Preparing the Heart for Prayer
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” -- Psalms 139:23-24
Have you ever watched a person who is very competent and experienced in their field of work? Every person like this takes great pains to prepare the place they are going to be working in for the task at hand. Whether it is a painter laying down drop cloths, taping over woodwork, and carefully stirring the paint, or a chef laying out all the food items, utensils and spices for the meal he is preparing in an orderly fashion, we can all understand why this is necessary.
Likewise, in our spiritual lives there must be heart preparation. Too often Christians can go days without really praying. It seems like many people think that prayer “just happens.” Our hearts need preparation if we are going to pray. Here is a simple way to remember how to do this: ACTS!
A – Adoration: Praise the Lord! The disciple’s prayer begins “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matt. 6:9). Praise God just for Who He is! Too often we only thank God for what He has done (we need do this also!).
C – Confess: Confess your sins to Him. In Psalm 66:18 we read: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Just as a painter would clear the items out of a room before he’d start to paint it, we must clear our hearts of anything that would clutter and hinder our sweet fellowship with our heavenly Father. First John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
T – Thanksgiving: Thank God for what He has done for you; have an “attitude of gratitude!” “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:”
(Psalms 92:1). Make it a habit to write down things to thank the Lord for, and purpose to review your list periodically.
S – Supplication: Years ago John R. Rice preached a message many times entitled “Prayer is Asking.” While prayer is more than just asking, we must remember that we are to ask God for what we need (supply; supplication). Jesus commanded us to ask! (John 16:24; Luke 11:9-10).
· Is my prayer life simply calling out to God when I have a need? Or is it a daily exercise of communion and fellowship with God?
· Try the ACTS prayer plan today and consciously focus on the Supplier (God) first. When you have confessed known sin, and thanked God for His mighty works in your life, you can then freely and boldly make all of your prayer requests and needs known unto Him. (Phil 4:6; Heb. 4:16) - Peter Laitres