We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1.2-3)

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

Typically, we think of prayer in the sense of asking God to do something beneficial for us or others. Forgive. Guide. Provide. Heal. All these are crucial components to a balanced prayer life, but if we focus only on what we want from God, we will lose sight of all that God is and who we are in relation to God.

When I first became a Christian, a friend taught me a simple method of prayer I have carried with me to this day. I don’t always follow the flow slavishly, but I do my best to include all the elements within the body of my prayers.

A doration

C onfession

T hanksgiving

S upplication

Adoration is praising God for who God is. Creator. Redeemer. Sustainer. It is blessing the One who does not need our blessing but deserves it beyond our capacity to express it.

God of all that is, was, and ever will be. You have created us with minds to think and hearts to obey. You are not threatened by the choices we make. Our lives are in your control. Our destiny is in your hands. You do what is good and right, and holy, even when it seems like you are punishing us or have forgotten us. You are the best, loving Father; we can rely on you.  {I praise you for…        }


Confession is admitting what we have done wrong and failed to do right, sins of commission and omission. Sin is both a condition we inherit  and acts that do harm to ourselves and others.

Forgiving God, we fall short of your glory in what we say and do. We have stains on our souls we grind in by our disobedience. Nothing we can do on our own can ever make up for how we have wronged you, others, ourselves. We kneel before the throne of your grace, confident that in Christ, our blackened slate is wiped clean and we once again become testament of your love.   {I confess….             }


Thanksgiving is gratitude for the many blessings God has given us. It is essential that we thank God in plenty and in want. When wealth comes, many come to believe they have “achieved” it and fail to give thanks to God. When poverty strikes, some fail to see anything to give thanks for. The truth is all we experience is a gift from God to be thankful for, in this life and in the next.

Generous God, your blessings are beyond measure. We deserve nothing and you give us everything. Each breath we take is a measure of your grace. And when our days come to a close, you promise us the hope of new life by faith in Christ. Thank you most of all for the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior who has offered us such amazing grace. {I thank you for… }


Supplication is asking God to meet the needs of God’s creation, including ourselves. I have found it helpful to begin locally and move outward, to include both our close relationships and the whole global population. I also like to use visual aids, like photos of those I pray for (my church directory comes in handy here).

Delightful God, it is your desire that all who call on you will be saved and equipped to do every good work. Remember your children who are hurting, lost, grieving, confused. Fill them with a healthy portion of your Holy Spirit that they might live freely and abundantly in you.  {I pray for…. }


When I have a balanced prayer life, I am more likely to be balanced in other aspects of my life, including with my emotions. Prayer shapes how I feel, turning my thoughts away from my own problems to to possibilities of God’s ACTS.


How do you pray?

What lessons have you learned along the way?