Jesus’ SCARS: How to Spend Quality Time with God

Prayer 2A couple years ago I re-worked the well-known ACTS acrostic and found it to be a game-changer in my morning time with God. Recently I re-worked the re-work to make it clearer and hopefully more useful to others. Here it is:

Jesus:  Start by simply meditating on the Person of Christ. Set your heart and mind on him but don’t necessarily put your thoughts and feelings into words. Remember who he is—a co-glorious Person of the triune God. His glory had no beginning. It existed before the dawn of time.[1] It followed him as he entered our world, and could not be contained as he lived a sinless life, demonstrating authority over nature, sickness, demons and death. In a human body, he obeyed in our place to the point of death, even death on a cross.[2] He rose and ascended and will come again to openly and absolutely and unceasingly reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.[3] Yes, he is unfathomable—the point of this step is to become astonished by trying to fathom him even a little.

Take your time with this. Don’t move on until your heart warms toward him with awe and affection.

S = Sin:  Next, ask God to make you aware of your sin. Focus your attention especially on your words, thoughts, deeds and motives of the past twenty-four hours. Agree with him in no uncertain terms—call your sins what they really are: rebellion and cosmic treason. Ask him to grant you repentance.[4] Acknowledge the fact that much of your sin is still unknown to you. Go so far as to declare your utter unworthiness—not a difficult thing to do when you think about the fact that you are spending time in the presence of an absolutely holy God.

C = Cross:  You know what to do with those sins—take them to the cross! Place your trust in Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice there, remembering that it’s because of him alone that you are warmly accepted before the Father. Your sin-bearing, wrath-bearing, curse-bearing Savior also clothes you in his perfect righteousness.

If this good news seems too good to be true, apply the Scriptures on the subject to yourself by personalizing them. There are hundreds of go-to passages for this in the Bible. Make your own list of cross-centered verses and then linger over it until you become assured of being enveloped by His love.

A = Adoration:  At this point, how can you not be filled with gratitude? Praise, adoration and worship come easily. Bask in them for as long as you can. It’s a lot easier to worship after taking your sin to the cross! We will cover this subject in greater detail when we discuss the fifth love language, words of affirmation.

R = Responsive Reading:  This is sometimes referred to as conversational prayer or meditative prayer. Start by reading Scripture beginning where you left off the previous day. As you read and re-read, turn it into a conversation with God. Seek to “hear” what he is saying through his Word, the Bible. Spiritual hearing is not usually, if ever, audible. Instead, it is a process by which we gain a sense of what the Lord is saying to us personally.[5] This kind of hearing may at first seem strange. But it is Biblical. For example, the expression, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches is repeated seven times in the Book of Revelation.[6]

As you become aware of hearing him, “pray back” your response. It could be an exclamation, an observation, a question, or a request. Tell him your feelings—are you relieved, scared, jubilant or confused? No matter what form your response takes, address it directly to him in prayer. Do this until you’ve left the methodology behind and find yourself enjoying fellowship with the awesome, holy, loving, triune God.

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