In these last days of the year, many people are anxious with anticipation. They cannot wait for the holidays, hoping to receive many gifts, taste many delicacies, dance in many parties and become intoxicated many times.
Businesses also relish those days with great anticipation. Most companies and stores make more sales (and money) in those few weeks than in the rest of the year combined. In fact, most businesses are considered to be “in the red” (losing money) until the end of the year arrives.
Most people live with some form of anticipation or another. Students (and most teachers) live for 3:00 PM Friday and office workers languish for two more hours, anticipating the temporary freedom they enjoy on the weekends.
What is it that you wait for with desperate anticipation? Is it the latest smart device? Are you waiting anxiously for the newest epic movie? Are you one of those sport fans that wait impatiently for the next game of your favorite team?
What about living instead with heavenly anticipation?
Weekends, games, movies, vacations, parties and all other events come and go, leaving us empty and unrealized. Our anticipation and our subsequent participation in those earthly activities end up in dissatisfaction.
Let us focus our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and wait for the blessed hope of his imminent appearing (Titus 2:13). Let us walk with Jesus every day by faith, anticipating that glorious day when we shall see Him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12).
In Philippians 3:12-14, the apostle Paul clearly defines a Christian life lived in godly and hopeful anticipation:
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
There is prize waiting for us on the other side. There is a heavenly home that has been prepared for us by the Lord Jesus (John 14:1-4). There is a Savior ready to welcome us with open arms into his glorious and eternal kingdom.
Are you anticipating any of this, or are you too comfortable or too busy to even think about these heavenly things? I pray that all of God’s children will be filled with a holy and hopeful anticipation for the all the great things that our God has in store for us.
Recently I came across the A.C.T.S acronym for prayer in one of my devotional readings. In an acronym, each letter represents a different word and sometimes they are arranged in such a way that they spell a word (like A.C.T.S.) to aid our memory.
In this case A. C.T.S. is a very effective acronym to describe what prayer should be like.
The A stands for Adoration. Whenever we pray, we must begin our prayers with worship and adoration.
“Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
The C stands for Confession. After we worship our Lord we must repent and confess our sins to God in order for our prayer to be heard and received.
“And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
The T stands for Thanksgiving. It is always good and wise to thank the Lord for all his blessings. Prayer is a way for us to express our eternal gratitude to our Savior.
“…giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20)
Finally, the S stands for Supplication. There are petitions in every prayer, but they must be reserved until the end. We must first Adore, Confess and give Thanks and then we can begin to intercede for others and ask for ourselves.
“Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:11-13)
There you have it! Whenever you are in doubt about how to pray correctly, remember the A.C.T.S acronym to help you remember and then pray, pray and pray. Oh, and don’t forget to pray for me!