Every year, one day is set aside to focus on prayer throughout our nation. Every year, I am reminded on that one day how little I pray.
Two years ago I was frustrated with the NDP because I felt like it was more of a show for people. I wondered why there was a specific day set aside to do something that we should always be doing. Truthfully I was just frustrated with myself because I felt like I didn’t know how to pray well with others.
I didn’t write anything about the NDP last year, but I remember actually participating in it as an act of corporate worship. I may not have recognized this then, but the act of worship includes prayer. We often think of worship as the songs we sing in church, but it’s so much more than that. Corporate worship does include songs and music, but also involves reading scripture, giving financially, baptism, and communion. I began to really understand that as the year went on.
We were created continuously outpouring. Note that I did not say we were created to be continuous outpourers. Nor can I dare imply that we were created to worship. This would suggest that God is an incomplete person whose need for something outside himself (worship) completes his sense of himself. It might not even be safe to say that we were created for worship, because the inference can be drawn that worship is a capacity that can be separated out and eventually relegated to one of several categories of being. I believe it is strategically important, therefore, to say that we were created continuously outpouring–we were created in that condition, at that instant, imageo Dei.
I know there’s a lot in there, so let me break it down a little. We were not created for worship or to worship, but as worshippers (continuous outpourers). Just before that quote, Driscoll notes “Harold Best describes the Trinity as the uniquely Continuous Outpourer who continuously pours himself out between the persons of the Godhead in unceasing communication, love friendship, and joy.” So being created in God’s image (imageo Dei), we were created as continuous outpourers. We are perpetual worshippers, but sometimes our worship is not directed towards our Creator as it should be.
A part of our continuous worship is prayer. Prayer is the communication, friendship, love, and joy that was mentioned above, coming from us towards God. This is sometimes represented byt the acronym ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication.
Adoration is giving God the credit for the joy that we find in Him. It is communicating and proclaiming our love back to Him. It is glorifying Him and proclaiming His attributes.
Confession involves communicating or confessing our sins with a repentant heart. Repentantly confessing sin is an important attribute of a healthy friendship.
Thanksgiving is thanking God for the provision and joy that He gives us. Thanksgiving is a natural outpouring of our gratitude for ever blessing He has given us.
Supplication involves communicating our needs to God and interceding for others. This is often a major focus on the National Day of Prayer as we pray for our nation and leadership.
Thanksgiving and supplication tend to be the easiest parts of prayer. It’s easy to thank God for our family and friends. It’s easy to thank Him for our food before we eat. It’s easy to ask God for provision in our times of need, or to even ask for the things that we don’t really need. I would argue that it is just as easy to pray a prayer of adoration, we just don’t do it as often. What do you think you are doing when you sing worship songs about the glory and splendor of our King? Confession is the hardest part because it requires a repentant heart. Confession is not just saying “sorry” for our sins, but involves turning away from the sin that is being confessed. When we focus our continuous outpouring towards God, even confession becomes easier because we are already turned away from our sins.
As you go about your day today, remember that prayer is a form of worship. Worship through song is also a form of prayer. Take a look at your life and ask yourself where you are pouring out your life. Direct that outpouring towards God.