When praying, remember ACTS! Here is how to pray the ACTS prayer method:
Regardless of what we’re going through, we can always remember our God is a BIG GOD. He is outside time, space and matter and yet He is also by our side at all times. He created all things great, including a very organized universe full of planets and stars hung in beautiful alignment. He created all things small, like every living plant, animal and human and the earth’s wondrous ecosystem to sustain them. All this and He has set his sight upon you. He loves you and wants to have a personal relationship with you!
We’ve all made mistakes. We might lose our temper or say words out of contempt. We might struggle with pride and think about ourselves too much. We might be spiritually passive, never caring to grow in our relationship toward God, preferring instead to chase the temporary thrills of this world. Anger, unforgiveness, rejection, shame, fear, pride, and a rebellious, unteachable heart can all lead to a broken life. If we don’t see it in Jesus, we’re not to see it in us. Turning away from these missteps and confessing them to God is the first step toward freedom from them.
What are you thankful for? How has God blessed you? Sometimes we fall into the trap of focusing on what we don’t have or how we’ve failed. We might even focus on past or present hurts so much we give our power over to them. That’s when we allow those wrongs to become a part of us; part of our identity. The Enemy would love for you to be weighed down by those injustices your entire life. Life in relationship with Jesus shatters these chains, leading to freedom and peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4). What has God given you that you can be thankful for? Let Him know.
Supplication is a fancy word that means the act of asking for something with a humble heart. You’ll notice it comes last in this list. After adoration, confession and thanksgiving, your heart will be better positioned for supplication. Too often, people turn to God only when they want something, reducing Him to a cosmic Santa Claus. Yet Jesus clearly taught us to pray “thy will be done,” not “my will be done.” Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” Though many use this passage to pray that God gives them what they want, it truly means you will come to desire what God desires.
“Born Crucified“, written by American-born Canadian educator and minister, L.E Maxwell (1895–1984), can probably be best summed up in this excerpt from chapter 3, The Secret of Victory Over Sin:
“If Christ died to rid me of sin, should I not rather die than retain it? But if we are not yet sick enough of sin to be rid of sin, we can only bow, and bleed, and hug our chains, until we are “sick unto death” of sinful self. We must be driven out of our unholy duplicity and made to own our double-mindedness.
“But God is good. Christ is a jealous lover. He wants every believer delivered. He will not shrink from reducing you to shame and despair if only you may be exposed to the power generated on your behalf at Calvary. You must learn by kindness or by terror. God’s sword of providence may be laid successively to every tic that binds you to self and sin. Wealth, and health, and friends, may fall before that sword. The inward fabric of your life will go to pieces. Your joy will depart. Smitten within and without, burned and peeled and blasted, you may finally, amidst the dreadful baptism, be driven from the sinful inconsistency of living for yourself. You may at length be disposed (blessed word–sweet compulsion) to yield self over to the victory and undoing of Calvary. Oh, the glorious power of the Cross! How can we longer hold out against it? All the power generated at Calvary is at your disposal.”
16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Ever wonder “how to pray without ceasing”? I mean, the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing, but how do you do this?
“The Game with Minutes” is a devotional developed through 20th century missionary, Frank Laubach. Here, Frank encourages his readers to make a game of placing their minds and hearts on God every minute of every day, in order to walk a more spiritually-fulfilled life.
Saint Teresa of Ávila was born on March 28, 1515, as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada. During her time as a Carmelite nun, she became revered as a Spanish mystic and a theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer. 40 years following her death on October 4, 1582, she was canonized as a saint by the Roman Catholic church.
As the author of the Interior Castle, Teresa portrays the spiritual development of the human soul and its response to God as being like a great castle, wherein lies seven rows of mansions. With each graduation, the soul moves from the outer mansions to the inner mansions, ever moving into closer union with God.
The first three mansions are considered to be stages of active prayer and asceticism.
First mansions – Though they are entering a state of grace, the souls are surrounded by sin and only starting to seek God’s grace through humility.
Second mansions – The soul seeks a deeper relationship with the Father through daily thoughts of God and daily prayer.
Third mansions – Here, love for God is growing so great that the soul develops an aversion to sin and a deepening desire to love and serve others.
The fourth through seventh mansions are considered to be mystical or contemplative prayer.
Fourth mansions – God begins to increase His role in the supernatural development of the soul.
Fifth mansions – God deepens union with the soul, preparing it to receive the gifts of the Spirit.
Sixth mansions – The soul spends increasing amounts of time torn between favors from God and from outside afflictions.
Seventh mansions – The soul achieves clarity in prayer and a spiritual marriage with God.
“Teresa candidly reveals this interior journey as being inseparable from her love for Christ and that the highest mansions can only be gained by being in a state of grace through the Church sacraments, fervent devotion of the soul’s will to Him, and humbly receiving a love so great it is beyond human capability or description. Through prayer and meditation the soul is placed in a quiet state to receive God’s gifts (she calls “consolations”) of contemplation, and Teresa notes that man’s efforts cannot achieve this if it is not His divine will.”
Upon first hearing about “A Guide to True Peace” and its influence upon one pastor A.B. Simpson, I did what I always do when seeking an older publication—I tried to find a free copy online. Though it has long been in the public domain, I was surprised I could only find a single rough scan of the 1815 edition. (There was originally an 1813 edition that underwent some refinements and emerged as the 1815 copy.)
Being that the scanned copy of the 1815 edition was rough, smudged and cut off in places, I felt compelled to send it out for transcription into this cleaner, digitized format. When the transcription came back, it too needed work, and so I was blessed with the opportunity to groom this edition line by line. An intimate process, to be sure!
Through this effort, I have come across several typographical errors and places where modern spelling conventions scream for correction, however I have chosen to leave most of these events untouched. These errors were not a result of the transcription process, but were actually found in the 1815 edition itself. My desire is to leave you with a very true copy of that edition, right down to the page separations and Roman numerals.
Having invested time into studying the work of A.B. Simpson, I recognize him as being a man who understood the character of our Creator better than most. If Simpson points to “A Guide to True Peace” as one of the most influential writings in his spiritual walk, you can be sure it offers priceless insight for you as well.
I was born and raised a Catholic. As a child, I always had a close relationship with the Father, though it would many years before I truly understood the deity of Christ or could claim a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. Growing up, I would pray every night before drifting off to sleep. I was the only kid I knew who would occasionally cross the parking lot to the church to sit with God in St. Patrick’s large, empty cathedral while my friends played during recess.
Still, by the time I reached high school, I had little respect for God’s Word and certainly didn’t understand it. But hey, I was going to church twice a week, so I must be in good standing, right?
Around age 18, I experienced my own personal apostasy when a Jehovah’s Witness friend ask me some tough questions I was ill-equipped to answer. She asked me questions like “Why are there no women priests?”, “Did you know the Catholic church helped to fund the pill?” and “Why would a parent of unconditional love condemn their children to fiery, eternal damnation?”
These questions blew apart my fragile Catholic faith (if you can call it that) and I spiraled into an agnostic haze for a couple decades. Through that time, I maintained a loose relationship with the Father, defining Him as was comfortable for me to live for myself in whatever fallen way I chose. I still prayed occasionally (usually when my choices led me to a humbling low,) but Jesus became “a good teacher” and the Holy Spirit was still some mythical power given to the Apostles about 2,000 years ago.
By my early thirties, I found myself married. My wife and I came from two different sides of the spiritual tracks. I was the disaffected Roman Catholic and she was the liberal New Ager. For me, the last straw from the Catholic Church was when the priest (who always read his sermons anyways) played an audio tape from one of the church officials petitioning for money again. Feed their spirits and they’ll feed your coffers, I thought. It was the good excuse I needed to leave the church. We were barely surviving popping out four children in five years anyways, so taking a couple spiritually-nullifying hours every weekend was a luxury I easily dismissed.
As the children grew older, we taught them to pray over meals and at bedtime. We hoped a connection with an ever-present God would bring them emotional stability when Mom and Dad weren’t around for life’s challenges. Spiritually, we plateaued here for a few years.
One day, my stepfather loaned me a book called “The Harbingers” by Christian rabbi, Jonathan Cahn. In it, I saw the very real hand of God on America. As a result of that book, I resolved to commit a couple hours every two weeks to growing my relationship with God by returning to church. Trinity was the closest church I knew, so I gave them a shot. I wasn’t hopeful. Years prior, a friend had loaned me a tape by pastor Brad Mitchell where he actually promoted the Iraq war. Even in my spiritual ignorance, I found war to be completely uncreative, errant and un-Christ-like. Still, I visited Trinity anyways and pastor Marvin Williams delivered a great message that hit me square in the chest. Next, I began bringing my oldest son. Then my wife surprised me by suggesting the whole family attend. We’ve been going to our non-denominational church ever since.
Even though I was attending church service, I was still full of questions. If Jesus says we can do “all these things and greater,” why wasn’t I seeing it in the Church? What about His lost years in the Bible? (Really? Two decades of His life unrecorded?) And what about that whole doctrine of being sent to eternal damnation by a Father who loves unconditionally and with unending mercy?
I began starving to know Jesus’ path. I decided meditation had to be part of the answer. I looked on YouTube for “guided meditation” and found an eastern guru teaching Kriya yoga meditation. I chased this path for about a year until some well-meaning Christians found me on Facebook and YouTube and offered me new information. Still, I hadn’t completely let go of the eastern meditation arc until God placed a spiritual mentor in my life. This Christian man asked me the right questions and pointed out I was trying climb the wall to God without going through the narrow gate of Jesus Christ. Enter my salvation experience and re-baptism.
From here, the regeneration—which had been going on for years by now—heated up. Professionally, my energies shifted away from chasing the Almighty Dollar and toward studying the Lord, His character, His promises and who He calls us to be. Near the end of 2014, I began dismantling my web practice. After over 20 years in the online marketing industry, we had managed to build a solid client list, however something was still.. missing.
The fact is, marketing work doesn’t feed the soul as much as it feeds the ego. And, as my ego became diminished through the spiritual quickening offered by meditation and prayer, I began to realize the ONLY thing in this life that would fulfill me (or any of us) is a deeper relationship with our Creator.
In fact, I think that’s about the only reason we’re here.
As 2015 began, this revelation was further reinforced as I pushed out over 400 accounts in a few short months. That was when I truly realized all I had been building for the past 20 years was smoke. It was nothing. Temporal.
Professionally, I no longer take on any new clients whose work does not point others to God. I work as a digital marketing manager at the State of Michigan housing authority for the steady income. At the time of this writing, I have returned to school to pursue a degree in religious ministry.
On the spiritual front, I am growing in my identity in Christ, spiritual discernment and authority. I am studying healing and its place in ministry, and am recognizing the huge importance of spending time in that secret space with Him every day.