Aug 13, 2020 08:00am
The Four-Step Prayer Plan That’s Not About You

How often do you sit down to pray, and this happens: 

You think of your family. 

You pray for your family. 

You think of all you have to do that day. 

You pray God would bless all you do. 

You sit some more and then say “Amen.” 

Our prayer lives should be more than a laundry list of prayer requests. This four-part prayer plan – ACTS – gives us more structure and more holistic themes for prayer.

Revering, Exalting, and Approaching a Holy God . . . 
– Sets the tone for the entire prayer
– Reminds us of God’s identity and inclination
– Purifies the one who is praying
– Reminds us God is worthy of adoration
– Thanks God for his specific attributes, character, or personality


God is love
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:8-10

God is merciful
“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.” Titus 3:5

“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5

God is our Creator
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by Your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11

God is faithful
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

“Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol Him, all you peoples. For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.” Psalms 117

God is holy (perfect, sinless, altogether ‘other’)
“Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was, and is, and is to come.’” Revelation 4:8

“Let them praise your great and awesome name – He is holy. Extol the Lord our God and worship at His footstool; He is holy.” Psalms 99:3,5

Naming Your Faults Tips: 
– Try not to lump them together, but confess them specifically.
– Then pray, “Please give me your strength to put this sin behind me and live more righteously.”

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalms 103:12

Expressing Gratitude: There are four kinds of blessings to thank God for . . . 
– Answered prayers
– Spiritual blessings
– Relational blessings
– Material blessings

(Look at Luke 17:11-19 where Jesus heals the lepers. All of those who were healed were undoubtedly grateful to Jesus, but only one came back and directly thanked him.)


“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” Psalms 103:2 

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Asking for Help: Areas of supplication include  . . . 
– People: authorities, the lost, the sick, etc.
– Family: parents, siblings, household issues or decisions, marriage, children, etc.
– Personal: character growth, fruit of the Spirit, personal needs, direction, purpose, etc.
– Ministry: the things God wants you to do or people to invest in, your church, your Christian fellowship, etc.


“You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” James 4:2

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer supplication, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 

To start, try spending three minutes in each of the four sections. Notice which sections were easiest and most difficult for you. With practice, each area will become easier and more natural.

Copyright © 2020 by Scott Howell @ Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from

Copyright © 2020 by Scott Howell @ Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from