Praying hand? What is that? Well, did you ever want a simple pattern for prayer requests that would help you to remember who and what to pray for? There is a little memory aid using the five fingers of one hand as a guide to what to pray for. You can teach it to others in a few minutes. Each finger becomes a reminder of a certain group that needs our prayers.

The Thumb. When the hands are held palm to palm, in the traditional praying position, the thumb is nearest to you, so begin by praying for those closest to you--family, friends, and perhaps work associates. Prayer for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, "a sweet duty."

The First Finger. This is the pointing finger. Pray for those who are serving the Lord and pointing others to Him. This includes pastors and other church workers, missionaries, Bible school staff, and those who serve in other Christian ministries.

The Second Finger. This is the tallest finger. It reminds us to pray for those in leadership and in authority over us. Pray for national, provincial (or state) and local governments. Pray that God will give them the wisdom and courage to uphold what is just and true.

The Third Finger. Surprising to many, this is the weakest finger of all (as a piano teacher can tell you). It should remind us to pray for those who are sick and suffering, those who carry heavy burdens, those who are sorrowing, and so on.

The Fourth Finger. This is the smallest finger, reminding us of where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. By the time we have prayed for those in the first four categories we will have a better perspective on our own needs and can pray for them.

The praying hand is a simple way to help us to be more consistent in remembering to pray for the needs of others as well as for ourselves.