Prayer is simply conversation with God – sharing our heart with him and listening to his voice. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he gave them a pattern for prayer (often called the ‘Lord’s Prayer’), not just words to say in a rote manner. Another pattern I’ve found helpful for my own personal prayer life is one using the word ACTS as an acronym as follows:
Adoration – begin by taking time to worship God. Tell him how much you love and appreciate him. Affirm his character and amazing attributes. Thank him for who he is as our God.
Confession – ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything in your own heart and life that may need taking care of. The Apostle Paul always tried to keep his conscience clear of offence towards God or people (Acts 24:16). That’s a great way to live your life.
Thanksgiving – take time to thank God for the good things he has done (1 Thess.5:18). Be grateful. Think about what is going well. Don’t take things for granted – even little things. Thankful people are joyful people.
Supplication – brings your requests, needs and concerns to God. He cares for you and is interested in every aspect of your daily life (Phil.4:8. 1 Pet.5:7).
Any time we talk with God, he promises to hear us and respond. Prayer can make a powerful difference in our world. James put it this way – "The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for the next three and a half years! Then he prayed for rain, and down it poured. The grass turned green, and the crops began to grow again (James 5:16-18 NLT)."
As we draw near to God in prayer, he promises to come close to us (Jas.4:8). What an amazing thing that we can become God’s friend!