In the life of a Christian the act of prayer is considered one of the most necessary spiritual acts. Yet, it is one of the most challenging aspects of our walk with the Lord. We don’t seem to be able to be very good at it or at least very consistent with it. Jesus’ disciples wanted to know more. In Luke 11, we are told, “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’” That has been the cry of disciples for 2000 years – “Lord, teach us to pray!”
The early Church was a Church of prayer. In Acts 2 we read, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” The life of the Church centered around their collective need for prayer.
The Apostle Paul’s teaching reminded the Philippians of the necessity of prayer. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” In his Epistle, James teaches, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Our prayers are powerful and effective! Paul, in I Thessalonians 5:17, reminds us to “pray continually”. There are some real challenges to following that wise counsel. Yet, it can be done.
We teach the Confirmation Class to pray using the acronym ACTS.
A – Adoration; we begin the prayer with a prayer of adoration where we simply adore and praise God for Who He is.
C – Confession; this is a time of confessing sins to God.
T – Thanksgiving; the Christian has much to be thankful for whether it is physical, earthly blessings or spiritual blessings like faith, forgiveness, grace.
S – Supplication; in this last part of the prayer we ask God for those things on our hearts. This is prayer for others in need and for our own needs and concerns.
Martin Luther has said, “Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon.” We would be wise indeed if we concentrated more on prayer and less on the stresses and worries of life. Luther quips, “Pray, and let God worry.” That seems like good advice!