Friday, September 3, 2010

Prayer : ACTS and Beyond

(picture taken from here)

It's Friday again - and today I managed to attend the NUS CSS Law CG meeting again(!) after finally finishing off with Comparative and International Competition Law.

Today we shared on prayer and what it means. Jon explained that prayer was our means of communication with God. He introduced the A-C-T-S formula of prayer as follow:-

A - Adoration
C - Contrition
T - Thanksgiving
S - Supplication

Adoration is basically the act of adoring God as one who loves Him.
Contrition is the act of confessing and feeling sorry for our sins which have hurt and offended Him.
Thanksgiving would be giving thanks to the giver of all good blessings in our life, God.
Supplication is offering everything to God - our petitions, requests, work : anything and everything.

I could not help but be reminded of the Church's ancient definition of prayer as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:-
2559 "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God."

St Therese of Lisieux beautifully describes prayer :-

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart;
it is a simple look turned toward heaven,
it is a cry of recognition and of love,
embracing both trial and joy.

The ACTS formula, to me, is one which is underscored by love of God and neighbour. Because we love Him, we seek to not only adore Him and lay our supplications before Him, we are also sorry for our sins and faults and seek to thank Him for all good blessings in our life and even those trials which form us into becoming ever more like Him.

Prayer is, in the end, an invitation to a deeper and more authentic relationship with God - and it starts with allowing ourselves to be honest with Him and letting Him into our lives, at every stage and place and time. It is the means by which we unite our hearts, minds and souls with the Lord.

The setting aside of a time and place for a specific form of devotion or prayer in general is wonderful and goes a long way towards making us more prayerful people. However, never underestimate the need to engage God in all of our daily activities - no matter how trivial they seem, and this can be done in ways as simple as speaking to Him in the silence of our hearts while we wait for the bus, ride the MRT, shower, get fed up of reading etc etc (you get the drift!). And when we listen, we might be surprised at what He is telling us.

He who has loved us beyond all understanding will always allow us to find Him through prayer.

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