your prayers start with Who?


If you were to use a song to describe your prayer life would it be the old tune from the eighties ‘I Can’t Drive 55’?  What I mean to say is that many of us are tempted not to linger in prayer…we’re tempted to squeal our tires right to the asking for stuff part.  (And when I say ‘stuff’ I use that term broadly, not just for physical and material needs but also for spiritual needs.)  The Bible includes a variety of prayers but for our purposes, I’m going to keep it to four…so we’re going to launch into a four post blog series on four different types of prayer that build on one another.  And as we work through the four types, I think it’ll become clearer to you.  I picked up the ACTS acronym somewhere in my twenty-some-odd years as a believer and I have found that it keeps me balanced in public and private prayer.  Many have adopted the ACTS acronym to assist them in their prayer lives.

A – adoration

C – confession

T – thanksgiving

S – supplication – not my favourite word because some don’t know what it means but I’ll work with it.

The slump that we can get into is to get right down to business of asking God to intervene in our lives (supplication) but adoration prayer reminds us of Who we’re praying too.  If we jump right in, it’s easy to come haphazardly before the Father like we’re talking to one of our peeps in the workplace or in the classroom but God ain’t one of our peeps!  He is holy.   He is sovereign.  He is mighty.  He is all-knowing.  He loves deeply but is also a God of justice.  He is Creator and Sustainer God.

When we get God right when we pray, when we see Him more accurately, more biblically, it sets the tone for the rest of our prayer…it transforms our prayers.  When we see Him for Who He is when we pray we are less likely to approach Him like He’s Santa Claus and we’ve got our wish list a mile long.  He’s God.  He’s God.  And it’s only because a person is ‘in Christ’ that they get to approach Him in prayer.  (1 Timothy 2:5)

It puts us in the right frame of mind.  It humbles us and reminds us of who we’re approaching.  It stuns us as to His mercy, grace, and patience that He would want to have anything to do with the likes of us. 

Imagine you’re at the Grand Canyon but the whole time you’re there, this lady is walking around looking at herself in a mirror…that would be quite a rattling picture.  She’s before a great work of God’s Creation and she can’t stop looking at the beaut in the mirror.  If she could just put the mirror down!  That’s what we can do if we don’t start with adoration.  We can quickly skip past the Awesome God we’re praying to, to get to little ol’ us.  

I am drawn to a little praise stop again and again that is found at the end of the eleventh chapter of Romans.  Paul has been hunkering down and exposing the great mysteries of our awesome God and he’s got his knee bowed in praise.  (This is one of the reasons from Scripture that I believe that the Word and prayer go together…but that’s another blog for another time)  But as Paul lingers over the greatness of God he pauses as if His face is pressed into the carpet and says:

[33] Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

[34] “For who has known the mind of the Lord,

or who has been his counselor?”

[35] “Or who has given a gift to him

that he might be repaid?”

[36] For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

(Romans 11:33-36 ESV)

I’m not suggesting that you should always start your prayer with these four verses or only make your adoration a few lines long when you pray, but this is such a great model for us.  Paul was rocked by God…and when we come to Him and are rocked by Him it really affects the rest of our prayer.  It puts Him in His rightful spot as glorious and good and holy. Here’s a few verses to prime your pump to praise:  

[24:1] The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof,

the world and those who dwell therein,

(Psalm 24:1 ESV)

[17] To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

(1 Timothy 1:17 ESV)

[29] …for our God is a consuming fire.

(Hebrews 12:29 ESV)

[3] And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;

the whole earth is full of his glory!”

(Isaiah 6:3 ESV)

[17] The LORD your God is in your midst,

a mighty one who will save;

he will rejoice over you with gladness;

he will quiet you by his love;

he will exult over you with loud singing.

(Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)

God’s character is foundational for a Him honouring prayer.  It sets the stage to remind you and me of the glorious One we’re addressing.


One thought on “your prayers start with Who?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s