Friday, March 22, 2019

Finger Prayers

Last week, I featured a stunning book about centering prayer. Today’s book about prayer couldn’t be more different. Where the former book was somewhat ethereal and cerebral, today’s book is practical and literally hands-on. Don’t let the look of this little board book keep you from using its contents as lesson inspiration for those beyond preschool age. These simple techniques can be tools for everyone.
Picture Book: Praying with My Fingers:                                                        An Easy Way to Talk with God
Inspired by: Pope Francis
Summary: With rhyming verse, 5 little prayers are explained while being paired with joyful illustrations. 
Each finger offers a category of prayer. 
The tall finger is a reminder to pray for our leaders. Be sure to encourage your audience to consider leaders in your church as well as political leaders at home and far away. 
The thumb prayer is a reminder to pray for those closest to you - your family members. Consider having them place their thumbs on their chests or hearts.
The pointer finger is a cue to pray for all those who show us the way (teachers at church & school). I would include prayers for those who teach them elsewhere, such as sports or scout leaders.
The ring finger is the weakest so it encourages us to pray for those who are vulnerable whether weak, sick, or small.  
The pinkie finger is a wiggler. It will remind your audience to pray for their own wiggly selves. Wiggling here can be about wiggling bodies and attention spans.  
The book ends with encouragement to start all over again. I think for the sake of practice and recall that is a good idea, but during authentic prayer, I would encourage that they move to prayers of thanksgiving. Here each finger could be a reminder to be thankful for those same categories of people or even situations. 
Hanna’s Comments: I'm not sure why this book starts with the middle finger. Feel free to adapt this method as you see fit. If teaching to older folks, you might even add a hand gesture and pair it with another type of prayer. For instance, the whole hand could remind you to pray for the entire Body of Christ. The back of the book says this prayer form is not new but has been lately connected to Pope Francis' time as Archbishop of Argentina. Regardless of its origin and size, this little book offers a powerful set of prayers that could be meaningful for anyone since it offers an accessible tool for 5 simple but important prayers.
Original Publisher & Date: Paraclete, 2014
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Call to me and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things (Jeremiah 33:3); When you pray, do not heap up empty phrases… (Matthew 6:7); Ask, and it will be given to you… (Luke 11:9); Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17); I urge that supplication, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people… (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of preschoolers and practice the prayers together. OR Adapt these prayers and hand gestures for a lesson to elementary-aged children and encourage them to come up with other body prayers. 

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