An easy definition for mnemonic is: “a device such as a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assists in remembering something.”
I saw this “Word of the Day” prompt, and immediately thought this is something missing in so many Christ-followers today. Somehow we’ve forgotten some of the most important things designed to keep our daily relationship with Jesus fresh. However, there is a simple mnemonic I learned years ago which I still use often these days to refocus my mind on the major elements of my faith.
When I’ve taught folks as new believers how to pray Biblically, I’ve these letters: A.C.T.S. It goes like this…
All too often the first thing out of our mouths/minds towards God’s throne in heaven is, “help” or “could you please…?” While God is interested in hearing our heart-felt cries for help, the fact that we begin our prayers this way is telling us something. Maybe we haven’t quite figured out what our relationship with God entails. We serve the God of the universe who has all authority, is in control of everything, and has promised us His eternal presence here and now in our lives today, not just in heaven when we get there.
Knowing this about God should generate a more appropriate response of adoration, and a desire to bring God glory with the praise of our lips. We should exalt Him for what He has done, is doing, and will do in the future to glorify Himself in Jesus Christ, and in us. Seeing and knowing God these ways should result in a specific response.
C = confession
What a realistic view of God usually does for the true Christ-follower is very humbling. Like the apostle Peter in the boat when he realized Jesus was the true Messiah, Peter basically shouted “get away from me Lord, I’m a sinner!” Acknowledging our failures and sins before our Savior, and feeling the need to run and hide, is the very point at which Jesus pulls us into Himself. With fabulous forgiveness and glorious grace multiplied daily by our confession, we continue to walk in His spirit, bringing light and salt into the world around us. It also generates another response.
T = thanksgiving
The basic difference between adoration and thanksgiving is the understanding between God’s nature and God’s actions. We adore Him because He is God, and deserves to be glorified, exalted and adored. We offer our thanksgiving for how He acts toward us, and the world. The best and easiest way to do this is found in the old hymn “Count your blessings.” This song is not to be confused with the famous “White Christmas” song, “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep.” That’s a great song, but has a totally different meaning. The one I’m referring to goes like this…
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
And finally, after we’ve adored God’s nature and character, confessed our sins before Him, and offered our many thanks for all God has done, we’re prepared, in humbleness to approach the throne of Grace with…
S = supplication
I realize this is a word not many 21st century believers are even familiar with. So, again, a little definition. Supplication: the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly. Perhaps the keys words in this definition are “earnestly or humbly.” Too many people I know, start their prayers here, and in their voices all I hear is “God, look at all I’ve done for you… you owe me this.” They approach the throne of grace without knowing who God is (Adoration), knowing who they are (sinners), or with a grateful heart for how God has blessed them in the past (thanksgiving). They just jump right in, as though God is some cosmic slot machine, they throw up their many requests, and pull the handle (“in Jesus name”) and expect God to deliver whatever it is they want.
I’m pretty sure it saddens God’s heart when lost people do this. I’m convinced it grieves God’s heart gravely when He hears His own children act in this unbecoming way.
If you want to turn around the relationship you have with God in Christ, to be the living, vibrant life you truly desire spiritually, and Jesus described as “life more abundant”, then fill you prayers daily with: A.C.T.S.
Remember: who God is, who you are, all your blessings, then make your petitions…
The results will astound you.