'Give us a hand with praying,' was not exactly what the Disciples said to Jesus, but if they had, the explanation might have gone something like this:

Look at your open hand. The first feature you come across is your thumb, which not only sticks out prominently, but forms the fleshy base of your whole hand. Your thumb stands for 'Praise', which is the first part of our prayers, and the well-spring of all prayer. Prayer only flows when we remember to whom we are speaking. He is God of Heaven and Earth and the giver of every good gift. At the start and end of our prayers and throughout our prayers, we will always be giving him praise and thanks.

Your index finger is the one nearest to you, and is reminder to pray for those nearest to us: family, friends, those who have asked for our prayers.

Your middle finger is the biggest one and a reminder to pray for the big things of the world - world leaders, truth, peace, justice, and the environment.

The ring finger is weak and can hardly do anything on its own; it reminds us to pray for the weak - the poor, the hungry, the sick, the abused and exploited.

Last and least your little finger is a reminder to pray for yourself; it may not be the most important, but we still talk to God about all our hopes, fears, challenges and dreams.

Although I was taught this pattern for prayer when I was a boy, it still serves me well more than 40 years later.

Robert Simpson

'Put your hands together and we'll say a prayer,' they used to say to the children. There's something wrong with that. It might be more helpful instead of putting our two hands together, to think of our hand reaching out for the hand of God. As a child takes his parent's hand, so we put our hand into God's hand for comfort, courage, safety, strength, or just to say, 'I love you.' That's what prayer is like.

Robert has been giving us a helping hand with our prayers and it seemed very worthwhile to make this available for all who visit our website.

Robert has suggested originally it may have been that we put our hands together to pray, but open, so we could catch the gifts God gives us.

We hope you catch much from these helpful prompts for prayer and can achieve the hour or more of prayer a week, to advance on the average of just half an hour a week.