Roane Community Seventh-day Adventist Church

Guides to Prayer

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Guides for Prayer

by John and Carrol Shewmake

Many Christians find that a guide not only helps them find more meaning and enjoyment in daily prayer, but also helps them in understanding God. Here are a few suggestions of prayer guides:

1. Acronym of ACTS:

Some people receive great blessing in praying through the four steps of the acronym of ACTS: adoration (acknowledging God as the Creator of the Universe), confession (confessing our own sinfulness and weakness, specific sins), thanksgiving (thanking God for His personal benefits to us–forgiveness, family, and material comforts), and supplication (asking for what we need.)

2. Scripture Passages:

Portions of scripture can also be used as guides, such as the passage we know as The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 7:9-13) The concepts expressed in this passage can be put into our words and our time. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), and many other passages can be used in the same way as a guide for prayer.

3. Sanctuary Prayer:

Sanctuary Prayer is my personal favorite prayer guide for morning devotions because God has taught me so much about Himself through this model. When God instructed Moses to liberate the Hebrew slaves from Egypt to become His chosen people, over four hundred years had dimmed their memories of the true God. They were ignorant, steeped in Egyptian idolatry and traditions. They needed instruction and demonstration. God set up the wilderness sanctuary to teach the people about the true God, to make the one true God real to them, to demonstrate to them how He saves each human soul, and to give them teaching tools to share the gospel with the nations around them. God had chosen this people, not to be an exclusive group, but to be teachers to include the whole world in Christianity.

The services of the sanctuary centered around the ministry of the coming Redeemer, Jesus. It is true that those antitypical (pointing forward) services ended when they met fulfillment at Christ’s crucifixion, yet His intercession and judgment ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary (of which the wilderness sanctuary was only a copy) is still going on.

Following the steps the priests took daily in their sanctuary work helps me consciously co-operate with our High Priest, Jesus, in His intercession and ministry for each of us personally in the Heavenly Sanctuary. (See Hebrews 7:23-25)

This visual aid illustrated in the earthly example opens our minds to the extent of the redemptive work necessary for our salvation. It is prophetic as it points to the coming Redeemer, the continual intercession of our High Priest, and the culmination of sin. The sinless life Jesus lived here on earth, the death He died to pay the price for our sins, are completed. But God has not left us alone since then. As a High Priest in the Heavenly Sanctuary, His ministry for us continues. He hears our prayers; He guides, teaches, and disciplines us through the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the angels. Understanding of scripture is opened to our minds. We become intimate with God. Eyes of faith look forward to Christ’s second coming, the end of sin and a sinless eternity before us.

4. Prayer Journaling:

Some people find their quiet time with God more meaningful when they sit at a desk or table with pen in hand composing letters to God. Often these letters are written in a daily journal that can be reread to remember the needs expressed, the sorrow or joy put into words, the contrition of a heart lifted up to God. This is not a diary—but a journal written to God. The form they use is as individual as the people they are. 


We thank John and Carrol Shewmake for their permission to use the materials in the section above. Link to their ministry and several other resources:


We invite you to share your insight on what "methods" of prayer may be meaningful to you:

Linden Lawrence
2014-01-20 9:30 AM

Last evening during 9:00pm online prayer circle Shevon based her prayer upon Ephesians3:16-19.  This was a special blessing to me as she prayed about being "strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man"   .... that we might be able to comprehend ..."what is the width and length and depth and height ---to know the love of Christ" .  Thank you Shevon, what a blessing through scripture prayer! 

2014-01-21 9:56 PM

Praise God that his words carry such power! Thats actually one of my favorite passages in the bible : ) 

Linden, have you ever tried "sanctuary prayer"? I've never heard of that... 

Linden Lawrence
2014-01-21 10:07 PM

The sanctuary prayer description is also new to me. Let's check out the link above to  the Shewmake's website ie. prayer partners, and see if they have a more in depth description.  Usually my thinking is clearer in the morning!  

Linden Lawrence
2014-01-22 10:46 AM

Thanks to Shevon for providing the following link: by Carrol Johnson Shewmake.  Her illustration of "Sanctuary Prayer" begins to unfold the many facets of the Old Testement sanctuary model, as I study the sanctuary and its purpose I find relevance to our own understanding of worship... and prayer life. 

Linden Lawrence
2014-02-03 8:41 AM

I'd like to encourage others to read an article that Shevon recommended on conversational prayer: