I am going to say this at the very beginning – I believe prayer can be a difficult thing and that I don’t believe I spend as much time in prayer as I should. I don’t think my feelings about prayer are too different from many(or most?) Christians. I am going to focus on one facet of prayer, with the hope that it might enrich your own prayer life as well as my own.
The ACTS model of prayer (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) is a model for our prayer time that can be helpful as we desire to spend time with the Lord. It divides our time into four different areas. Confession and thanksgiving are words that we are quite familiar with. Supplication, while it is a word we don’t use very frequently, is a part of prayer that we use often. It is asking God for things that we need or what others need. Adoration is where I would like to spend a little more time.
An explanation of adoration in prayer from the website Got Questions says it means “worship—glorying and exalting God. Through adoration, we show our loyalty and admiration of our Father. As we pray, we are called to worship God in adoration. This could be a song of praise to Him, praying a psalm of worship, declaring His attributes, or a myriad of other forms of worship.”
The idea of beginning a time of prayer with adoration became more prominent for me many years ago in a group prayer setting. We began our prayer time with thanking and praising God for who He is, not for what He does. This is what the definition of adoration above would call “declaring His attributes.” According to Miriam Webster’s dictionary an attribute is “a quality, character, or characteristic ascribed to someone or something”. Well, what are some of the attributes of God? God is certainly loving, holy and righteous but He is also so much more.
The women’s Sunday school class did a study on Exodus this past schoolyear by Jen Wilken. As part of each lesson we were supposed think about an attribute of God that we saw in the section of Scripture we were studying. To help us with this, she included a list in the appendix. This list can be very helpful in our prayer time as well. In addition to the three mentioned above, her list includes: attentive, compassionate, creator, deliverer, eternal, faithful, generous, glorious, good, immutable/unchanging, incomprehensible, infinite, jealous, just, merciful, omnipotent/almighty, omnipresent, omniscient, patient/long suffering, provider, refuge, self-existent, self-sufficient, sovereign, transcendent, truthful, wise, worthy and wrathful. At the risk of being accused of continually promoting our library, if you are interested in doing a study on these words there are a number of Bible dictionaries in the church library that would be helpful defining them and in seeing where these attributes are exemplified by God in Scripture.
As we study the attributes of God and use them in times of adoration in our prayer life we will come to a greater understanding of who God is and who we are created to be.
The full May newsletter can be found here.