Recently, I attended a meeting chaired by JoAnn Akers. JoAnn always begins her meetings with a short devotion. On this night, she shared with us a devotion entitled “Five-Finger Prayers.” The Five-Finger Prayer is simply one method to help with how we pray.
Here’s the way it works. You fold your hands and place them on your lap. Then you use the image of your folded hands to walk through a series of prayers.
You begin with the thumb. It is nearest to you so you start by praying for those closest to you. Next, you turn to the index finger. Your index finger is your pointer finger so this is a reminder to pray for those who teach and preach. The next finger is the tallest. It reminds you to pray for those in authority over you – those who supervise you as well as national and local leaders. The fourth finger is actually the weakest, so pray for those who are in trouble or suffering. The little finger is to remind you of our smallness in relation to the greatness of God.
When JoAnn finished taking us through the exercise, one man in the room immediately said, “I don’t think I will ever again look at prayer the same way.” I think he expressed the feelings of many of us.
It has been my experience that prayer is for many people the greatest resource at their disposal, and at the same time the least used. Yet, for those who do make prayer and scripture reading a regular part of their lives, it becomes a place of spiritual power.
Imagine for just a moment…
instead of flying through the day living on the fumes of an empty spiritual life, you went about your daily activities loving out of the overflow of a life centered in God,
walking through your challenges with the certainty you are held in the palm of God’s hand,
facing uncertainty with peace and confidence,
being able to love your enemies,
confronting trouble and sorrow with unending hope,
being transformed into the very likeness of Christ.
Impossible you say? The Bible tells us that the disciples took notice of how Jesus gained power from his prayer life. So much so, that one day they said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Lk 11:1) Later, it became a central part of their spiritual lives as well.
The late Frank Laubach once called prayer, “The Mightiest Force in the World.” I think the disciples would have agreed. What do you think?
Rev. Dan Brown