When we witness greatness, it is normal to ask where it came from. The greatness we see in Jesus is overwhelming. Temple guards witnessed His greatness and claimed, “No one ever spoke like this man.” (John 7:46) Roman soldiers witnessed the presence of Jesus in the garden and they fell to the ground (John 18:3-6). The Roman centurion witnessed His greatness at the events of His death and said, “This has to be the Son of God!” When John witnessed the heavenly state of Christ, he fell to the ground at His feet as though dead (Revelation 1:15-17).
Jesus’ disciples were privileged to understand what caused Him to be so great. They saw His greatness was rooted in a dependent relationship with His Father. His power was linked to His ability to lift all His needs, concerns and desires to His Father through a life of prayer (Mark 1:35). The disciples wanted Jesus to teach them to lift. They wanted to experience what their Master experienced.
Here was His instruction:
“When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.’” (Luke 11: 2-4)
Prayer is a picture of our humble dependence on God. Some have suggested there are four important aspects of prayer taught by our Lord, and they can be remembered by the acronym ACTS:
- A — Adoration to God. Jesus teaches us to begin prayer in praise to God. “Hallowed be Your name.” The psalms demonstrate numerous examples of this attitude toward God. “Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.” (Psalm 21:13)
- C — Confession to God. The power of the Christian life is found in the gospel message (Romans 1:16). This message reminds us of the awesome love of God through Christ’s forgiving work on the cross. But we must remember our sinfulness before we can enjoy the blessing of forgiveness. Jesus teaches us to say: “Forgive us our sins.”
- T — Thanksgiving to God. Jesus reminds us every fulfilled need is due to the mercy and daily provision of God. So He prayed, “Give us our daily bread.”
- S — Supplication from God. Even though we are sinners God will supply everything we need if we simply ask. Jesus reminds us to prioritize our deepest needs. “Lead us not into temptation.”
- Examine your prayer life. In which category do you spend the most time?
- Which category do you often overlook in your prayer life?
- What keeps you from praying more?
- Ask God to give you a new heart for prayer as you enter this new year.
- Write a prayer to God covering each category and commit to praying every day.