Many Christians use the word ACTS as an acrostic to remind them of these and other specific components we should include in our prayers.
Adoration reminds us that we must begin our prayers by praising God in such a way that we remember who we are addressing. We see this in the Lord's Prayer as Jesus tells us to pray, Our Father, Who art in Heaven, HALLOWED be Thy name. This reverent praise sets the pattern for all that is to follow. I love our stained glass windows because when I come into this room; they set a tone of reverence; their beauty reminds me of God's beauty and holiness. This helps me to worship correctly...with the right attitude. Begin your prayer time by ADORING God...praising Him for all He is to you...let that set the tone for all that you are about to say!
confession is where we specifically list our known faults and failures and short comings and ask God to forgive us. We see this in the model prayer in verse 12 of Matthew Chapter 6 where Jesus says we must ask God to, "...forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." In confession we not only experience God's forgiveness and the peace that comes with it...but also the lines of communication are cleared so we can hear God and feel His presence more easily.
Thanksgiving a time to specifically thank God for all His blessings. If you are a parent then you know how wonderful it feels when your kids come to you and spontaneously thank you for something you did. Our Heavenly Father feels the same way when we show Him that we NOTICE all He does for us by expressing our gratitude.
Supplication involves obeying Philippians 4:6 where it says, "In everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God." These requests should involve not only asking God for our daily bread....our needs...but also to intercede and meet the needs of others.
And then, I for one add another S to the ACTS acronym. For me this last consonant stands for Submission. In this part of my prayer I submit my will to God's. Jesus taught to make this a part of our prayers when He said we must learn to pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done. This part of prayer teaches us the importance of putting God's will first in our life...in our marriage, family, career, ministry, money, body, relationships, church. It involves admitting that He knows our petitions and intercessions better than we do and asking Him to be our Lord in the coming day...using us as He sees fit.