If you're like most Christians, then you want to grow in your prayer life. You want to pray more, and you want to pray more effectively. Maybe you find your mind wandering, your language repeating, and your perseverance waning...after about 5 minutes.
One way to grow in prayer is to let the truth of the Bible feed the substance - the content - of your prayers. For example, yesterday, we studied Ephesians 1:7-10 in our Sunday morning service (If you'd like to listen, the links are at the end of this post).
What I want to do here is turn this passage into prayer. So, first, read Ephesians 1:7-10. Now, consider how to pray about these glorious truths using the familiar prayer acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).
Adoration - God is kind. God is giving. God is gracious. God forgives. God is the source of all wisdom. God is sovereign over human history and will fulfill His plan. God will be set all things in order, so that redemption is complete and evil is punished.
Confession - Confess specific trespasses. Confess your worry/anxiety, which is rooted in a failure to trust God's sovereign goodness. Confess the tendency to count our good works as merit before God rather than resting in the merit of Christ's righteousness. Confess any known failure to speak the gospel of redemption to unbelievers.
Thanksgiving - Give thanks for those who spoke the gospel to you before you believed. Give thanks for those who continue to encourage you to live in the freedom from sin that Christ has given you. Give thanks for the death of Christ on your behalf.
Supplication - Pray for unbelievers by name. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel, for the wisdom to see them, and for the courage to take them. Pray for faith to trust God's certain purposes in the face of uncertain circumstances. Pray for yourself and for other Christians (especially fellow church members) to live as those who have been set free from sin.
Now that you've seen an example, use this kind of pattern daily. Take your daily Bible reading, meditate on its truth, and turn that truth into prayer. And don't limit yourself to just the few minutes you may have in the morning. Let this practice fill your day...as you drive to work, run errands, walk to the printer and back, make dinner, etc. If you would do this, I believe the Lord will give you your desire to grow in prayer.
Sermon - "We Have Redemption" (Soundcloud, iTunes)
Book - Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney
Podcast - Ask Pastor John, "How Do I Pray the Bible?"