Practice@People's: The Five Finger Prayer

This month on Practice@People's, Mary Malone introduces us to intercessory prayer (praying on behalf of others) through the Five Finger Prayer.

Sometimes how to pray just feels too complicated.  The world is in disarray, people are hurting, hungry, homeless, people we love face unimaginable challenges.  Sometimes, we just don’t know where to start, how to find the words or the spirit to help us remember God’s goodness.

But this prayer – this prayer gives us a way to take each person, each situation and hold them in the palm of our hand as we lift them into God’s grace and mercy.

This prayer is also a way to introduce children to intercessory prayer.


Five Finger Prayer

1. Your Thumb is the nearest to you. This reminds us to pray for the needs of those closest to you. This is often the first group of people we think to pray for.

2. The next finger is the pointing finger. This reminds us to 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.

3. The next finger is the tallest finger, which reminds us of people in positions of power. Pray for our national leaders, leaders in business and industry, and administrators.  Pray for justice and compassion, as these people have power to influence the wellbeing of our communities and world.  They need God’s guidance.

4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is that this is our weakest finger. This reminds us to pray for God’s strength to defend those who are weak, in trouble, or in pain. They need our prayers every day.

5. Last is our pinkie finger, the smallest finger of all. This finger reminds us to pray for ourselves, thanking God for the gifts we have and asking how to live in ways in that help us be the hands and feet of Jesus… and we may find that once we’ve prayed for others, our own needs are held in a more truthful perspective as well.


In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. - Psalm 5:3 (NIV)



Kate Sweet