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The ACTS Prayer Method

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woman in prayer

The ACTS prayer method is a simple and straightforward way to help structure your conversation with God. This method is used quite commonly in church circles, and it’s taught widely.  Perhaps that’s because it’s simple, it’s easy to remember, and it helps to structure your prayer time and prevent your mind from wandering or just going blank.

The ACTS Prayer Method

The ACTS prayer method is a simple acrostic that can help give some structure to your prayer time. Praying with the ACTS model helps you to exchange your own concerns for God’s perspective.

This is because, in the ACTS method of prayer, we spend the most time on worship of God, confession of our sins, and thanksgiving for the good things in our lives.  Only at the end – only for 1/4 of the prayer – do we ask for anything.

This can help you to shift a mindset that is focused on what you need, what is lacking in your life, and your fears and concerns, to one that is focused on the greatness of God and the good things that He has given you.

In the ACTS model of prayer, we focus on 4 things:

(A) Adoration

(C) Confession

(T) Thanksgiving

(S) Supplication

You can use these four categories to structure your prayer time and give you something to focus on.

This can help to prevent the prayer-block that can happen when you sit down with the intention to pray, but you have no set direction or structure for your prayer time.  It can also help you to broaden your prayer practice from simply thanking God for goods things and listing things that you need help with. The ACTS prayer includes asking for help and giving thanks, and it also includes confessing your shortcomings and mistakes and recognizing the greatness of God.

The ACTS prayer method - with prayer prompts


Adoration is, in it’s more straightforward-form, worship of God.  Focus on God’s character and His attributes. This is the time in your prayer to still your mind, focus on God, and remind yourself of who He is. You can praise God for being our Creator and Redeemer, for being the source of wisdom, for being our loving protector, or any other of God’s attributes. Maybe there is something about God that you especially appreciate or need today.

If you have trouble finding an attribute of God to praise Him for, you can also focus on where you have seen God in your life.

Adoration prayer prompts:

Where have you seen God in your life today?  Which attribute of God was most obvious?

Which attribute of God speaks to you most in this stage of your life (or even on this day of the week)?


The confession step of the ACTS prayer is where we confess our sins, where we say “I’m sorry” for something that we’ve done, or not done. Sometimes this is a concrete confession: I yelled at my kids yesterday; I didn’t truly listen to a friend last week, and jumped too quickly to my own opinions; I bought a new pair of shoes (that I don’t need) with the money I should be tithing….

Or it could be a general trait: I wasn’t very patient today.  I realize that I am focused too much on financial security and I trust a paycheck more than I trust you, God.

The point of confession is to acknowledge that we are not perfect.  We mess things up.  We hurt other people (intentionally or unintentionally).  We set up idols in place of God. Confessing your shortcomings to God will help to keep you humble, but it will also also Him more space to work in your life.  If you regularly confess that you are impatient, then you will be more open to God changing that specific part of you.  (An unacknowledged sin is hardly one that we can change.)

Confession prayer prompts:

Where in your life could you have been more patient, caring, helpful, selfless…?

What vice do you struggle with?

What do you rely on instead of God?  (We all have times where we are putting our trust in something other than God.)

What might you be pursuing before your relationship with God (money, fame, comfort, freedom…)?


Thanksgiving is honestly my favorite step in the ACTS prayer.  If you are reading this right now, you have a whole load of things that you should be thankful for!  (Including electricity, access to a computer or a device like a smart phone, enough education that you are literate…)

There are so many good things in all of our lives.  Sometimes, when something goes wrong, or when we’re struggling with something – whether it’s something big like being able to pay the mortgage or the rent each month, or something small like where we last put our keys – it can be easy to lose sight of the good stuff.

Name something (or many things) that you are thankful for.  Acknowledge the good in your life.  Most of it was not a result of your own doing.

Thanksgiving prayer prompts:

What are you especially thankful for today?

Think of

  • access to healthy food
  • a warm, dry, and safe place to live
  • education
  • friends
  • family
  • church community
  • hobbies
  • nature
  • employment
  • places you volunteer
  • modern medicine
  • modern plumbing and sanitation
  • people who have helped you lately (like the crossing guard, or the school secretary, or the grocery store employee who helped you find that one missing thing from your list)

This list could literally go on for pages and pages and pages.

You could also list answered prayers here.


The supplication step in the ACTS prayer is where you ask God for something. This could be something that you are struggling with, something that you are excited about – or worried about – or something that you would like to happen. This is also the point in the ACTS prayer when you can include intercessory prayer and pray for other people.

It’s really important at this step to remember that God is not a vending machine.  You don’t put in your quarter and get a chocolate bar.  It’s not like one prayer is exchanged for the result that you seek. Sometimes the answer is “yes”.  Sometimes the answer is “no”.  And sometimes the answer is “wait”.

In the supplication step, we are given the chance to bring our concerns before God.  And if we listen carefully, we can see the answer to our prayers played out in our daily lives.

Supplication prayer prompts:

What are you worried about?

What are you excited about?

What are you trying to accomplish that you could use some divine help with?

Who in your life needs intercessory prayer?

Want more creative prayer ideas? Check out how to make your own prayer board and DIY prayer board ideas. You can even use the ACTS prayer method on your prayer board and make your prayers more visual.

How to pray the ACTS prayer

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