Ta-da! How To Pray

Our church is in the midst of 40 Days of Prayer. It's been a very rewarding time, as I don't think I've ever focused on prayer this much in my life. Usually I've prayed most ardently when there's a major decision that needs to be made, but these past weeks has pushed me way beyond that. I'll admit that I've never really struggled that much with how to pray, but I know there are many people that are frustrated because they have no idea. Yeah, there's that whole A.C.T.S. acronym [I always forget what that first "A" stands for], but I've never found that quite as memorable. So last week as we were studying the Pattern of Prayer, I decided to see if I could create a new pattern to approach prayer that might be a little easier to remember. So here's what I came up with: T.A.D.A.! I know, it's not quite as Biblical sounding as A.C.T.S, but it sounds like you've had an epiphany, which IS Biblical. Maybe it'll help.

The background text I used to come up with this is II Chronicles 6:12-42. It's Solomon's prayer of dedication for the temple. Why this? Check out I Corinthians 6:19 where Paul writes that our bodies are the temple of God. Boo-yah [still like to use that phrase]. So here's the pattern:

Step 1: Thanks
Verses 14-15
Our first thoughts in prayer should always be directed towards praising God for the good he does in our lives.

Step 2: Apologize
Verses 22, 24, 26,36
Solomon understands the concept of sin. In today's world, it's not very PC to admit sin. We're now living in a rather grace-heavy world. But the point of all the sacrifices that would be made in the temple was to make things right with God. We need to make things right with God by asking forgiveness when we do Him and others wrong.

Step 3: Dwell
Verse 41
Solomon had just built a house where he wanted God to dwell. As Christians, God already dwells within us. This should be a time to pray to conform our will to that of God's. Everyone always asks "How do I know if I'm in God's will?" There's no better way to get there than to pray about it. This whole will of God discussion is something we can go more in-depth about latter.

Step 4: Ask
Solomon's prayer here is peppered with petition. When you go through the T.A.D.A in order, the emphasis on our requests is the last thing we think of when we pray. Hopefully, by the time we get to this point our requests are no longer selfish, but sincere, God-centered desires laid before him.

Honestly, I don't get into pattern and stuff like this, but I've realized that many people need it to get along. So I offer this up as something to think about. If it works for you, fine. If not, just keep praying. I like to.