Yet as ancient, excellent, and helpful as this prayer pattern* is, it hinders our devotion if it causes us to doubt that we can speak to our heavenly father as readily, spontaneously, and familiarly as does the Son with whose voice we pray.
Often people ask me to pray for specific needs. I always promise to do so despite my faulty memory and the number of requests. I make the promise because I learned from a mature pastor to send an "arrow prayer" to heaven even as I speak to the person making the request. I cannot model these arrow prayers after the A-C-T-S pattern; they are more the reflexes of my spirit affirming the most basic requests: "Yes, Lord, please help Ginny find her way"; "Watch over John during his surgery"; "Give Marge and Steve your wisdom as they speak to Jerry." My prayers in these moments are not very elegant, but I do not believe God minds. He is more concerned to hear my prayers than to grade their form.
Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus' Name, by Bryan Chapell, pg. 94-95
I imagine that there were a number of these "arrow prayers" voiced on US Air flight 1549 yesterday.
*Chapell's description of the A-C-T-S (Adoration-Confession-Thanksgiving-Supplication) prayer acrostic and demonstration of its antiquity as shown in a quote from Origen.
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