Although I am well past my childhood, I regularly use an acronym that I learned in Catholic parochial school to focus my prayer and the purpose for which I am praying. The acronym is ACTS, and each letter represents a type of prayer.
A is for Adoration
C is for Contrition
T is for Thanksgiving
S is for Supplication
The Sisters who taught me catechism lessons explained each of these types of prayer.
Adoration is prayer in which we express our humility before God. We bless, adore, and praise God for his majesty, goodness and other perfections.
Contrition is prayer that professes our sorrow for our sins.
Thanksgiving is a prayerful expression of our gratitude for God’s gifts, both intrinsic and extrinsic.
Supplication is petitioning or even begging God for our personal needs or those of others. The latter is also called intercession.
I tend to apply these types of prayer after I receive Holy Communion, especially at daily Mass. If I don’t close my eyes and do this I get distracted. So, here are some of the prayers I use. Some are those I know by heart. Some are personal expressions.
“I adore you, O Christ, and I praise you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.”
“I adore you, O Christ, and I praise you, because you are all good and deserving of all my love.”
“Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” This is also a time to confess to God my sins, the bad actions I’ve done or the good ones that I have omitted doing.
“Thank you, Lord, for everything: my life, my faith, my family and friends. Without you and your gifts I can do nothing.”
What I pray at this point depends on circumstances at the time. For example, I pray to do God’s will when I’m trying to make a particular decision, especially about something important, like making a commitment to do something. Or I may pray for someone whom I know is struggling with something, like an addiction or a serious illness.
Having this little acronym is helpful to me after communion, because, too often I begin to daydream about something entirely unrelated to the immense gift of God, that he has given me in the Eucharist. It’s possible to take it for granted, and I don’t want to get into that bad habit.
I am flexible with this approach to prayer. First of all, there may not be time after Holy Communion to finish all four types. Or, I may concentrate on just one of these categories, like thanksgiving. This is especially true at Sunday Mass, because for at least part of the time we are expected to sing a Communion hymn. Singing is a form of prayer, too, and I love to sing, so I can easily put my heart and soul into it. The lyrics of some Communion hymns are actually full of theology or Biblical allusions. But, if there is quiet time I have my ACTS acronym.