Teaching Someone How to Pray: ACTS

Lady Reflective Praying Outside

When our children were young, we taught them how to pray using the acronym, ACTS.

A – Adoration
C – Confession
T – Thanksgiving
S – Supplication

Adoration is Praising God for who HE IS

Adoration is praising and honoring God for who HE IS. Adoration is a fondness, affection, admiration or magnification of God for His character and for His very existence. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines adoration as paying honor to a divine being; the worship paid to God; profound reverence.

Confession is Admitting our Faults

Confession is honestly admitting our faults and confessing our sins. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines confession as acknowledgement of a fault; open declaration of guilt, failure, debt, accusation, etc. The Lord does not condemn us – for condemnation is without hope. The Lord convicts us, so we can repent, be washed clean, and restored in our relationship with Him – guilt free.

Confession needs to include repentance. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines repentance as a change of mind. Repentance is the relinquishment of any practice, from conviction that it has offended God.

Thanksgiving is Expressing Appreciation to God

Thanksgiving is expressing appreciation for people or things in our lives or the world around us. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines thanksgiving as giving thanks for good received; expressing gratitude for favors or mercies received. We all want to be appreciated for who we are and sometimes for what we have done. God wants us to appreciate Him for who HE IS and show our gratitude for what HE has done.

Supplication is Appealing to God for our Needs

Supplication is praying, entreating, petitioning, soliciting, or appealing to God for our needs or with our concerns or the needs and concerns of others. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines supplication as earnest request or prayer for the needs of others.

Sample Prayer – Using ACTS


Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come. We worship and praise You, O God! You are worthy! You are Magnificent!

You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life! You are the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. We worship and adore You!

Hallelujah! To the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Hallelujah! To the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who triumphs. We love You! And we honor and exalt You today.


Lord, I humble myself before you and confess my need for You today. I need Your strength, Your power, Your grace, Your wisdom today. We can do nothing without You, O Lord.

We confess that as a people we have acted pridefully; we have disregarded Your Word and Your principles of living; we have dishonored Your Name. We confess this as sin and renounce our prideful ways. We repent and turn from our wicked ways.

We receive Your forgiveness, Your cleansing, and your filling us with Your Spirit. We humble ourselves before you and we receive the ability to live and move and have our being in Your Spirit today.


Lord, we thank You for being here, for You said in Your Word that You would never leave us nor forsake us. Thank you for eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart of understanding.

Thank you for wisdom, insight, and counsel regarding the situations before us today. Thank you for strength of body, healthy thoughts, and a spirit that seeks only to please You.

Thank you for the fruits of the spirit today – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Thank you for my family and friends.


Lord, we lift up our elderly relatives to You today and pray they would know Your comforting Presence, Your peace, Your joy and delight in the little things. Give them strength, good health, and a purpose.

We lift up our children to You and pray that they would know how high, how wide and how deep is Your love today. Thank you that with every temptation, You provide a way of escape. We pray that they would take the path of escape. Deliver them from evil and from the evil one. Let them hunger and thirst for righteousness and be satisfied with You today.

We pray for our friends that they would know how great is Your love today. We pray Your mercies would be their rear guard. Give them Your wisdom and counsel and help them in every heart issue, every relationship, and every decision they need to make today.

We pray for the orphans – that today, they might experience food, shelter and Your loving-kindness through Your people here on the earth. And we pray for them to find a loving home.

We pray for the missionaries in different lands and pray today, they would experience Your favor; meet key people; and they would be vessels of Your love to those who are hurting. Love on them and love through them. We pray You would pour out Your Spirit in fresh measure today – upon them, their families, their ministries, their cities, their countries, and the people groups they are ministering to – in Jesus Name, we pray. Amen.

Things to Consider in our Time of Supplication

When teaching supplication to our children, we tried to teach them to pray for people they knew: grandparents, each other, neighbors, friends, etc., then we would pray for missionaries. We tried to pray for different people groups who did not know the gospel.

Supplication is where we pray for the issues upon our hearts, giving them to the Lord and receiving His wisdom and strength.

The ACTS Model of Prayer is also how we teach new believers in Christ to pray.

Prayer: Lord, You said if anyone lacks wisdom to ask You for it; so we humble ourselves before you and ask You to lead us, guide us, and teach us how to pray. Give us wisdom, so that we might understand Your heart, grasp Your insights, and reflect Your character in our lives. Thank you for walking with us in prayer as we desire to see You and to see Your Kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.


Equip for Prayer – Strength with Dignity 

Prayer Changes Lives – Strength with Dignity

Resources – Prayer for the World:
Operation World by Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk list countries and people alphabetically.
You Can Change the World is the children’s version.

Resources – Songs:
Waymaker by Michael W. Smith with Vanessa Campagna & Madelyn Berry
What a Beautiful Name by Voices of Lee
Raise a Hallelujah (Official Lyric Video) by Bethel Worship – Jonathan and Melissa Helser – Victory
Defender by Upper Room – Live (Lyrics)

Resources: Devotionals/Further Reading – aids for going deeper in our relationship with God
Jesus Himself by Andrew Murray
Blessed Be Your Name by Matt Redman
Facedown by Matt Redman

Resources: YouTube
How to Pray the Acts Prayer by The Practical Disciple
ACTS Model of Prayer by Love Britt Woods

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4 thoughts on “Teaching Someone How to Pray: ACTS”

  1. You covered this really well. ACTS is a great acronym. I also like PRAY – praise, repent, ask, yield. Thanks so much for sharing your post at the Exploring World Religions Linkup 17 so that we can better understand each other through our religion, faith, or beliefs. Pinned.

    1. I haven’t heard of PRAY-praise, repent, ask, yield, Dee. That would be a great post for you to write! So many people want to grow in prayer, I know they would appreciate it. Thanks for hosting and for your encouraging words.

  2. I have used ACTS for years. I needed something to keep me focused as I pray. Sometimes I use the model prayer and change the words to fit me.
    Blessings and success to you!

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