Summary: Sermon on prayer utilizing the ACTS model

“A Well-Balanced Diet”

(Conversations with God – Part 2)

“Developing spiritual fitness is like developing physical fitness.”

Bill Hybels, Too Busy NOT to Pray (Downer’s Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1998), 62.


- Psalm 8 *** READ THIS PSALM ALOUD ***

- Adoration purges my self-centeredness and softens my heart.

- “Adoration is seeing what God is worth, and then giving Him what He’s worth.”

<< ILLUS. Paul Harvey & The Butterball Turkey >>

Around Thanksgiving a few years ago, radio commentator Paul Harvey shared a true story of a woman and her frozen Thanksgiving turkey.

The Butterball Turkey Company set up a telephone hotline to answer consumer questions about preparing holiday turkeys. One woman called to inquire about cooking a turkey that had been in the bottom of her freezer for 23 years. That’s right—23 years. The Butterball representative told her the turkey would probably be safe to eat if the freezer had been kept below zero for the entire 23 years. But the Butterball representative warned her that even if the turkey was safe to eat, the flavor would probably have deteriorated to such a degree that she would not recommend eating it.

The caller replied, "That’s what I thought. We’ll give the turkey to our church."

: Paul Harvey daily radio broadcast (11-22-95)

- “That’s the attitude that some people take with their worship of God. IF they bother to spend time with Him at all, it’s time that they have left over once they’ve completed all of the things that THEY wanted to do. Even this morning, there are some who probably have focused on everything else but God.”

- “We’ve come together this morning to tell God how much He is worth to us. That’s the purpose of a ‘worship service.’ It’s not about us…it’s about God.”


- “Someone once said that confession is good for the soul, but bad for the reputation.”

- 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

- Benefits of Confession:

(1) My conscience will be clear.

(2) I am reminded of God’s loving and forgiving nature.

(3) I don’t have to worry about sin preventing the answer.

<< ILLUS. Max Lucado on Confession >>

Confession does for the soul what preparing the land does for the field. Before the farmer sows the seed, he works the acreage, removing the rocks and pulling the stumps. He knows that seed grows better if the land is prepared. Confession is the act of inviting God to walk the acreage of our hearts. "There is a rock of greed over here, Father; I can’t budge it. And that tree of guilt near the fence? Its roots are long and deep. And may I show you some dry soil, too crusty for seed?" God’s seed grows better if the soil of the heart is cleared.

Citation: Max Lucado, In the Grip of Grace (Word, 1996)


- 1 Thess. 5:18 – “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

- “Notice that Paul says to give thanks IN all circumstances, not FOR all circumstances. The evidence of maturity in Christ will be shown by those who choose, in the bad times, to thank God for His Presence with us…taking us through the bad times and seeking to learn from the experience. The evidence of immaturity will be shown by those who choose to focus on the circumstance, and not on the God who is bigger than the circumstance.”

- Feeling Gratitude vs. Expressing Gratitude: What’s the difference?

- Luke 17:11—17 *** READ THIS PASSAGE ALOUD ***

<< ILLUS. Shpiwrecked Man & Burning Hut >>

A ship in the Pacific Ocean was wrecked, and the only survivor washed up on a small uninhabited island. He was exhausted. He cried out to God to save him. Every day he scanned the horizon, searching for help. Finally, he managed to build a rough hut and put his few articles in that hut.

One day, coming home from hunting for food, he was stung with grief to see his little hut in flames and a cloud of smoke. The worst had happened. But early the next day, a ship drew in and rescued him.

He asked the crew, "How did you know I was here?" They replied, "We saw your smoke signal."

Citation: John Yates, "An Attitude of Gratitude," Preaching Today, Tape No. 110.

- “Maybe the difficulty you have now is a smoke signal that will lead to great blessing. Remember, give thanks in all circumstances.”


- “How many of you know God’s phone number? Did you even know that God had one? Jeremiah 33:3 says: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

- Philippians 4:6—7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

- Ministry - Family

- People - Personal

- "What then is the nature of petitionary prayer? It is, in essence, rebellion—rebellion against the world in its falleness, the absolute and undying refusal to accept as normal what is pervasively abnormal. It is, in this its negative aspect, the refusal of every agenda, every scheme, every interpretation that is at odds with the norm as originally established by God."

- “Are you willing this morning to take part in a rebellion? Are you willing this morning to join the ranks of the few, the prideless, the petitioners? Are you willing to ‘take it to the Lord in prayer? Or are you content to be busy with other things, allow other pursuits to absorb your energy, leaving none for God?”

- “If you have so much business to attend to that you have no time to pray, depend upon it, you have more business on hand than God ever intended you should have.”

<< ILLUS. Little Girl & Church Picnic >>

A minister’s six-year-old girl had been so naughty during the week that her mother decided to give her the worst kind of punishment: she couldn’t go to the Sunday school picnic.

When the day came, her mother felt she had been too harsh and changed her mind. When she told the little girl she could go to the picnic, the child’s reaction was one of gloom and unhappiness.

"What’s the matter? I thought you’d be glad to go to the picnic," her mother said.

"It’s too late!" the little girl said. "I’ve already prayed for rain."