Monday, May 20, 2019

Pray on Your Fingers

As a church we talk a lot about prayer. In sermons, in Bible Study, in Sunday School, during coffee hour and just in general conversation. One question that repeats itself is "how to we pray?" Is there a formula for how to talk to God?

The acronym ACTS is often used as an example of the types of prayers Christians use. A for adoration or praise of the Almighty. C for confession. T for thanksgiving and S for supplication or intercession. It's a handy device and a pattern that we see echoed in our order of service.

I've come across another pattern for prayer that some might find useful, particularly when teaching children to pray. This one involves praying on your fingers. Here's how it works.

The thumb is nearest your heart, so pray first for those closest to you like parents, siblings and friends. Don't forget to pray for yourself. Tell God what you need.

The second finger is used to point. Pray for those who point you toward the way you should go; teachers, mentors, ministers and all who inspire your faith.

The third finger, the tallest, suggests we pray for leaders, both within our faith community and without. Pray for elders, for members of parliament, for Queen Elizabeth and the Prime Minister. We might even pray for celebrities whose position of influence could make them terrific ambassadors for Christ.

The fourth finger is the weakest. Pray for the sick and abused, the imprisoned and the helpless.

The fifth finger, the baby, is the smallest. Pray for those often forgotten in our busy whirl -- the lonely, the bereaved, those using food banks and the homeless.

Pray often. At Bible Study this week we watched the movie, "Shadowlands," a biographical account of a time in the life of C.S. Lewis, author ot the Narnia stories among others. At the beginning of the movie Lewis talked about suffering and God in a rather clinical manner. Later, when he knew suffering first hand, he was asked about prayer. He replied,
“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God. It changes me.”
If you want to enrich your prayer life, try praying on your fingers. 

― C.S. Lewis

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