The ACTS of Prayer I: Adoration
For the next several lessons we’ll be talking about the ACTS of prayer, which we reviewed briefly a few weeks ago. The acronym ACTS stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Tonight we’re going over Adoration.
First of all, what is adoration?
To adore something is to like it a lot or to revere it—that is, worship it or hold it in very high esteem.
In the specific context of prayer, it essentially means to tell God how great He is.
We should be careful to realize what adoration is not. To adore God in prayer does not mean to flatter Him. We’re not just giving God “lip service,” nor are we supposed to adore Him just because we “have to.”
Adoration isn’t so much an obligation as it is a voluntary act of praise. This doesn’t mean that adoring God doesn’t require effort. It’s easiest to praise God when things are going well and we feel like we have lots of reason to tell Him about how awesome He is, but what about when things aren’t going well? Adoring God is still the right thing to do.
Turn to Job 1:20-22. In this passage, Job is in an incredibly difficult place in his life, and yet he chooses to praise God despite the apparent lack of reason for doing so.
The truth is that God is always good, and is thus always worthy of being adored. Consider Mark 10:18. Here Jesus says that God alone is good. We know God is unchanging, so no matter what our circumstances happen to be, there is always reason to praise the Lord.
So why should we adore God?
That seems like a question with a pretty obvious answer, but that’s the whole point of adoration in prayer: praising God for who He is.
Let’s dig into the Bible to see the characteristics of God that we should praise.
Look at Luke 15:3-7. This is the parable of the lost sheep, which Jesus is telling to emphasize the fact that God actively looks for unbelievers to save them from sin. This makes it incredibly obvious that God cares about us.
What better sign is there that God cares about us than that Jesus sacrificed Himself for us on the cross? In John 15:12-13, Jesus commands His disciples to love each other as Jesus loved them and mentions that there is no greater love than laying down one’s life for one’s friends.
We know that not long after He said these words, Jesus went to the cross and laid down His life for all of us. So God loves us enough to die for us.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that God cares for and loves us, but luckily there are many, many more reasons to adore Him.
One that we can easily see is the physical world. In Genesis 1:31, the Bible refers to everything God made as “good.” God made us a good world to live in, and even though it’s now tainted by sin, God’s incredible designs are visible in sunsets and snowflakes and water and living beings and all manner of other things that we take for granted. So God makes beautiful things.
God is merciful. Look at Deuteronomy 4:31. This verse says that God is not only merciful but also “will not abandon or destroy you,” so He is also faithful.
What other reasons can you think of to adore God?
This all may seem like stuff to thank God for, which you’ll notice is a different part of the ACTS of prayer. Adoration and thanksgiving are closely related, no doubt, but in this particular lesson we want to focus on what these things say about God’s character (as opposed to why we’re thankful for these things).
What can we learn about God’s character from what we’ve covered so far? What do you already know about God’s character from reading the Bible?
God’s character is nicely outlined for us in Galatians 5:22-23, which reads: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
I really like the last sentence in this verse, because it makes it clear that these qualities of God’s Spirit are never wrong. There are no rules against them. They are fundamental qualities of God: these are the ways in which God works, and we adore Him for who He is.
Ultimately, God is simply greater than we are. An often-quoted verse on this subject is Isaiah 55:8-9, which tells us in God’s first-person words that His ways are “higher” than ours.
The bottom line here is that God is God, and He is so infinitely loving and good that when we’re awed by Him, our designed response is to adore Him.
…But why do you think we should tell God things He already knows?
For one thing, it gives God praise, which is one of our main purposes as His creations: for another, recognizing the greatness of God is an act of submission to His authority. And it never gets old!
We’ve gone over and come up with multiple characteristics of God to adore already, but since there are so many, list a few more.
Why is it good to recognize God’s supremacy?
Write down a prayer adoring God, including some statements along the lines of:
God, Your love is…
God, You are… (tell Him His greatness!)