living prayers - contemporary prayers for today

contemporary prayers for today

a.c.t.s. prayer model

morning prayer

A.C.T.S. is an acronym for the words Adoration, Confession,
Thanksgiving and Supplication, and is one of the most popular forms of prayer composition.

Essentially, prayer is about a living relationship with God.  Maybe as a child you learnt to pray with a long shopping list - E.g. "please look after my Aunt Chloe, keep my Granddad well, oh, and please stop Rover the dog from barking when I'm trying to watch T.V." etc. etc...

Of course, God wants to hear what is on our hearts. But God desires much more than this for us. He wants us to know Him. We can gain a deeper understanding of God through these areas of prayer - Adoration - Confession - Thanksgiving - Supplication. At the end of section there will be a short sentence which illustrates this element of prayer, and which forms our sample prayer further down on this page. Before we look in detail at the meaning of these words, here's a good summary about this method of prayer by prayer poet Julie Palmer:

ACTS Model of Prayer Guide


When we catch a glimpse of how magnificent and awesome God is, our hearts naturally turn to adoration. The Westminster Catechism states "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever".  As we worship something happens on the inside - the worries and cares of the day seem less important as we realize how amazing God is and how special is His love for us. Jesus affirms the importance of adoration in His teaching on prayer. His first line was "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name".

So adoration is important for two reasons -
Adoring God reminds us of who He is
Worshipping God reminds us of who it is that loves and cares for us.

adoration example

"Father, you are completely holy and so breathtakingly beautiful. I fall at your feet in adoration".


As we adore the living God, we become aware of our own frailty and sin. We realise that we have not lived as we could have done. We have let others down, ourselves down, and mostly importantly, we have let God down. In confession we tell God about these things, and ask for His forgiveness and restoration.

confession example

"Lord, you ask us to love our neighbour as ourselves. The truth is I have failed to love others and I've lost sight of how much you value me. Please forgive me".


There are many incidents recorded in the scriptures where people gave thanks to God:-

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever". (Psalm 118:1 and at the end - v.29)

And again in psalm 136, this time the psalmist recalls the many reasons why it is good to thank the living God:-

(v.1) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

(v.4-7) to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:1 & 4-7 (NIV)

In adoration, our focus is on God - who He is, and our worship of Him. In thanksgiving, our focus is on what he has done - for us, for others, or throughout history. If we have just confessed our sins to our Father and received His forgiveness, then thanksgiving will be a very natural thing to do.

thanksgiving example

"Thank you so much that your Son gave His life so that I can walk in freedom. My heart is deeply grateful for everything that you do for me".


The Apostle Paul encourages believers to offer prayers of supplication to God:-
"do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God". (Phil 4:6, ESV)

Supplication is requesting God to do something, either for yourself or on behalf of somebody else.
So here is an example of supplication for yourself:-

supplication example

"I ask for your strength to fill my being so that I will always live in your grace and love."

When we pray for others we call this intercession. Here's an example of supplication, which is also an intercessory prayer:-

supplication example (intercession)

"Lord, I offer you all those in a position of power in our community. I pray for the leaders of our town, and the leaders of the church here. May you give them wisdom as they make decisions and care for the people in this neighbourhood".

What is Prayer?

An inspiring short film which reflects on the wonderful gift of prayer :-

view more films like this at prayerscapes

a.c.t.s. sample prayer

Father, you are completely holy and so breathtakingly beautiful. I fall at your feet in adoration. Lord, you ask us to love our neighbour as ourselves. The truth is I have failed to love others and I've lost sight of how much you value me. Please forgive me. I ask for your strength to fill my being so that I will always live in your grace and love. For the power, the glory and the honour are yours. Amen.

pdf image

printable ACTS prayer sample

Ending the prayer

There is no "correct" way to end prayer. Here are two common approaches:
End with a doxology (a threefold prayer) For example:
"For the power, the glory and the honour are Yours. Amen"
Simply end your prayer with "Amen" (which means "so be it"). If you are praying with other people, or leading a prayer, this is a good idea as it lets everyone else know that you have finished praying!

The ACTS prayer template

it's only a guide!

The method of the ACTS prayer model is a guide to how to pray, it is not a rigid format. For example:-
The order can be mixed up - sometimes it is good to start with thanksgiving, and remind ourselves about the things that God has done for us, before making our requests (supplication) to God. It could also omit an element. (E.g. T S A)
Moving backwards and forwards between adoration and supplication can help to remind us that we are in God's presence and that all our concerns for the world around us flow out of being deeply aware of the beauty of God and His everlasting love for us. (Eg. A S A S A S etc.)
A prayer could be all adoration! (E.g. A A A A A A !)


further reading

arrow rightprayers of adoration & confession
featuring a prayer suitable for opening a service or meeting, & a short prayer of worship and confession.

arrow rightthanksgiving prayers
a selection of sample thanksgiving prayers for children, teenagers and families with a simple grace before meals prayer.

arrow rightpetitions
with a comprehensive selection of Christian prayers of petition, such as prayers for strength, healing & peace.

arrow rightprayers for children
several sample prayers for kids say, including prayers for class, school and family life.