If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 2 Chronicles 7:14-15 NIV
When we were teaching our children to pray, we began with the familiar "God is great, God is good..." They would sit in their high-chairs, holding our hands, with head bowed, eventually learning when to verbosely proclaim, "AMEN!" Not long after they began to say the words. Bedtime prayers were added as they became a bit older. These early prayers were short memorized statements that helped our young sons build habits that have continued now into adult hood. As they matured, we began to discuss how to pray, to personalize our adoration and personal requests, adding scripture and calling on Biblical promises.
One of the lesson on prayer used their tiny hands as a tool to remember whom to pray for.
The index finger represents Number One, God Almighty. Beginning our prayers to the One who holds everything in His hands with all authority to act, heal and save. Ackowledging who is in control over all things and from whom comes our salvation helps us to place our requests in proper perspective. This is a greeting like when an close friend calls on the phone.
The middle finger is the longest finger on the hand and represents those in authority over us. This includes you as parents, your child's teachers and coaches, our government, military and local police officers, etc. These people need God's help to make good decisions, handle problems with God's wisdom, have patience in adversity for the benefit of others and physical safety as they protect us.
The ring finger is the weakest finger and the one that reminds us to pray for those who lack strength because of illness, fatigue, physical ailments or other needs. We as children of the Living God must have compassion for those less fortunate, patience with those in need, and courage to help our fellow man.
The "pinky" finger is the smallest finger and represents "me." We must be humble before God. Humility is not thinking less of our selves, but thinking about ourselves less often. Teaching our children early will help them to see that no matter how bad their circumstance, there are others less fortunate than themselves.
The thumb is a large, strong finger but it points in a different direction from the other fingers. This finger prompts us to pray for those who are not going in the right direction. These are people may include those who are not followers of Christ, or believers who are making poor decisions. The "lost" are all around us and need our help so they may know our God through prayer and demonstration of Christ's love.
This week is our national celebration of freedom and independence. As we teach our children to pray, let us be intentional in our prayer for our country and it's leaders. Our children are blessed to enjoy abundant blessings and safety. It is because of brave people who have humbled themselves in prayer with the courage to fight to preserve our unalienable right of freedom to worship the Alpha and Omega. Whether fact or myth, it is well believed that George Washington frequently prayed as the Commander-In-Chief of the civilian army fighting the British for independence. Our nation is built on the declaration that we have rights endowed by the Creator.
As parents, we must teach our children to humbly seek the Lord's face and to pray for our country. Prayer may be something you were not taught or are in a habit of practicing. It may seem awkward, so start with baby steps, like learning to walk. Begin with speaking gratitude to God. "Thank you" for blessing in your life, your spouse, children, home, food, job, church... Repeat a prayer of adoration and gratitude with meals and at bedtime. Memorize the Lord's prayer in Matthew 6. Pray using the above hand example as a reminder of who to pray for. Our LORD is faithful, and will hear you from heaven. In His lovingkindness He will open His heart to listen and open your heart to feel His Presence.
Holy Father God, You are faithful. You have promised to hear our prayers to listen to our supplications. This week as we celebrate as a nation, may we remember You are the one who bestows freedom, provides protection and blesses this country. Help us corporately and individually turn from our wicked ways, humble ourselves to pray so You may continue to bless this nation that we love. Help us to be faithful in prayer and to teach our children to pray. You are the Sovereign Lord of All. Thank You for the blessings we enjoy. Please be with those in this world who are under persecution. May we all put our hope in You, the only One who can set us free. In the precious Name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.