ACTS Prayer Example: 4 Simple Steps to Powerful Prayer

ACTS prayer example (3) Thanksgiving someone in worship of thanksgiving

Do you struggle with knowing how to pray? Perhaps prayer is new to you and you’re afraid you’re not doing it “right.” Or maybe you are weary of your prayer routine, finding that you are only reviewing a list of your prayer requests.

While there are many examples of ways to pray, one of the easiest to understand and follow is the ACTS Prayer example.

The ACTS acronym stands for:

  • Adoration
  • Confession
  • Thanksgiving
  • Supplication (or giving your prayer requests to God).

This prayer model is a powerful way to pray, helping us remember our place before the Lord, our shortcomings, and our provision from the Lord, in addition to asking our dear Lord to help us with our worries and concerns.

It also can help us to be consistent in prayer, to increase the amount of time we pray, and to connect more thoroughly with the Lord.

Examine the ACTS Prayer method and see if it will help you to be more faithful in prayer! Don’t miss the helpful ACTS prayer example worksheet at the end of this post.

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Understanding the ACTS Prayer Example

ACTS prayer example (18) the 4 steps of acts prayer

As Christians, we have the opportunity to talk with God through prayer. Hebrews 4:16 says “Let’s therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace for help in time of need.”

We have the privilege to draw near to God through prayer and see how He will provide for our needs. But learning how to pray can feel intimidating.

The ACTS prayer method is a tool to help Christians pray in a way that focuses on God, what He has done, and what He will do. 

A prayer method or prayer model is simply a tool to help you pray. Some people object to any kind of structure in prayer, saying that the Holy Spirit helps us pray. That is true, but He can also help us pray within a framework that might help us better focus.

You won’t find the ACTS prayer example exactly in the Bible, especially its simple acronym. However, you will find all the aspects of it in the Bible. You can read more about the history of the ACTS Prayer model here if you are interested. 

Let’s explore the elements of prayer contained in the ACTS prayer acronym.

Adoration helps us reflect on who God is. We praise the Lord for His awesomeness and worthiness. Confession reminds us where we fall short and helps us repent before the Lord. Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to thank God for the many gifts with which He has blessed us.

Supplication is the part of prayer that we are most familiar with – talking to God about our prayer requests. 

But one of the implications of supplication is that we are humbly asking God to take care of our prayer request. We are putting our prayer needs under God’s supervision and letting go of our control of them.

Including other aspects of prayer besides just our prayer requests can make a huge difference in how we approach our prayer time.

This can help us have a more balanced time of prayer, where we aren’t just focusing on ourselves, but spending time on worshiping the Lord, asking for forgiveness, and thanking Him for what He has done in our lives.

We can all need help with prayer. Even the disciples of Jesus had to ask Him for help. “Lord, teach us to pray,” asked one of the disciples in Luke 11:1.

ACTS prayer example (8) Lord teach us to pray Luke 11 1

Jesus then went on to give them a model of prayer in what is commonly referred to as the Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11:2-4. While it doesn’t follow the order of the ACTS prayer example, it contains most of the elements.

If the Lord’s Prayer is familiar to you, some of the words might not seem as you remember. Some older Christians learned it in the King James Version. It is beautiful and poetic language but is not as easily understandable, using the everyday language of the 1600s and not today’s vocabulary.

For Adoration, the Lord’s Prayer includes “May your name be kept holy” (or in the KJV, “Hallowed be thy name.”) in verse 2. To begin, the prayer acknowledges God’s perfect holiness.

In Confession, skipping ahead to verse 4, we are told to pray to “forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” This part of the prayer reminds us to seek God’s forgiveness, but also to be forgiving of other people.

For Thankfulness, there is not necessarily a direct correlation. One might argue that asking the Lord for our daily bread shows a reliance on God for what we need and a recognition of what He has done in the past. But it’s not a direct connection.

Just because thankfulness is not in this example of prayer does not mean that it is not biblical. There are many times where thankfulness to God is valued; just think of the ten lepers being healed (Luke 17:11-17.)

Adding thankfulness to the Lord for how He has blessed us in the distant and recent past is never a bad addition to prayer.

And in Supplication, in the Lord’s Prayer, we see a number of ways where we submit our prayer requests to God and trust Him to answer them according to His will.  We should ask for our bread “day by day” (vs. 3). 

For those who want to know what will happen every minute for the rest of their lives, this is a great reminder of daily reliance on God.

We also should be asking God to deliver us from temptation and the evil one, in verse 4. And in verse 2, we ask for God’s will to be accomplished here.

One might expect an example from Christ Jesus, the Son of God and our Savior, to be longer. Yet in Luke 2, it is contained in just a few verses. It’s not overly complicated and covers a great deal of what we concern ourselves with every day.

With the ACTS Prayer model reflecting the Lord’s Prayer in many ways, it’s a great way to structure your prayer time. Let’s examine it further.

Navigating the Four Steps of the ACTS Prayer Model

ACTS prayer example (13) ACTS prayer acronym

Now that you understand the four steps of the ACTS Prayer model, let’s delve into the details of each one, with examples of what you might say for each one, or Scriptures from which you might draw.

You’ll find much of this information in our printable ACTS Prayer Example worksheet at the end of this post.

If you go through this and get a step “wrong,” please don’t be discouraged. This is simply a prayer tool, and it’s not a sin to not pray this way or not do it perfectly. But many have found that this prayer model or similar ones have helped grow their prayer life, so it is worth trying out.

Adoration – Focusing on Our Awesome God

ACTS prayer example (14) ACTS prayer acronym with emphasize on adoration

Many of us, when we say a quick prayer or even a very long prayer, just go right to what we need. Does God hear those prayers? Of course He does.

But when we gloss over who God is, we miss the opportunity to really reflect on our worthy, faithful, and powerful God. Preparing our heart by adoring God in prayer helps us get a better picture of who God is.

In our immature, human understanding of God, we might think of Him as a way to get what we want. We can reduce Him to a vending machine – put in prayer, get an answer to prayer. 

Yet in prayer, we get the opportunity to be in conversation with the Lord. He can change our heart, our thoughts, and our actions. But we can move more quickly to this change if we are praying beyond just what we want.

Adoration, which you might call praise or worship of God, gives us time to focus on God. We look at Him according to God’s Word and not our own experiences. We reflect on the characteristics of God. Our God never changes, and He will always be faithful and true.

Here are some ideas on what to pray during your time of adoration. Try to focus on just adoring God here. There will be time later to ask for your prayer requests.

Reflect on a characteristic of God using these Scriptures. Read the Bible verse and praise God for that characteristic.

Bible Verses for Adoration of God’s Characteristics

His faithfulness. “God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9

His glory. “The heavens declare the glory of God. The expanse shows his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1

His awesomeness. “You are awesome, God, in your sanctuaries. The God of Israel gives strength and power to his people. Praise be to God!” Psalm 68:35

ACTS prayer example (9) Psalm 68 35

His strength. “For the LORD your God, he is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, the mighty, and the awesome, who doesn’t respect persons or take bribes.” Deuteronomy 10:17 WEBBE 

His wisdom. “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power. His understanding is infinite.” Psalm 147:5

His grace. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.” Titus 2:11

His perfection. “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” Isaiah 6:3 KJV

His sufficiency. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow.” James 1:17

His mercy. “But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5

His steadfast love. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

Start by saying, “God, You are (fill in the characteristic.)” Follow up with what you see in that Bible verse. Add the other good things that come to mind about our Heavenly Father when you reflect on those truths. Praise Him for that aspect of His character.

Confession – Asking God for Forgiveness

ACTS prayer example (15) ACTS prayer acronym with emphasize on confession

In today’s culture, even inside some churches, we don’t have the right perspective on sin.

There’s a trend to be so positive about ourselves that we don’t acknowledge our own sin. When the focus is on “following my heart” and “being true to myself,” we can rationalize pretty much anything as the right thing to do.

Or, our sins always loom above us, and we are always on the lookout for other’s sins as well. We don’t live a forgiven life, and we have very little grace or compassion for others.

Living a life of repentance before God is confessing your sin to God and asking HIm to forgive you and help you to change. Your confession of sin does not need to be reserved only for a church reverend, pastor or leader.

As Christians, our sin can separate us in our fellowship from God. Psalm 66:18 reminds us that “If I cherished sin in my heart, the Lord wouldn’t have listened.”. While we are still children of God, we may be hindered from enjoying the intimate relationship we could have with God.

It’s always best to get into the right place about an issue by looking at God’s Word. These Bible verses are a great place to start in confession of our sins to God.

Bible Verses about Confession and Repentance

“Have mercy on me, God, according to your loving kindness. According to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.” Psalm 51:1

ACTS prayer example (10) Psalm 51 1

“I acknowledged my sin to you. I didn’t hide my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” Psalm 32:5 WEBBE

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

You can begin this by saying, “Lord, I have this sin in my life. [Elaborate on this in prayer.] Please forgive me and help me to change. Thank You for your forgiveness.”

Sometimes you will “feel” forgiven, perhaps even a sense of freedom, and those are great moments! Other times, you might feel exactly the same. Our feelings don’t determine how forgiven we are. 

Sometimes we will just have to trust the Lord that we are forgiven for those sins. Remember the words of Psalm 103:12. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

Some people may also use this time to forgive others, as referred to in the Lord’s Prayer. “Forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.” (Luke 11:4 KJV)

Thanksgiving – Being Grateful for God’s Blessings

ACTS prayer example (16) ACTS prayer acronym with emphasize on thanksgiving

If you are confused that there is both adoration and thanksgiving in a prayer model, you aren’t alone. Both involve being thankful, but there is an important difference.

Adoration looks at who God is. Our attitude is one of praising God simply because of His character.

Thanksgiving reflects on what God has done in our lives. We remember how He has blessed us and we give Him our thanks for it.

Does God know what He has done in your life and needs to be told? Of course not. But we need this. Without it, we may not see the pattern of God’s provision and plan in our lives. 

So spend some time in thankfulness, whether you are reflecting on yesterday, the past month, or your whole life. You will see God’s blessing and mercy in your life.

There may be days where it is harder to find something to be thankful for. In those times, remember that our suffering isn’t for nothing. 

James 1:2-3 reminds us to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various temptations, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” God redeems the difficult times in our lives by growing our faith in Him. 

Start your time of reflection with one of these Bible verses.

“Giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father.” Ephesians 3:20

“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“I will give thanks to the LORD according to his righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.” Psalm 7:17 WEBBE

“I will give you thanks in the great assembly. I will praise you among many people.” Psalm 35:18

ACTS prayer example (11) psalm 35 18

“I will give you thanks forever, because you have done it. I will hope in your name, for it is good, in the presence of your saints.” Psalm 52:9

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body, and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

You can begin by saying, “Thank You, God, for so many things to be thankful for. Today, I am thankful for [one of the blessings you have seen in your life.] Thank you for providing for that.

Try to find several blessings to be thankful for. Even when it’s hard, this can be a helpful way to see that God is providing for you even when you don’t love the circumstances.

Supplication – Presenting Your Prayer Requests to God

ACTS prayer example (17) ACTS prayer acronym with emphasize on supplication

Supplication isn’t in our everyday vocabulary nowadays. It can be helpful to look at the definition of supplicate from Merriam Webster. It means “to make a humble entreaty.”

This is a good time to examine how we approach God in prayer. Do we go in with our list of demands? Or do we approach God humbly to present our petitions to Him?

This is where the first three steps of adoration, confession, and thankfulness can place us in the right mindset to make a humble entreaty before the Lord for our prayer requests for ourselves and for others.

ACTS prayer example (5) silhouette of a woman praying in front of a lake

Other prayer models emphasize praying for others. They may use this section for intercession, which means “prayer, petition, or entreaty in favor of another.” 

This is the time in prayer to ask God about your prayer requests. The supplication aspect reinforces our need to trust God for Him to answer according to His will. 

The prayer requests can be for ourselves or for the needs of others.

Some people find it helpful to find a Bible verse to pray about their prayer request. Others like to reflect on a Bible verse about prayer or God and continue in prayer from that point. You’ll find a variety of these verses below.

Bible Verse to Pray in Supplication

Verses about Prayer

“Casting all your worries on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“All things, whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:22

“The LORD is near to all those who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18

ACTS prayer example (12) psalm 145 18

“Answer me when I call, God of my righteousness. Give me relief from my distress. Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.” Psalm 4:1

“Seek the LORD and his strength. Seek his face forever more.” 1 Chronicles 16:11

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2

Verses to Pray about a Person or a Prayer Request

For the Salvation of Others. (From the parable of the sower) “Others fell on good soil and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.” Matthew 13:8. 

Pray that God would prepare the hearts of those who will hear His Word. Pray that they will be receptive to the Good News.

For Healing. “Praise the LORD, my soul! All that is within me, praise his holy name! Praise the LORD, my soul, and don’t forget all his benefits, who forgives all your sins, who heals all your diseases.” Psalm 103:1-3 WEBBE

Pray for good health and for God to heal your ailments. 

For Increased Faith. “Immediately the father of the child cried out with tears, “I believe. Help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

Thank God for the faith that He has given you through the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to help you grow in your faith as you learn more about Him through prayer and His Word.

For Provision. “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Thank God for His provision in the past. Tell Him what you are worried about in the present, and ask Him to help you be content with what He has provided.

For Hope. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

As we try to actually trust God with answering our prayers according to His will, it can be helpful to add, from the Lord’s Prayer, “May your will be done.” (from Luke 2:2) This attitude of agreement with the Lord, that you seek His will and not your own, is a powerful prayer in itself.

At the end of all this, ask for all of these things in Jesus’ Name, and say Amen. This might be just a habit for many, but it is actually a meaningful aspect of prayer. We only have access to God through Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross.

Putting It All Together: An ACTS Sample Prayer

If this is new to you, you might like to see an example of how someone might actually use this model. Here’s an example of someone using the ACTS prayer model. This could be shorter or longer than what you might actually pray.

ACTS prayer example (1) hands raised in adoration worship

O Lord, 

I am in awe of You. Your awesomeness is apparent wherever I look. Psalm 68:35 says, “You are awesome, God, in your sanctuaries. The God of Israel gives strength and power to his people. Praise be to God!” 

I worship You, God, for so many reasons, but the breadth and depth of You is too much for me to even comprehend. I am amazed by You.

I humbly come before You in confession. I agree with Psalm 51:1, please “Have mercy on me, God, according to your loving kindness. According to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.”

I confess my sins to You, Lord. I have been selfish with others and have thought meanly about people. Please forgive me and help me to change. Thank You for forgiving me. 

I thank You for Your forgiveness, and also want to thank You for Your blessings. Psalm 7:17 WEBBE encourages me. “I will give thanks to the LORD according to his righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.”

I thank You for Your blessings in my life. Thank You for taking care of the financial worry I had last week – You have provided again and again! Thank You for the encouragement I find from my friends and family. Thank You for the good report from my friend about their cancer treatment.

One of the things I want to pray for today, Lord, is hope and joy. Romans 15:13 says, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.” 

I pray that You would help me to find my joy and peace and hope in You! Thank You for providing these things to Your children.

I love You, Lord! I ask all these things in the name of Jesus,

Amen.

ACTS Resources and Other Prayer Models

ACTS prayer example (7) open prayer hands in front of an ocean with bokeh in the background

As stated before, this isn’t the one pefect way to pray. You won’t find the one “perfect guide” that makes your prayers holier or more likely to get answered. But you might find it helpful to use as a tool. 

People who don’t pray in this particular order aren’t wrong. We have the freedom to pray in a number of ways and still glorify God!

A similar A.C.T.S. method of prayer model is found in “Acts in Prayer” by E.W. Price Jr. This model uses the A.C.T.S. acronym to stand for almost the same things. A stands for Adoration but also Affirm God’s Presence, and S stands for Seeking for Self and For Others. 

It describes the steps to prayer very thoroughly, including how one might use them in a prayer journal during devotional time.

A similar prayer model is used by Moms in Prayer. Their model is Praise, Confession, Thankfulness, and Intercession. They have a number of helpful resources, including Start with Praise, Mom’s Little Book of Powerful Prayers, and their prayer worksheets.

Another variation of the ACTS model of prayer is the PRAY acronym, which is Praise, Repent, Ask, and Yield. It doesn’t highlight thankfulness, but this is something you could additionally include.

There’s also the HEART prayer acronym, which covers all of the points of the ACTS prayer model. It stands for honor God, examine yourself, ask for yourself, request for others, and thank God. 

Free Printable ACTS Prayer Example Worksheet

Want to follow the steps of the ACTS Prayer example and need a handy guide? We have a free worksheet to download from our shop.

ACTS prayer model preview

You can download a printable worksheet here.

Whether you have just started praying or are exploring different ways to expand your prayer time, the ACTS method of prayer can be a helpful tool for structuring your prayer time in a comprehensive yet simple way. Both new believers and longtime Christians should give it a try.

It can be a great way to pray by yourself, or pray with others. If you are praying with others, the time in confession can be a silent time of confession between you and God.

If this is new to you, it would be good to pray this way more than once as you adjust to this variation of a prayer routine.

Let God use this time of prayer to change your heart, and to answer your prayers. May God bless you as you meet with Him in prayer!

If you enjoyed reading this, you may also want to read 5 Ways to Respond to Unanswered Prayers and Prayer List Ideas.

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