Posted by: Philip Rushton | July 26, 2011

Two Models of Guided Prayer

During our study last night I mentioned that I would provide some extra notes on the blog. This is the first of two posts that I will add to cover some of the key points from last night. Feel free to check out two of my previous posts, which also cover some of the things we discussed last night. The first of these posts is titled “Is Wormwood Your Spiritual Director”, and the second post is titled “Spirituality and Sustainability.”

In this post I wanted to provide you with two different models of guided prayer. One of the things that we talked about last night was that we often limit prayer to supplication. Most of the time prayer is viewed as a quick call out for help for the needs of the day. In the bible, however, we see that prayer is much more dynamic. It involves listening not just talking. It includes not only supplication, but adoration, confession, and meditation. By neglecting the full spectrum of prayer it is like trading in a full course meal for an unhealthy snack.

These are two models of prayer that I use regularly to help guide me into the fullness of what it means to commune with God. In fact, I no longer pray without using some sort of form. These forms help me to focus and provide numerous re-entrance points for when I inevitably get distracted. The first model is based out of the Lord’s Prayer. Martin Luther championed this type of prayer in during the reformation. The idea is to take one line of the Lord’s prayer at a time and pray around each theme. The second model of prayer is based on the ACTS prayer. This model follows the major themes of prayer, which include adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

1. Prayer Based on the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name . . .
[This is a time to ask God to make his name holy to us – asking God to remind us of who he is and what he has done. It is also a time to celebrate and thank God for who he is.]

Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven . . .
[prayers of longing for God’s kingdom of peace and reconciliation to take root in our world]

Give us this day our daily bread . . .
[prayers for the needs in our lives and the lives of others]

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors . . .
[prayers for interpersonal reconciliation, and prayers of personal confession]

And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one . . .
[prayers for the world and for personal struggles with temptation and evil]

For the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours forever. Amen.
[prayers of adoration and thanksgiving for God’s power over evil]

2. ACTS Prayer

– Prayers of praise for who God is and what he has done
– This is often a time to meditate on the names of God, or on parts of scripture that teach us who he is.
– By starting with this we remember who it is we are praying to. It can help us rest in the knowledge of who God is.

– Confessing our sin – both things done and things left undone.
– I often ask God to reveal what it is he wants me to either turn away from or to take up.
– God often works with us on one thing at a time. At one point in the gospel of John Jesus tells us disciples “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” God recognizes that we cannot bear the weight of all the things we need to work on or overcome. He often leads us a step at a time.

– Thanking God for creating, redeeming, and sustaining us.
– Thanking God for the specific things that he is doing in your life.

– Praying for the needs in your life and in the lives of others


  1. I’ve used the Lords Prayer model but didn’t know Martin Luther championed it. That’s awesome. Sorry we missed your talk. See you next Monday

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