Lessons

How to Pray and Worship

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How have you seen God answer prayer?

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Summary: Prayer is an ongoing dialogue with God and a natural response to His work in our lives. The ACTS model of prayer is an easy and effective guide to an individual or corporate time in prayer. ACTS stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.

Read Matthew 6:9-13 (this is Jesus speaking)

“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Practice: As a group, read and discuss each of the four sections that follow, and pause to pray after each section.

Adoration

Adoration is another word for worship or praise. In adoration we communicate to God how great He is. It’s about recognizing God’s character.

  • How merciful God is.
  • How Loving God is.
  • How God knows everything.
  • How faithful God is.
  • How God can’t ever change.

Discuss: Which of God’s character qualities are brought out  in Jesus’ prayer?

Pray: Take some time to praise God for these character qualities  as a group.

Confession

Confession means to agree with. It is agreeing with God that you have sinned and agreeing with God that He has forgiven your sin. Confession is about honesty, humility and faith.

  • Confess sin that we willfully chose to do.
  • Confess sin where we knew what was right, but chose not to do it.
  • Confess the things we desire more than God.
  • Confess wrong motives and thoughts we are aware of.

Discuss: Where do you see confession in Jesus’ prayer?

Pray: Take some time now to privately confess your sins to God.

Thanksgiving

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

As adoration is worshiping God for who He is, thanksgiving is thanking God for what He has done, is doing and will do.

  • We can thank God for the good things in our lives.
  • We can thank God for the difficult things as well.
  • We can thank God for answered prayer.
  • We can thank God for the things we don’t understand.
  • We can thank God for being good to fulfill His many wonderful promises.
  • We can thank God for the little things and for the big things.

Discuss: Where do you see thanksgiving in 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8?

Pray: Take some time to thank God for His good work in the world and in our lives.

Supplication

Read James 1:14-15

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

‘Supplication’ means to earnestly and humbly ask for something. The Bible tells us to pray for a wide range of things. The following are just a few ideas.

  • Pray for your motivations and desires to be aligned with God’s.
  • Pray for endurance and perseverance in the midst of difficulties.
  • Pray that those who don’t know God would have eyes to see who God really is.
  • Pray for those we are seeking to help grow spiritually.
  • Pray for protection against the spiritual forces of evil.
  • Pray for specific things which are troubling you or are tempting you to worry.
  • Pray for wisdom.

Discuss: What types to things do you usually pray for?

Pray: Take some time to make your requests known to God.

Discuss:

  1. Which of the four section are the easiest and most difficult for you to pray? Why do you think that is?
  2. How can we spend more time talking to God, both individually and together?

Pray: In light of what we’ve discussed, how can we pray for each other right now?

Care

Since we last met, what happened as a result of expressing Christ’s love to others?

How can you, or we, express Christ’s love to others by persistently praying for them this week? (Ask God to bring someone to mind.)

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