[When I was in college seminary, we students sometimes made snide comments about “Hallmark Theology,” which was something easy to understand, syruppy sweet, memorable, and small enough to fit on a greeting card. Now that I am older, wiser, and a lot less cynical, I actually enjoy some hallmark theology. Of course, as with choosing greeting cards, time and care are needed in the selection process.

This is yet another nice thought by Anonymous who is sometimes referred to by his first and middle names — Author Unknown. Since we don’t know who wrote it, the message gets all our focus. And, as always, what means nothing to one might speak volumes to another.]

Five Finger Prayer

Your thumb is nearest you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a “sweet duty.”

The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, priests, rabbis, imams, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.

The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance.

The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger, as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.

And lastly comes our little finger – the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, “The least shall be the greatest among you.” Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

help wanted Pictures, Images and Photos

[What is your favorite piece of “hallmark theology”? Please send me a copy and you may see it featured in a future post. Put Hallmark Theology in the subject matter. Please send to frpjw@sacredheartblfd.org.

[UPDATE: Last month I invited readers to send me A coph of a favorite piece of Hallmark Theology. Only ? People responded. If you are too embarrassed by what you send, I can not give you credit for your entry!]


About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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4 Responses to HALLMARK THEOLOGY: Five Finger Prayer

  1. I like this post. The thing with Hallmark Theology is that you’ll always remember it … and I’ll always remember this when I pray.

    Which reminds me of a story about a man who had tattoos on each of his fingers on each hand … just by the knuckles. On his right hand he had tattooed on each finger the letters L … O … V … E.
    On his left hand he had tattooed H … A … T.

    He had run out of money before the job was finished.

    If only … if only we too run out of money every time we get to hate somebody!

    God bless.

  2. Mark Sliter-Hays says:

    Very interesting way to remember who to pray for – very simple yet effective.

  3. Claire T. Lampert says:

    What a great little Hallmark idea! When you care to send the very best….seems to be one way to pray best!

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