Thinking today about some elements of our spiritual formation classes and during my thinking about prayer I had to ask myself this question: Do we make prayer too hard or too easy when we teach people about it?
Maybe you’ve heard of the ACTS model (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication) – all of which is based on the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) but seems somewhat cheesy and easy to remember.
Is that a bad thing?
Should we just teach the Lord’s Prayer as it is and hope that people get it?
Let’s say that I have 15 minutes to pray in the morning before work. What will I remember when I sit down? The various aspects of the Lord’s Prayer? Or ACTS? What will keep me from frustration?
Is that too easy?
It’s the challenge of teaching, especially when because of our size and ministry model most people think we’re soft anyway and that’s how we’ve grown (another discussion for another time). It’s the challenge of asking yourself:
Do I give people something that is difficult, that they may not remember or be able to work with, because it’s straight Scripture or do I give people something that they may ACTUALLY be able to use to develop a consistent, daily practice of prayer?
Not to mention that we aren’t all at the same place – some people need a simpler form of prayer but there are others who are perfectly capable of having prayer be a conversation with God. There are some of the “advanced” folks who would criticize ACTS, even though it might have helped them get to the “advanced” state where they currently are.
As the saying goes, you dance with the one who “brung” you.
Two years ago or so I may have said: “It’s the Bible. Suck it up and do it. It’s Jesus for crying out loud!” Again we’re not taking the Lord’s Prayer off the table, just putting it into a memorable format. Honestly I think that if we did a survey of whether or not people had a daily prayer time we’d find that a tool that helps get something going would be incredibly helpful.
Your thoughts: do we need to make prayer easier to develop and replicate? Is the ACTS model helpful to you or is there another way?