Many Christians have structured their prayers around the acronym A-C-T-S, which stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. The Psalms are filled with whole chapters that can assist believers.
Prayer without adoration is like a body without a soul. It is not only incomplete, it just doesn’t work. Through adoration we express our genuine, heartfelt love and longing for God. The Psalms, in particular, can be transformed into passionate prayers of adoration.
Read Psalm 95:6:
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
Not only do the Psalms abound with illustrations of adoration, but they are replete with exclamations of confession as well. Those who are redeemed by the person and work of Jesus are positively declared righteous before God. In practical terms, however, we are still sinners who sin everyday. While unconfessed sin will not break our union with God, it will break our communion with God. Thus confession is a crucial aspect of daily prayer. Go to Psalm 51, a beautiful example of a confessional prayer of David:
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies.
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin. (verses 1-2)
Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more basic to prayer than thanksgiving. Psalm 100:4 teaches us to “enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.” Frankly, failure to do so is the stuff of pagan babblings and carnal Christianity. Pagans, says Paul, know about God, but they “neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him” (Romans 1:21).
Carnal Christians likewise fail to thank God regularly for his many blessings. They suffer from what might best be described as selective memories and live by their feelings rather than by faith. They are prone to forget the blessings of yesterday as they thanklessly barrage the throne of grace with new request each day.
And thankfulness flows from the sure knowledge that our heavenly Father knows exactly what we need and will supply it.
I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be on my lips.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together. (Psalms 34:1-3)
In the context of having regular communication with God, our heavenly Father desires that his children will bring their requests before his throne of grace with praise and thanksgiving. After all, it was his Son Jesus who taught the disciples to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
And as we do so we must be ever mindful of the fact that the purpose of supplication is not to pressure God into providing us with provisions and pleasures, but rather to conform us to his eternal purposes.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass. (Psalms 4-5)
Indeed, as I have experienced firsthand, prayer is a beautiful foretaste of something we will experience for all eternity. Let the Psalms guide you daily into communication and communion with our loving Father!