It is impossible to reduce prayer to a set of rules or a formula because effective prayer flows from and is conditional upon our personal relationship with God. However, many Christians have profited from using the acronym ACTS as a tool to help guide and focus their prayers. ACTS is a simple adaptation of the principles from the Lord’s Prayer, which is easy to remember and apply. ACTS = Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.
The disciples at the time of Jesus did not know how to effectively pray (Luke 11:1), let us remember that at that time Pentecost had not happened yet, so the guidance and discernment from the Holy Spirit was not available; so the disciples being aware of their limitation asked Jesus who not only was the Messiah, Son of God but also a Rabbi (Teacher) to help them pray effectively; whereby Jesus gave us a model prayer (framework) structured in such way that helps believers to cover all principles that need to be considered when praying to God.
The ACTS model described by Lord’s prayer covers four important principles that should be present in every prayer. First it starts with Adoration “For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing praises to your name.” (2 Samuel 22:50 – ESV). Then it is followed by Confession, because we must acknowledge that we are weak and sinners who need God in our lives, in doing this we humble ourselves hence setting the scene for a sincere communion with God and our desire to be holy (set apart for God) “Now then make confession to the LORD, the God of your fathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives” (Ezra 10:11 – ESV).
The third principle is Thanksgiving, which is an act of thankfulness and appreciation of God’s blessings and experiences in our lives “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 – ESV). The final principle to close our prayer should be our Supplications that in other words are requests or petitions to God. God already knows what we need, but He is expecting us to humble ourselves and ask because when we do so we are submitting to His will hence drawing closer to him “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11 – ESV).