In all my years of ministry, one of the most frequently asked questions is, “Does God answer our prayers?” And the resounding answer is, YES! Yes our God does answer our prayers.
Then the follow up questions comes, “How do I pray?” or “I believe in prayer and that God answers prayer, but how do I talk to Him?”
In my readings, I ran across something I’ve seen and read countless times before, “the five-fingered prayer.” This prayer illustration is great and very useful, but before I delve into the “five-fingered prayer” let me share briefly what I use on Sunday mornings.
As I lead the Pastoral prayer on Sunday Mornings, in my mind I have the ACTS of prayer loaded and ready to go. I first approach prayer with Adoration. I praise God for His goodness and unfailing love for us. I then move onto Confession. I ask for forgiveness for myself and the congregation as we are a sinful people saved by His grace.
I then focus on Thanksgiving, for how God has answered our prayers and has always provided for our needs as a church family. I then finish up with Supplication. I pray for the current names on our prayer list and pray for healing for the sick and hurting, for wisdom and strength to get through the valleys that some people may be in. The ACTS of prayer, a great formula when it comes to leading a public prayer or your own private prayer life.
Now let’s get back to the five-fingered prayer and let’s focus on our thumb first. The thumb is the strongest digit on your hand. Give thanks for all the strong things in your life, like home and family, or relationships that support and sustain you.
Next is your index finger. This is the pointing finger. Pray for those people and things that guide and help you in your life. Friends, teachers, doctors, nurses, emergency services and so on.
Then we move onto the middle finger. This is the tallest finger you have. Pray for all the important people who have power in the world, like world leaders and governments, members of parliament and local councilors, city mayors and aldermen, or our president.
This now takes us to the ring finger. The ring finger is your weakest finger on your hand. It cannot do much by itself (ask anyone who plays piano). Remember the poor, the weak, the helpless, the hungry, the sick, the ill and the bereaved.
Lastly we have our pinkie finger. This is the smallest and the last finger on your hand. Pray for yourself.
What I like most about this prayer guide is that it reminds me to keep others before myself. Too often when I pray, I immediately present God with my needs, wants and desires and then lose my train of thought before I even think to pray for anyone else. Try using this tool as you drive home from work or go out for a walk.
Prayer is something we can do at all times and this may be just the tool to make it a part of your life, not just something you do before you go to bed or face a difficult situation. Prayer is an activity we can’t engage in enough. God hears and answers our prayers and your hand is a good way to remind yourself to pray for someone else.
In His Hands,
John - HE>i