I have been looking at the ACTS prayer model recently. This is the final post on that thought (at least for a little while). In this post, I want to take a look at the final part of the ACTS prayer model: supplication.
Webster defines supplication as a humble prayer, entreaty, or petition. I have come to find out that what most people think of when they think about prayer is this part. This is the requests that we bring before God. It might be help that we need. It might be a petition that we are bringing before the Father. It might be a time of interceding on someone’s behalf. All of these are good things and should be done.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6 NASB)
God wants us to come to Him and bring our requests, petitions, and intercessions along. What I fear is that for many, that is all they do.
One thing that I find interesting, especially with this ACTS prayer model is that only 25% of the time in prayer is spent on the requests. 75% of the time in prayer is spent on displaying our love (adoration) for God, confessing sin so that fellowship is restored, and thanking God for the blessings He has given to us. Does that look like your prayer life?
I must confess that many times far more time I get those percentages backwards. I spend most of my time on my requests and not near enough on simply knowing God more. Jesus said that eternal life was to know the Father and the Son intimately (John 17:3). If eternal life is knowing God more, am I missing it by spending all my prayer time on requests? The requests are not bad. They are even welcome.
James 4:3 says, “You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires.” So how do we keep our requests from being selfish? This ACTS prayer model shows a great way. If we spend time at the beginning on adoration, confession, and thanksgiving, then our hearts are tuned to God’s heart. Just like an instrument needs to be tuned properly, so our tuned hearts help keep our prayers out of the realm of selfishness. When we express our love and thanksgiving to God and allow Him to restore the fellowship through forgiveness, then we are able to see our requests more like God does. It is at this point we can see more clearly what God may be doing and how He wants to answer our requests.
As you spend time with God in prayer, don’t treat Him as some cosmic genie. Realize who you are talking to… the living God of the universe. Take some time to get to know Him and express your adoration and thanksgiving to Him. Allow Him to tune your heart to His… then let your requests be made known.