The Prayer Guide

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Praise and Thanksgiving

Two of the four elements of ACTS are Adoration / Praise and Thanksgiving.

By starting a time of prayer with adoration and praise, we focus first on God, rather than on ourselves. We think of who God is, and what He has done. In the Summary of the Law (Bible Verses from the NIV) Jesus teaches us to first of all love God with all our heart, mind and soul.

The writer to the Hebrews encourages us to praise God continually : "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name." (Heb 13:15) 

Praise is also an excellent remedy for times when we may perceive that we are under attack from the evil one, or that we are feeling low. In both cases, it brings the nature of God's power and presence into a situation.

Whilst individual preferences will vary, praise and worship in private prayer may well be quite different to corporate "church" worship styles. Below are some suggestions to get you started…..

Pointers for Prayer :

i. Start your prayer time with a praise and worship CD. As you listen, either join in by singing, or join in with the thoughts and sentiments expressed in the song.
ii. The bible can also give us an excellent launch pad for spending some time in praise : either some of the psalms, or passages such as Isaiah 12 (
Bible Verses from the NIV). Spend some time meditating on these verses, allowing your heart to be freed to become aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit with you, and for your spirit to become in tune with God's Spirit.
iii. You don't need a CD, nor a psalm or any prompt in order to praise God. Simple thoughts and sentences that express our inner feelings are cherished by our Father God.

A natural following on point from Praise is Thanksgiving. Paul writes to the Ephesians "
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ" (Eph1:3) and our response to such blessing can only be one of gratitude. Whilst Praise focuses on who God is, his nature, character and love, the time of saying "thank you" will move onto what He has done. In doing so, we will need to become aware of just how much God has done for us : in times long gone, and in the recent past. As we thank God, we also come to realise our dependence upon His goodness towards us.

In the letter to the Romans, Paul also encourages us to rejoice in our sufferings ; "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Rom 5:3-5. Learning to be thankful for the hard times is difficult - but if we can recognise the hope that the Holy Spirit gives us, God's presence alongside us in the hard times, and the resultant growth in our Christian character and maturity, we can be grateful to God for this.

Pointers for Prayer : Use your diary as a prompt for thanksgiving, both by giving thanks for God's help and presence during past days, but also to jot down a list of things that you are particularly thankful for.  Do include in this list answered prayer.   This list can be particularly useful in harder times, when it can be more difficult to feel thankful.
Also try writing down the things that are challenging in your life.  Then look for signs of God at work in these situations, and thank Him for this.