Last post was about praying and then resting after you’re done. This one’s about the other end of it. What do you do first? What precedes your prayer?
If you’re a music person . . . especially if you like praise and worship music, I highly recommend a young artist named Lauren Daigle. She sounds a lot like Adele and her songs are sung to God, not about God. I’ve been listening to her Grammy-nominated album How Can It Be over and over. Lyrics from her song “First” . . .
Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
Before I lift my cares
I will lift my arms
This is huge. It’s so easy to just start praying . . . to start pouring out your heart and asking for His help without first humbling yourself and acknowledging who He is. Along with thousands of other Jesus-followers, I was taught to pray using the A.C.T.S. pattern:
A – Acknowledge Him as almighty, all-loving, omnipotent God
C – Confess your sins to your Heavenly Father
T – Thank God for His forgiveness, love and grace
S – Submit your requests to God (notice this comes last!)
We’re talking about humility. About reminding yourself, before anything else, He is God and you are not.
“Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33)
“Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)
Charles Spurgeon says, “When a man is sincerely humble, and never ventures to touch so much as a grain of the praise, there is scarcely any limit to what God will do for him.”
Before we pray, we must remember to humble ourselves. Always. We begin by acknowledging His greatness, His loving-kindness, His grace and mercy . . . our powerlessness . . . our dependence on Him.
I don’t know of any perfect way to pray. But if one turns up, it will most certainly begin with humility, quickly followed by sincere adoration and praise.