"Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." Matthew 6:9-13
Traveling and living in many parts of the world has been a great blessing to me. It has helped me to understand that God is not American. Through interacting with so many wonderful people from nations all over the world, my values have been broadened, my convictions expanded and my soul enriched. God's eye is on the whole world today and He watches over all the issues in every nation. (Travel was one of my purposed goals for our children as we wanted them to taste the world and have compassion on the needs of other cultures--so we saved and scrimped to be able to fill this goal!)
Therefore, our prayers before His throne must be in light of His transcending purposes in history beyond our own borders.
Still, He listens to us with all of us in our concerns right where we live! This is just part of why I love coming to Him in the spirit of His prayer shared here in Matthew 6. His will encompasses all of history and everything that must happen to accomplish His purposes. So in the spirit of humility, we come to Him with our prayers to seek His will and His grace, knowing that somehow, mysteriously, He allows those prayers to influence issues that take place. He does listen; He does respond; and He is our High Priest who prays alongside us, helping us to do His will.
For many years, Clay has used this acronym to guide our family in prayer. We call it the ACTS of Prayer.
A--Adore Him. Coming before Him puts us in the right frame of mind–acknowledging his greatness and power as we come into His presence with our requests. A good place to start is Psalm 145, especially verses 8-21. We take time to praise Him for some of the attributes mentioned there.
C--Confess our sin. We come to Him to humble ourselves, asking His forgiveness for our own sins as well as for those of the church of Christ and our nation. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Daniel confessing the sins of his whole nation is our model.
T—Thanksgiving. This is where we remember what He has done personally to lead us, provide for us, and answer our prayers. We humbly recognize His great care. Psalm 95:1-3 gives us the pattern.
S–Supplication. We ask God to hear our requests and to answer what is on our hearts, according to His will. “Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you.”
Our world offers us plenty of opportunity to worry, to become anxious, to despair over where our nation is headed or whether the next generation will serve God. Economic concerns trouble many and relationships always present their own difficulties. When we come to Him asking for Him to work in our nations, let us ask for Him to bring righteousness, knowing that righteousness exalts a nation. We need to be careful to live our own lives righteously! When crisis brings us to fear or catastrophes happen or national needs arise, these issues always put us in the place we should have been all along—on our knees before Him.
Times of crisis help us to understand that we are not in control of our lives and force us to cry out to Him. He always wants us to seek Him and to ask for His will to be done--but times like these require it and help us put the concerns of life in proper perspective. May all of us who believe around the world humbly seek His power and grace for our nations and for His strength and glory to be more clearly seen.
When we spend time in prayer, He fills us with His own love and peace.
If you would like to take your study deeper today, complete the reflection and application below:
- “ … and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5 Are you carrying many burdens? Write down the things that concern you, using the written page as an offering to the Lord. Ask Him to show you where you can offer thanks for good things you might not see on the surface. Dedicate the things that concern you to Him and ask for His love to be poured out within your heart!
- “Lord, teach us to pray ...” Luke 11:1 Have you taken time to teach your children how to pray? Share this acronym with them and use it to pray together!