come in. When he saw a man walking toward his office, he picked up the phone and began talking to his imaginary assistant. He said, “Yes, I am so busy right now. Ask them to call back. I have so many clients, I just don’t have time.” He hung up the phone, sure that he had just impressed his first visitor.

“I’m from the phone company,” the man said. “I’m here to connect your phone.”

That’s how it is for us when we try to impress God with things we say and do. Jesus told the story of two men who went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee who prayed, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men-extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess” (Luke 18:11–12 NKJV).

The other was a tax collector who simply said, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (verse 13 NKJV).

Jesus said of the tax collector, “This man went down to his house justified rather than the other” (verse 14 NKJV). The primary problem of the Pharisees, the religious elite, was that prayer, for them, was theater. It was a performance. They would stand praying on a street corner, and sometimes someone would sound a trumpet. Jesus was saying that God doesn’t care about things like that. They were so concerned with impressing people, but God wasn’t impressed.

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“…when we learn to regard it (prayer) as the highest part of the work entrusted to us, the root and strength of all other work, we shall see that there is nothing that we so need to study and practise as the art of praying aright.” 

~ Andrew MurrayWith Christ in the School of Prayer(preface)

 

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