The Five Fingers of Prayer

Michael Goghlan

Photo Credit: Michael Goghlan via CC Flickr

I came across this little, fun way to pray many, many years ago that I always thought was a pretty good idea and a terrific way to remember not only who or what to pray for…but HOW to pray.

This is beautiful – and it is surely worth making the 5 finger prayer a part of our lives!

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1.Your thumb is nearest you.

So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you.

They are the easiest to remember.

To pray for our loved ones is,

as C. S. Lewis once said, a “sweet duty.”

2. The next finger is the pointing finger.

Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal.

This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers.

They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction.

Keep them in your prayers.

3. The next finger is the tallest finger.

It reminds us of our leaders.

Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators.

These people shape our nation and guide public opinion.

They need God’s guidance.

4. The fourth finger is our ring finger.

Surprising to many is the fact that is our weakest finger,

as any piano teacher will testify.

It should remind us to pray for those who are weak,

trouble or in pain.

They need prayers day and night.

You cannot pray too much for them.

5. And lastly comes our little finger

– the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves

in relation to God and others.

As the Bible says, “The least shall be the greatest among you.”

Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself.

By the time you have prayed for the other four groups,

your own needs will be put into proper perspective

and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

Ever Feel Like Your Prayers Are Useless?

Photo Credit: Udeyismall via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Udeyismall via CC Flickr

“Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.” Revelation 8:3–4

There are many times that I feel like my prayers are useless. I repeat the same thing, day after day, and see no answer from God, no results.

Other times, I treat prayer like the least and last thing, when there’s nothing else I can do: “I’ll pray for you.” I say it when I’m feeling helpless and hopeless.

When did prayer become like this for me?

Jesus prayed constantly. He would sometimes stay up all night to pray. He went away to lonely places to pray. He experienced everything we do, so I’m sure there were times He felt like God wasn’t hearing Him. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed for the cup of suffering to pass from Him, and His prayer wasn’t answered.

In Revelation, the prayers of God’s people are offered with incense on the altar. Our prayers are like incense—an aroma before God, pleasing Him, moving Him. The aroma becomes stronger the more we pray or the more intensely we pray. Our prayers rise before God’s throne. Our prayers reach Him.

So even if I feel like my prayers are worthless, or I’ve become repetitive, I have to remember that they’re valuable; they can please God and move Him.

Faith step: Is your prayer life stagnant? Give it a new jolt of energy. Remember that your prayers are treasured, that they rise to God where He sits on His throne. Devote yourself to a certain amount of prayer every day this week, and make your prayers incense before God.

By Camy Tang

This devotion is excerpted from Mornings with Jesus.

Praying the Alphabet

Photo Credit: Plaisanter via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Plaisanter via CC Flickr

I recently came across the following little article, written by Rick Hamilton from Guideposts publications, which I thought would be an interesting and helpful thing to share with you. I have actually done this quite often in the past, often with great success, especially if I was fighting with anxiety or couldn’t sleep.

Ever have one of those nights where you can’t sleep? You toss and turn, pull up the covers, push them down, fluff up your pillow, pound it, turn the light on, turn the light off, open the window, close it, and you’re still staring at the ceiling, avoiding the clock on your bedside table for fear of its shaming glow that says, “You’re not asleep yet? You headed for bed HOURS ago.”

Sometimes it’ll be a passel of worries that keep me up, and I attempt to do what my wife does at Lent when she gives up worry. “I turn the worries into prayer,” she says. A worthy strategy.

But oftentimes there seems no rhyme or reason for it. I’m just awake and the rest of the world seems to be sleeping. Peacefully, quietly. Restorative sleep.

Paul lists “sleepless nights” as one of the trials he undergoes and maybe by that he meant watchfulness or insomnia, but Jesus was so relaxed that when the disciples were fishing on storm-tossed waters, he slept through the whole turmoil and seems irritated to be wakened. Why didn’t they trust that he would look out for them, even asleep? Why indeed?

Instead of tossing and turning, I’ve found the best use of time during a sleepless passage is something I remember learning from Norman Vincent Peale from an article he wrote back in the early 80s. The message: Pray for others.

I go through the alphabet, starting with A, taking my time. After all, I’ve got all night. “Addie, Allen, Abigail, Barry, Bruce, Beverly, Becca, Catherine, Cordelia…”

Then I’ll find my mind swerving to concerns or diseases that fit those same letters: “Addiction, alcoholism, breast cancer, cervical cancer, cancer period…” which leads me to another roster of people.

I start picturing them whole, untroubled, safe, prospering, cared for, loved. And I’m always amazed how many people come to mind, people I haven’t thought of in years, people I’ve never known personally.

I like to think my prayers are making a difference in their lives, however far they are from me, even if I’ll never know what caused me to think of them. There’s a calming of the agitated wavelength and a community gathering in the nighttime.

“Maybe this is what I’m supposed to be doing,” I think. It’s better than lying there aimlessly. It gives me a sense of purpose and some measure of peace.

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep,” the Psalmist said, “for thou alone, O Lord, makest me dwell in safety” (4:8).

The truth of the matter is, there’s usually a big chunk of the alphabet I don’t get to, anything that begins with U, V, W, X, Y, Z. They might have made an appearance earlier in the meanderings of my brain, but by the time I get that deep into the alphabet, I am headed to sleep.

Of course, you can count sheep if you wish. But if you’re up–and I too might be up with you–let’s pray.