Acts Prayer Rhythm
There are many ways to pray with God. The ACTS prayer rhythm is used regularly in the NewCity community during gatherings and helps in having different focuses during prayer together. Some times each or some of the movements below are prayed through. Other times one movement is focused on. This rhythm can be done as individuals, in pairs, or a larger group. This rhythm can also be used with music, visual aids, and specific scriptures.
We start by recognising that it’s God who is the focus of our prayers. By declaring the scriptural truths about who God is — loving father, creator, holy, just, saviour and friend, we are reminded who we are praying to, we can get rid of any distorted images of Him in our minds, and we can develop genuine affection towards Him, without being fake. Sometimes we may not feel that God is any of these things to us, but we can rest in the assurance that He isn’t defined or limited by our current situation or headspace.
We recognise that none of us are complete and often (knowing or unknowingly) pursue our own ways over
Gods. Through Jesus we are forgiven and made right with God, not by our own efforts, but by His grace. We experience this truth afresh as we keep turning our focus back to him. The art of confession allows our sins to be forgiven and the destructive elements of our lifestyle to be broken. Confession also includes asking for God’s grace and mercy on behalf of our neighbours, our city and beyond, that all may be renewed in Him. Through confession to God, the spirit may also prompt us to repair broken relationships in our own lives, which isn’t always easy, but an integral part of following Jesus and loving others.
We recognise that everything we have is a gift from God. We thank Him for everything, from Jesus giving his life for us, to the warm cup of coffee we enjoyed earlier. This helps to remind us of everything good we have in our lives, particularly relationships and favourable circumstances — or even hard circumstances that build our character. Giving thanks steers us towards a posture of gratitude and away from attitudes of entitlement and comparison. It’s also an opportunity to thank God for our neighbourhood, our beautiful city and beyond, as well as for the people we’ve come in contact with.
God supplies all our needs and responds to all our requests no matter how big or small. We bring before Him our hopes, questions, burdens and physical needs knowing that He is the great provider and healer. We acknowledge that His ways and timing are not always as we’d like or expect, but because He loves us and knows us intimately He always responds in a way that is working all things to an ultimate good. We not only pray for ourselves, but also for our neighbours and those in our city and around the world, that their needs would be met, injustice would be reversed and that Jesus would be discovered as King.
Listen & Respond
God’s Spirit speaks and connects with us through the Scriptures, our own impressions, as well as the people and world around us. God always responds to us in His ways and timing. Listening is at times more of an art than a science, and can involve periods of waiting, silence, extended discernment, and consultation with others of faith. There are also times where we need to act in response to what we believe God may be saying to us. His voice always lifts Jesus as King, doesn’t contradict Scripture, and builds the church up for its mission. This can sometimes take the form of encouraging others, being convicted of personal sin, praying for healing and restoration for individuals and or situations, speaking the truth in love, and taking faithful risks.