Ways to Pray: ACTS Prayer

by Emily Vanden Heuvel

Natural Flow of Prayer

Ever feel like your prayers wander around? Or do you lose focus in prayer? There are many ways to pray. One tool available is the acronym ACTS. Not only does this acronym help with remembering what to pray for, but it also creates a natural flow of importance for our prayers.

  • Adoration
  • Confession
  • Thanksgiving
  • Supplication


We start our prayers with worship. Adoration means to praise God, to tell him who he is to us. For example, we might pray, “God, you are loving and care for me,” or “I praise you because you are powerful and holy.” Sometimes it may be helpful to recite a favorite verse from the Bible, perhaps from the book of Psalms. We could pray the words of Psalm 100:5, which says, “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”


Worship moves us into confession or telling God what we have done wrong. What sin is keeping you distracted from growing in your faith? Who do you need to forgive? Who or what—instead of God—are you depending on for comfort and guidance? We need to confess our sins to God but know, too, that we are forgiven. We find assurance in Psalm 103:8, which says, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”


Confession frees our anxious minds so that we can move confidently into thanking God for all he has done. Again, the book of Psalms can offer some extra guidance on offering a prayer of thankfulness. The words of Psalm 107:9 can inspire our gratitude: “for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” If you created a list of everything you are thankful for, what would your top ten list be? Could you create a different “top ten” list every day for a week?


Last, we ask God for help. The word used in the ACTS acronym is supplication. What does that mean? Supplication can be asking for help, direction, intervention for others, and other needs to be met. When we pray, we humbly go before God with our requests, trusting that he listens to every word and will answer in his perfect way and time. Psalm 86:6-7 gives us good reasons to bring requests to God: “Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.” We pray that the ACTS prayer acronym will help keep you focused and be a guide.