Christianity 201

November 12, 2013

Balanced Praying

Romans 8:26a In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should…  (NASB)

Luke 11:1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray…” (NIV)


Sunday’s piece on treating prayer like it was the same as placing a fast-food order, ended up being Tuesday morning’s piece at Thinking Out Loud. Sometimes in the quest to find pictures to accompany articles, I discover all sorts of other things from sources that end up getting used here.

This one is all about a smart phone app. However, it contained with it so many implications about what we were discussing that I decided to use it here, which also meant ‘borrowing’ the pictures that came with it. The article is titled Praying Scripture and at the end I’ll give the link for the app. Take some time to study the various elements in the graphics.

Two years ago, I began the development of Prayer Prompter. My original concept for a prayer app was to have two separate sections, one for Scripture passages organized by topic and the other one for prayer requests. The first mockup looked like this.
Prayer Prompter 1

Later, I changed the name of the top section to “God Speaks to Me…” which was the shortened form of “God speaks to me through His Word”. I wanted to encourage users to “hear from God” by reading passages of Scripture, thinking about them and using them as the basis for prayer.

Prayer Prompter 3

The first few folders in the top section follow the “ACTS” prayer method; Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. ACTS has part of my prayer life as long as I can remember. It helps me to pray in an orderly and logical fashion.

Recently, I started wondering where the ACTS prayer method originated but I couldn’t find anything, at least, not until I heard about a book published in 1710 by Puritan pastor Matthew Henry, called “A Method for Prayer”. His method can be summarized as follows:

1 – “Address to God and Adoration of Him”
2 – “Confession of Sin and Declaration of Repentance”
3 – “Petition and Supplication” (for oneself)
4 – “Thanksgiving for the Mercies of God”
5 – “Intercession and Supplication to God for others”
6 – “Conclusion of our Prayers”

Do you see the ACTS pattern in his “method”? I do. The only difference is that “supplication” is broken into two parts, praying for oneself and praying for others. So, I conclude that the ACTS method for organizing prayer is more than 300 years old!

Theologian, Puritan scholar and author Dr. Joel Beeke said recently, “The Puritans prayed out of hearts saturated with Scripture. They especially delighted in turning promises into prayers. William Gurnall said, ‘Prayer is nothing but the promise reversed.’ He also said, ‘The mightier any is in the Word, the more mighty he will be in prayer.’ This pattern of praying the Scriptures culminated in Matthew Henry’s book, A Method for Prayer, where he collects hundreds of Scriptures under different headings to guide the Christian in prayer.” (An excerpt from the blog post, “Pray Like a Puritan” by Tim Challies)

So, after almost two years of working on Prayer Prompter, I just realized something that should have been obvious to me from the beginning. The top section of Prayer Prompter is all about — Are you ready for this? — praying Scripture! As a result of this amazing discovery, I am changing the title of the top section to — and this should come as no surprise! — “Praying Scripture”. I am also changing the title of the bottom section to “Petition/Intercession”. These new titles will be part of the next upgrade of Prayer Prompter which will be available in a few weeks. For new users of that upgrade, the Home screen (dashboard) will look like this:

Prayer Prompter 2

Note: If you are already using Prayer Prompter, the upgrade will not change your existing titles but, if you want to change them yourself, check out “Get Started>How To” on the website or “How-To” in the “Help Topics section of Prayer Prompter.)

Again, it isn’t my intention here to try to sell something; the creators won’t know this is here until it appears. But sometimes when you try to blend theology and technology, it forces you to have to think about things in a more detailed, or more unique way.

So… if you’re interested in learning more about Prayer Promoter, click here.