Summary: God has given us the tremendous blessing of prayer, the ability to approach and be heard by the creator of all things. Practice the FACTS of prayer and see what God does in your life.
The FACTS of Prayer
Reading: Luke 11:1-4
In this passage, Jesus provides His Disciples with a model for prayer. He wasn’t giving them, or us, a mantra for rote recitation. Consider:
1. This prayer is recorded twice in Scripture and the wording is different in each prayer. If Jesus was giving us a prayer to be memorized and recited, He would not have given us different words the two times He gave it.
2. The disciples said, “teach us to pray” not “teach us a prayer.” It’s one thing to read or deliver a prayer; it’s something else to know how to pray.
3. Jesus warns us against repetitive prayers. In fact, in the verse immediately preceding the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:7, Jesus says this: “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do.”
4. This prayer is repeated nowhere else in the New Testament. We have no record of believers using this prayer in any of the other prayer passages in the Bible.
Clearly, Jesus was not intending to give the disciples some sort of prayer that they could memorize and then just deliver. It’s much deeper than that. Jesus wanted to give His followers a model to follow when addressing God so that we can learn how to pray like Jesus Himself prayed. That’s what we’re going to consider today, a model for prayer.
I remember learning of this model of prayer, using the acronym ACTS, when I was a kid growing up in Tucson. I first came across the model in print while reading To Busy Not To Pray by Bill Hybels which was first published in 1988. I’ve since come across the booklet Acts in Prayer by Eugenia W. Price, which was first published in 1974. I adapted the ACTS model to FACTS as a part of a sermon on spiritual sacrifice in 2001.
So let’s examine the FACTS of prayer:
A.Without Which We Can Expect Nothing From God
1.Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
B.Praying According To His Will
1.Ephesians 5:17 “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
2.John 15:1-7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
3.1 John 5:14-15 “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
4.With the right motives “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives…” James 4:3a
C.Knowing God Works Everything For Good
1.Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
2.Matthew 7:7-11 God gives what is best for us.
3.So it is when we pray in faith, and in submission to the will of God. He does not always give the very thing which we ask, but he gives what would be better, what is best. A parent will not always provide the “very thing” which a child asks, but considers the welfare of the child, and give what they think will be best.
4.Abba, Father…We express intimacy in prayer as we address God as Father. God encourages us to address a wide range of petitions to our Father: praise, forgiveness of our sins, daily needs, the coming of God’s eternal will for time and eternity, relationships with one another, and our relationship with God Himself. We can rest in the assurance that God as our Heavenly Father will faithfully provide for all our basic needs in life if we are properly related to serving Him in our lives (Matthew 6:25-34).
5.2 Corinthians 12:7-9 Paul asked that the thorn from his flesh might be removed. God did not “literally” grant the request, but told him that his “grace” should be “sufficient” for him.
6.Mark 11:12-14, 20-24 If we are in God’s will there is no reason for us to be unsure of the results to our prayers.
A.God must be worshipped
1.Hebrews 13:15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
B.Adoration Sets the Tone
1.Hallowed by Thy name…
2.Praying with adoration (worship) reminds us of whom we are addressing, whose presence we have entered, whose attention we have gained.
3.God is worthy of our adoration, it should be hard to get past “Our Father” without registering how awesome is our God!