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Helping Hands: Praying Hands

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools

Aims

To consider how to use our hands as an aid to praying.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available an image of Albrecht Dürers drawing, Praying Hands, and the means to display it during the assembly. An example is available at: https://tinyurl.com/z22349h

  • Optional: you may wish to have a drawing of a ‘prayer hand’ with the following words displayed, in which case you will also need the means to do so:
     
    - on the little finger, the word me
    - on the fourth finger, the words those in need
    - on the middle finger, the word leaders
    - on the first finger, the word ‘helpers
    - on the thumb, the words those closest to us

  • You may wish to use the Lord’s Prayer found in Luke 11.2-4.

Assembly

  1. Show the image of Albrecht Dürer’s drawing, Praying Hands.

    Ask the children what they think the drawing is trying to show. Explain that Christians believe that prayer is very important. They believe that prayer can help people and even change situations.

  2. Explain that for many Christians, putting hands together - as they are shown in Dürers drawing - has become a traditional way of preparing to say prayers. However, Christians believe that God hears their prayers wherever they are said in every situation.

  3. Ask the children to look at their own hands. Explain that sometimes, it can be difficult to know how to pray, but our hands provide us with a good reminder. Our hands can jog our memory about the people we may want to pray for.

  4. Ask the children to put their thumbs up. Explain that the thumb is the digit nearest to us, so it reminds us to think about those people closest to us. Now ask the children to look at each digit in turn and explain the following format.

    - The first finger, also known as the index finger, is a strong finger that is often used to point the way. It reminds us of those people who have to be strong for us and help us, like teachers, nurses and doctors.
    - The middle finger is the tallest finger and reminds us of people who lead us and guide us.
    - The fourth finger, also known as the ring finger, reminds us of the people who need our love, help and support.
    - The little finger reminds us that we also need to pray for ourselves.

Time for reflection

You may want to display the ‘prayer hand’ as a reminder.

Invite the children to offer their own prayers using the prayer hand.

Prayer
(Holding your thumb) Let us remember those people closest to us.

Pause to allow time for thought.

(Holding your first finger) Let us remember those people who help us.

Pause to allow time for thought.

(Holding your middle finger) Let us remember those people who lead us.

Pause to allow time for thought.

(Holding your fourth finger) Let us remember those people who need our love and prayers.

Pause to allow time for thought.

(Holding your little finger) Let us remember to pray for ourselves.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Follow-up ideas

Children could make their own ‘prayer hands’ by using large cut-out hands. They could use the same ideas as those in the Assembly or they could design their own labels.

Publication date: September 2019   (Vol.21 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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