You can teach your kids how to pray the Word with the ACTS Acronym for Prayer!
It can be hard to know how to teach children how to pray. Often, you and I struggle with it ourselves. Far too often, we repeat the same shallow prayers over and over again. We know that’s not true prayer, but we also don’t know how to truly pray. We don’t know what to ask for and how to worship God in prayer. And, our kids have the same struggles!
What if I told you that there was a perfect guide for your prayers AND a perfect guide to help you teach your children to pray? A guide to prayer that would always help you to draw nearer to God, worship Him correctly, and pray for the right things?
And, what if I told you that you most likely already have this guide at your fingertips?
The perfect guide to every prayer of our hearts is the Bible, God’s Holy Word. Just as Jesus Christ taught His disciples how to pray, God has given us His precious and Holy Word, the Bible, to show us exactly how to pray.
A simple way to use the Bible to guide our prayers and to teach our kids how to pray is to use the ACTS Acronym for how to pray. The ACTS acronym for prayer makes it easy to remember these four different elements of prayer: Adoration (or worship), Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. We can use these four elements to pray through any Bible passage that we are reading or studying.
The origin of the ACTS Acronym for how to pray is unknown, but it has been used for more than one hundred years.
How to Use the ACTS Acronym for Prayer
Here’s how it works:
Let’s use John 10:14-15 as an example. These verses say: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
How can you use the ACTS acronym for prayer to pray through this Bible passage?
Start with “A” for Adoration: Ask your kids, “What do these verses encourage you to adore, worship, or praise God for?” You could challenge your kids to start with “Dear God, I worship (adore, or praise) You because…” In this case, they might pray, “I worship You because You are the Good Shepherd” or “I praise You because You know everything about me and everyone in the world.”
Next is “C” for Confession: Ask your kids, “What sins do these verses bring to your mind that you need to confess?” In this case, your kids might say “I confess that I don’t always take the time to read Your word and get to know you like I should.” or “I confess that I am a sinner and You laid down Your life for me. Please forgive me for sinning against You.”
Next is “T” for Thanksgiving: Ask your kids, “What can we thank God for from this Bible passage?” This is usually the easiest for kids to understand. They might pray “Thank you, God, for knowing me.” or “Thank you, Jesus, for being the Good Shepherd and for laying down Your life for me.”
Finally, “S” is for Supplication: Ask your kids, “Is there anything that these verses encourage you to ask God for, for yourself or others?” Your kids might pray, “Dear God, please give me a desire to know You better.” or “Please help me to have courage to tell others about You so that they can know You too.”
Using the ACTS Acronym for Prayer in the Psalms
The Psalms are a great place to use the ACTS Acronym for prayer to start praying God’s Word. Here’s another example of a passage that you can use to teach your kids how to pray.
Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is on my side as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes. Psalm 118:5-9 (ESV)
Adoration: Dear God, I worship You because You hear me when I call to You! You are never far away from me. And, no matter how big my problems are, You are able to set me free! You are my Helper, and I don’t have to fear.
Confession: Dear God, please forgive me for forgetting how great You are and for being afraid. Please forgive me for trusting in other people and turning to them for help before I trust in You and take refuge in You. Please help me to turn to You first.
Thanksgiving: I thank You, God, because You do hear me! I thank You that You are my helper. Thank You for the times that You have rescued me in the past and for the help You will give me in the future. I thank you that I don’t have to live in fear because You are with me.
Supplication: Dear God, please change my fearful heart to a heart that trusts completely in You. Please help me with the problems that I am facing. Help me to trust that You are near to me and that You have a plan, even when things seem to be going all wrong. Please help me to take refuge in You!
I hope that this simple ACTS acronym for how to pray can be a huge help for you as you teach your kids how to pray and as you pray through Bible passages yourself.
Do you need a simple way to help you or your kids remember this acronym? Sign up below to download the “ACTS How to Pray” bookmarks!
These bookmarks are a perfect way for kids to remember how to pray the Word. Copy the pages and supply one bookmark per child. Encourage kids to color the bookmarks and cut them out, if desired. You can even print these bookmarks on heavy paper, cut them out and glue them to cardstock, or laminate them if desired.
Please comment below if you have any thoughts, questions, or suggestions on how to teach children to pray. I love to hear from you!
May God bless you!