The Prayer Hand

Effective prayer on five fingers


The Prayer Hand is an easy way to remember five essential aspects of prayer: praise, saying sorry and thanks, and praying for others and self. Use this helpful diagram in your personal prayer life or when teaching about prayer to others. This resource is made up of excerpts taken from First Encounters, a forthcoming Navigators UK publication by Kath Blacklock.

Kath Blacklock

Navigators UK Rep

Kath Blacklock and her husband are on the leadership team of Navigators UK. They have led student ministries in the UK and Canada for the last thirty years. Kath and Brian now reside in the UK and have three grown sons.

Prayer Hand


Excerpts taken from “First Encounters,” A NavUK Publication by Kath Blacklock

Prayer is an essential part of a relationship with God, and the “Prayer Hand” is a good illustration of how to have a balanced prayer life.

In real life, our thumbs can touch all our fingers. In the same way, the Prayer Hand shows that praise should be linked with saying sorry, saying thanks, praying for others and praying for yourself.


Thumb – Praise (Psalm 34:1)

Index – Petition (Proverbs 28:13)

Middle– Thanksgiving (1 Thess 5:16-18)

Ring – Intercession (Colossians 4:12)

Little – Petition (1 John 5:14-15)

Wrist – Apply (Matthew 7:21)


Praising God

“Praise,” means to “express one’s respect and gratitude.” We love it when people appreciate us, and God does as well.

  • Psalm 34:1 “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” (see also Psalm 150:6)



They say that the hardest thing to do is to apologise. We have all messed up, and God wants us to acknowledge it.

  • Proverbs 28:13 “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (also Romans 3:23)

Mercifully, God does not leave us broken and hurting. He set in motion a solution that has allowed us to find wholeness, not just from sin, but from guilt and shame. It is Jesus.

  • 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.


Saying Thanks

God wants us to thank him, just like we appreciate people thanking us for the good things we do for them.

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (see also Colossians 3:17)


Praying for others.

Prayer is a relationship. It is telling God how much we care for those around us. The Bible says we should pray for others…

  • Colossians 4:12 “He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” (see also 1 Samuel 12:23 and 1 Thessalonians 1:2)


Praying for Ourselves

The wonder of prayer is that we can pray about anything, and that includes ourselves. It isn’t selfish to go to God with our needs. He wants to hear and he wants to answer.

  • 1 John 5:14-15 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.” (see also John 16:24)


Applying Prayer to Life

It is so easy to have a knowledge of how to pray, but never actually go on and do it. Jesus wants us to give our hearts to this essential part of relating to him.

  • Matthew 7:21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord. Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”


In conclusion: The Prayer Hand is a helpful tool in remembering, and keeping in balance, all the areas where we can pray – praise, saying sorry and thanks, and praying for others and self.


Copyright © Navigators UK 2017

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023 8055 8800



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54 The Avenue,
SO17 1XQ

023 8055 8800


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