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I love acronyms, catchy little things I can remember in times of crisis. ACT is one such acronym, it stands for Adoration, Confession, and Thanksgiving.

It’s my second favorite bit of advice, right after, “When the dark things come just start singing. Break out in song. If you don’t sing well, all the better. Your voice will help to scare them away.”

I’m serious, that’s some age-old wisdom. Some of the most beautiful spirituals come from times of great strife and suffering, slavery, indentured servitude, martyrdom. Not good times and not really times you feel like singing at all, but it’s a powerful act that rocks the supernatural.

Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home

ACT is a handy little tool when you’re in the bottom of a pit, especially if you are a pragmatist, a “fix it” kind of person and you are faced with the unfixable. I don’t do helplessness, powerlessness very well. They tend to distress me and sometimes in the midst of those walls I completely forget that we in Jesus Christ are never powerless, that we always Β have prayer and prayer has the power to move mountains.

ACT can change everything, your attitude, your vision, where you are placing your eyes, and it can move the supernatural too. It can feel counter-intuitive and a bit masochistic really, but when you get some bad news or a flat tire or are facing the impossible, ACT. Adoration: God is good! Thank you, Lord. Confession: I have no idea how to handle this. I’m totally lost and confused. Thanksgiving: I’m so grateful I serve a God who does know just what to do.

Of course you must come up with your own words depending on the situation or who you are, ACT is simply a tool, a formula to help you remember that no matter what the situation you really can ACT, you are never as powerless as it seems. Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving. Often that alone is enough.

I used to pray lots of prayers of lamentation, Oh Lord, woe is me, and prayers of begging, please, please make this go away.Β Bargaining. Anger. Trust me, I can go through the entire cycle of grief 18 times in about ten minutes. There’s nothing wrong with that, sometimes those prayers are necessary, but sometimes we forget that we can actually stand in His promises and trust that our prayers are being answered.

Today our Pastor told a tale from Acts 12. Peter is in prison and the whole church is praying for him. He’s a goner. Suddenly an angel shows up, sets him free, and leads him past the guards. Peter runs to the church where they’re all praying for him and knocks on the gate. Finally a girl Rhoda comes to the gate and in her gladness, runs off to tell the others. The others however, will not listen, they think she is beside herself, they claim she’s seen a ghost. They are so busy praying for Peter they can’t accept that he’s already at the gate trying desperately to get in.

All in good humor here, but that is totally me. I sometimes wonder how many times I have prayed from the bottom of a pit, God has promptly tossed me a rope, and I have gone right on lamenting, Oh Lord, I am in the bottem of a pit and now I have this annoying rope hitting me in the back of the head…..