Have you ever heard the acronym ACTS? It’s been around for a while and is a great way to remind us how we should pray. The ACTS acronym is an especially useful tool for corporate prayer. Here’s how it’s broken down:
A is for Adoration (praising God)
C is for Confession (confessing our sins to God)
T is for Thanksgiving (giving thanks to God)
S is for Supplication (bringing our requests to God)
However, a few years ago, I realized that one VERY important element was missing from this acronym. This element should actually come before all the others. Here is a verse that describes it:
But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. Mark 11:25
Ah ha! All of our prayers really should begin with forgiveness—transforming ACTS into FACTS. Even before we confess our own sins to God, we should ask Him to reveal to us anyone that we have not forgiven. We should then forgive that person and ask God to make that forgiveness complete in our hearts.
Sometimes we’ll spend more time on this step than any other, depending on how many people have sinned against us that week (either by commission or omission).
I know sometimes I find myself offended by small things. Even these need cleansing before God. For example: When my husband doesn’t show interest in or compassion toward my latest problem, I feel a tad slighted or hurt. These are things that can send me to bed feeling a little sorry for myself and a smidgen cold toward him. This attitude is a hindrance to both a great marriage and my prayers being heard by God.
So before we ask of God, before we present our needs to Him, before we even begin to praise and adore Him, we should forgive all the transgressions of others. Then we can, with a sincere heart, pray, “Forgive us AS we have forgiven others.” You see, the act of forgiving others will have already been completed.
F – Forgiveness
A – Adoration
C – Confession
T – Thanksgiving
S – Supplication
And those are the facts!
Read on for more spiritual encouragement and inspiration.