Ways to Pray

Ways to Pray

One of the greatest gifts that God has given us is His promise, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16 NIV).  Surely, those who are Christians should say with the psalmist, “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you” (Psalm 63:1 ESV).  Because prayer is our lifeline to God, it behooves us to learn to pray as effectively as possible.  One method of prayer (not my own idea but certainly a good one) that I would suggest uses the acronym “ACTS.”  Each letter stands for an area of prayer:


A recurring theme in Bible prayers is adoration for the God we serve.  Adoration means expressing love, devotion and praise to our God for all He is and does.  Examples include:

  • “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:1 RSV)
  • “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1 NKJV)

See also: Psalm 29; Psalm 31:19-22; Psalm 34:1-3; Psalm 36:5-7; Psalm 47; Psalm 48:1; Ephesians 3:20-21


Confession is the center of many prayers throughout the Scriptures. There seems to be two types. The first acknowledges and admits to our sins and shortcomings. The second declares our trust and faith in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Examples include:

  • “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” (Psalm 51:1–2 ESV)
  • “And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned.” (Nehemiah 1:5–6 ESV)

See also: Psalm 38:1-8,15, and 18; Psalm 41:4; Daniel 9:3-11; Romans 10:9-10; Romans 14:11; Hebrews 10:23; 1 John 1:8-10; Philippians 2:10-11; 1 Timothy 6:12-13


Thanksgiving is gratefully acknowledging the blessings, gifts and favors God daily bestows upon us.

Examples include:

  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 ESV)
  • “I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 9:1 ESV)

See also: Psalm 9; Psalm 44:4-8; Psalm 54; Ephesians 1:15-16


Supplication is an extremely intense, earnest prayer/appeal to God regarding our needs or those of others.

Examples include:

  • “Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.” (1 Timothy 2:1 NKJV)
  • “Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18 RSV)

See also: 1 Kings 8:28; Hebrews 5:7; Psalm 55:1; Philippians 4:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2; Ephesians 3:14-19; Acts 4:24-30

© Get To Know The Bible Ministries Inc., P.O. Box 14464, Springfield, Missouri 65814 – Notice: All material on this site, with the exception of those items specifically copyrighted to someone else (e.g. Bible translations) is protected by Copyright Law.  Copyright © 2003-2022 by Get To Know The Bible Ministries Inc.  Permission is granted for reproduction for non-commercial, personal use or for use in one classroom.  No portion of this site may be reproduced for purposes of resale or profiting in any way without the prior permission of the copyright holder who may be reached at the above address or by sending an email. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scriptures on this website are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011, 2016 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.