One of our super-leaders serves on staff at another local church in a neighboring county. She shared with me how the church she serves lives out praying for their neighborhood at their weekly prayer meeting. We’ve adapted their system to be kid-friendly for our own community using the 5-finger prayer method for a sticky, holy habit with our students.

5-finger prayer
Thumb – pray for someone closest to me (a local business; local entrepreneurs)
Pointer – pray for someone who teaches me (a local school)
Tall – pray for our leaders (a local public official; local first responder)
Ring – pray for those who need help (another local church/missionary)
Pinkie – pray for our own (a church family facing extraordinary challenges)

We introduce our monthly five on the first Sunday of each month. A new prayer prompt card is shared with the students to take home. We invite the students to hold up that finger (their whole hand for the tall finger) as we silently pray as a large group for each organization/family/person is named. We practice in large group each week, then follow it up throughout the month on social media and by email who the prayer recipients are each month. This time of silent prayer and repeat-after-me prayers naming our neighbors has become one of my favorite moments each Sunday morning. 

At the beginning of each month, we draft a letter to each organization, family, person. The students and our leaders sign their first names in fabulously colored ink to each letter upon arrival in the Welcome Center to be mailed the following week. One example would be:

Dear…..
We consider it a privilege at McEachern Memorial United Methodist Church to partner with and to pray for our neighbors. We believe that it is also a joy to lift up our local businesses and their staff. After all, we are all serving God’s families and that service needs us working together.

This month you were chosen as our local business of the month. During the McEachern Kids Sunday school hour you and your staff will be mentioned by name in a specific season of prayer. We will pray that you will be touched by God’s protective hand as you go about your daily interactions with our community. 

May God’s greatest blessings rest upon you as you faithfully serve in this community.

Seek Him First,
McEachern Kids
K-5th graders and leaders

Teaching students to pray for their neighbors, at church and at home, is a holy habit everyone can practice. Yet most littles don’t know who to pray for outside themselves, making most of their prayers all about themselves. This holy habit also lets our neighbors know that we want to be good neighbors, too.

Who can you pray for today?

“When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray.” Acts 21:5