Many years ago I heard Christians should pray using the acronym ACTS as a model. It has always stuck with me.
"A" stands for Adoration - worshipping and praising God.
"C" stands for Confession - confessing our sins to God.
"T" stands for Thankfulness - giving thanks to God.
"S" stands for Supplication - praying for ourselves and for others.
I like how the Billy Graham Evangelistic Organization explains it in this link:
I have a prayer book that is just awesome! I first heard about it when I was at a retreat in 2006. The speaker at this retreat mentioned she read from The Valley of Vision every day. It is a book of Puritan prayers.
This little book has about 190 prayers in it.
The Puritan Movement was in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but its influence continued until the late 1800's. So some of the language resembles King James Bible version language - rich, poetic, dramatic.
It says in the introduction of the book: The book is not intended to be read as a prayer manual. The soul learns to pray by praying; for prayer is communion with a transcendent and immanent God who on the ground of his nature and attributes calls forth all the powers of the redeemed soul in acts of total adoration and dedication.
The prayers are divided up into the following sections:
FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT
REDEMPTION AND RECONCILIATION
PENITENCE AND DEPRECATION
NEEDS AND DEVOTIONS
APPROACH TO GOD
GIFTS OF GRACE
SERVICE AND MINISTRY
As you can see by the categories, this is a pretty deep thinking prayer book.
But oh my, did those Puritans know how to pray!
For years I would read off and on from this book and highlight lines that spoke to me. One day I opened The Valley of Vision and realized I had read almost every prayer, but I had ignored one whole section! I hadn't read one prayer in that group. Can you guess which section it was? It was Penitence and Deprecation. With titles like "Yet I Sin"/ "Heart Corruptions"/ "Shortcomings"/ "Pride" - can you blame me? Oh, was I convicted. And now I try to be very mindful of the "C" part of ACTS during my prayer time.
My pastor sometimes tweets something from The Valley of Vision. I messaged him I love that book. And he replied he uses it to start his quiet time. And sometimes that is as far as he gets because it is such a hammer to his heart and mind.
Reading these powerful prayers will transform your prayer life. It is one for your library.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14
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