Since I was in college I have followed a consistent routine of prayer each morning. My prayer involves four considerations: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication: A.C.T.S.
I begin with adoration—-a time just to praise God for who He is. It’s my time to remind myself, and confess to Him my adoration for all that makes Him “God”. It’s often the longest part of my morning prayer and could consume the day if I really gave Him all the credit He deserves!
Next I confess my sins to Him. I don’t make this confession for my salvation or my security, but rather because I truly do want to change and stop making the same offenses against God. Confession is about my “sanctification”, i.e. being made holy. I confess because I want to have less of “me” and more of “Jesus” within me! This could take more than a day, but I limit the confession to the things His Holy Spirit brings to my mind.
My third step is thanksgiving. This is different from adoration. It’s my time to specifically thank Him for recent answers to prayer and to thank Him for all His grace to me before I was even born. I thank Him for the sunrise, the morning drizzle, my cup of coffee, the things He brought into my life yesterday, the things I did not receive that I deserved, and so forth. Too me it’s so important to say, “Thank you” for the things I have asked Him to bring about! We ask—-but do we thank?
My fourth and final step has been supplication, which means “to plead humbly”. This time of asking, or “petition” seems to have grown and grown over the years. But I am getting to a point where I do not ask for His blessings, but am surrendering things to Him instead of petitioning Him to do things my way.
But after more than forty years of using the same formula (ACTS), I realize that there is something more that I am desiring: the excitement and spiritual adrenaline that comes from talking to Him and entering into a relationship with Him as Jesus had. This is the example we were told to follow when Jesus admonished us to “pray in His name”—-which means to pray as He prayed.
How energizing…and fulfilling… to end my morning prayer-time, seeking, confessing and hoping for nothing except to whole-heartedly love Him. I have found the joy that comes not from seeking His love, but, only to love Him. This is the purpose for which I was created, and once I get through the perfunctory prayers each day, I have discovered the pinnacle of my day is that time dedicated to loving Him and speaking to Him in the manner that His Son loved Him and spoke to Him.
My new acronym is no longer “ACTS”, “ACTS!”.