May Focus on Prayer - Thy Kingdom Come

This Church of England initiative is about spending time between Easter and the ascension in prayer. We are called to pray for ourselves, for others and for the world over a period of two weeks.

This inititive need not be confined to Church Of England worshippers as we all need to pray - to be thankful but also to ask God to help in numerous situations - personal and local but also International.

I have signed up for the emails which direct and lead my prayers daily. It would be good if you could also pledge to pray every day for 12 consecutive days, asking for ‘God’s kingdom to come’.

I would just like to share with you one of the days writings as a way of leading your prayer time.

When you were at school you were probably taught to put your hands together when you prayed. But in one of his many books about prayer, Henri Nouwen says that when we pray “we are asked to open up our tightly clenched fists”.

So why not start by holding your clenched fist in front of you, and then slowly opening it up to receive from God the blessings and wisdom God longs to give you.

In this way – your hands open before God – your hand itself can be a basic pattern and reminder of how to pray:

Using your hand as a model for prayer

1. Thumb

When something is good you give it the “thumbs up”. So start with thanksgiving. Count your blessings. What are the good things in your life? Thank God for them.

2. Index finger

This is the finger you use to point. Pray for direction in your life; the decisions you need to make; the things for which you are responsible; the things you are concerned about. Pray for direction in our world and for the challenges we face.

3. Middle finger

This is the tallest finger. Pray for the important people who have power in the world; national and local politicians; the Royal Family and other world leaders and their governments.

4. Ring finger

If you are married, you wear your wedding ring on this finger. It is also the weakest finger. It can’t do much on its own. Pray for your family and friends. Pray for the people upon whom you are dependent, and the people who are dependent on you.

5. Little finger

This is the smallest and the last finger on your hand. Pray for the poor, the weak, the helpless,the vulnerable, the excluded, the hungry, the sick, the ill and the bereaved. Remember those who have died.

And finally –lifting both your hands to God in thanksgiving – pray for yourself

The sign of the cross

This leads us to probably one of the most basic ways of praying of all, also using your hands. Making a sign of the cross on your forehead or your body. It is one of the ways many Christians begin and end a time of prayer.


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