Why and How do I pray?

There is no formula to prayer—it is simply conversing with God. It is essentially talking with God as you would talk with an earthly parent who loves you and wants the best for you. God is your heavenly Father who loves you perfectly.  

This Alpha video series is a helpful beginning to answer that question: Why and How Do I Pray?

A Practical Tool

The ACTS model will be helpful to you as you learn how to pray. ACTS stands for Acknowledge, Confess, Thank God, and Submit.

Acknowledge who God is. We encourage you to begin your time of prayer by adoring and praising God. Praise Him for who He is and for all that He has done for you. God delights in your praises!  

Confess, the next component, means agreeing with God about the things that you have done wrong. It’s a time to express sorrow about what you have said, thought, or done that is not pleasing to Him. Ask God to forgive you for these things, and then believe that He does so freely. When you confess your sins, you receive God’s cleansing and this helps to remove any barrier in your communication with Him (1 John 1:9).

Thank God for His blessings. Thank Him for His love, protection, and provision just to name a few things.  For your family, friends, etc.)

Submit is the final component, and this means praying for your needs and for the needs of others, such as friends, family, your pastor, government leaders, etc. You may want to pray for such things as God’s guidance, wisdom, and opportunities to serve. 

Keep in mind that the ACTS model serves only as a guide to help you, not a rigid formula to follow. There is no “canned” approach that you need to take; just talk from your heart. Following Jesus is about a relationship between you and God.  Prayer is one of the ways we spend time with Him, and our relationship grows.

There are some additional things that might help:  

  • Set aside a specific time to pray each day and be intentional to keep it.
  • Pick a quiet place where you can be alone with God.
  • You may want to begin your time by reading the Bible. Select a passage to read (more about reading the Bible here) and spend some time thinking about it deeply. Reflect on what God is impressing on your heart to you through the passage.
  • Ask God to help you apply what you are learning, feeling, and hearing.

God wants you to share your heart with Him, and He wants to share His heart with you—this can take place anytime, day or night!

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