In response to Pastor Trifon’s amazing message on Psalm 34 last Wednesday, I wanted to share a very simple tool I learned as a teen in my youth group.
Psalm 34:1 says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
At all times? Continually? Even when there’s cancer? Even when I'm robbed? What about when I lose a loved one?
We can praise God no matter the circumstance, because He doesn’t change. He is always God. He is always good. He is always on His throne, and He has you in the palm of His hand. We can rest in the hope that He has a good plan for us.
As Trifon said, “We praise God because Jesus died for us!” Our praise should not be dependent upon our current circumstances. Our trials and tribulations are but light and momentary compared to the glory that awaits us in heaven! It helps to keep that in perspective.
So… about this tool I was talking about. Sometimes when I pray, I get in a rut or I find myself immediately jumping into my prayer requests, treating Jesus more like Santa than my Lord. I was taught a simple acronym to help me remember all aspects of prayer. This is not a “formula,” but just a tool that helps keep me focused. There are several out there, but the one that sticks with me is ACTS:
A: Adoration - Praise God! Describe how awesome He is. Praise Him for the wonderful things He has done in your life. Call Him by the many names He is known by (more on that in a bit).
C: Confession - This isn’t talking about going to a priest and listing off all your sins to get you off the hook until next time. This is a one-on-one with God, your Father. Be honest with God about the struggles with sin that you have. He already knows. Take the time to truly repent and turn from the sin you are in bondage to. He has already forgiven you.
T: Thanksgiving - We don’t do this enough! Thank Him for clean clothes, for your refrigerator, for the good food you eat, for running water. Thank Him for dying on the cross for you. Thank Him that He is ALIVE today, and that we will live with Him for eternity. There is so much to be thankful for.
S: Supplication - This word means more than just asking for something. It means to ask someone for something earnestly and humbly -- even begging for something. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” God is a good Father -- He wants to answer your prayers according to HIS will. Try keeping a journal of your prayer requests and how God answers them. It will help you branch out in prayer, and it will encourage you later as you look back at how faithful God is.
Since we are talking about praising God continually in Psalm 34, there is one more tool I want to share with you regarding the “Adoration” portion of the acronym above. When I was a teen, our youth group was at a conference in a huge stadium filled with thousands of spiritually hungry youth. The guy leading worship asked us to just go through the alphabet and speak out words that describe or name God. Moments later, one teen broke the silence and boldly spoke out, “God, you are Almighty.” Then another called out, “Lord, You are Beautiful.” And yet another called out, “Father, you are my Creator,” and so on, until we had gone through the entire alphabet. It was a beautiful way to get a glimpse of God’s multifaceted character.
I often do this when I’m “stuck” in prayer and am not sure how to praise God in a current situation. Praise is the gateway into the very throne room of God. It truly brings us into His presence and fills us with the faith needed to boldly ask God our requests.
Don’t forget that God is not only our Friend and Father, but He is the Lord, worthy of our praise!
Psalm 71:8 says, “Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day.”