Start with your hands together in prayer. This reminds us that God heard the prayers of the Hebrew people when they were in slavery in Egypt and freed them (Exodus 3:7, 20:2). The commandments are a way for us to show our gratitude for God’s love in our lives.
- “I am the Lord your God…you must not have any other god but me. We worship one God.” (Hold up one index finger for the number one.)
- “You must not make for yourself an idol. Idols, or false gods, are not only things like statues, but also anything we place our trust and allegiance in, for example money or possessions.” (Hold up two fingers.) “Should we worship more than one God? No, two is too many! One of them must be an idol, and we should not worship it!”
- “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. Our three fingers stand for the three persons of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Count them on your 3 fingers) Be careful how you use the name of God. He tells us to use His name in loving, caring ways, as we pray and as we talk about Him, not in swearing or in anger.”
- “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” (Hold up four fingers; fold your thumb under to let it rest.) “The thumb has the right idea. It’s the Sabbath, and the thumb is following the commandment to take a day of rest.” Kurt Jarvis Kurt was a children’s pastor for over 15 years in their home church in New Jersey. Both he and his wife, Judy, were involved for many years directing camps for elementary children and teens, and summer camps for mentally and physically disabled adults. He served on the board for the International Network of Children’s Ministry.
- “Honor your father and mother.” (Hold up all five fingers on one hand) “As you hold up your hand, you are taking a pledge to honor your parents.”
- “You must not murder.” (Hold up all 5 fingers on one hand. Then with the index finger of your second hand, pretend to shoot the first hand.) “This simple pantomime of shooting can remind you that God’s sixth commandment teaches us not to take anyone’s life.”
- “You must not commit adultery.” (Hold one hand out flat, and “stand” 2 fingers on it from your other hand.) “This represents the church building where a man and woman get married, standing and making promises to each other. This commandment calls for couples to keep the marriage promises they make.”
- “You must not steal.” (Hold up four fingers on each hand.) “For the eighth commandment, if you stretch out eight fingers slightly, these become the prison bars, which hold someone who has been arrested for stealing.”
- “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.” (Hold up all five fingers on one hand and four on the other. Fold your second thumb under, so the thumb is hiding.) “This thumb is secretly going around telling the other four fingers on that hand lies and rumors about the five fingers on the other hand. It is ‘bearing false witness,’ as it talks behind people’s backs, spreading gossip, and criticizing others without talking directly to the people involved.”
- “You must not covet.” (Hold out both hands, palms up, and wiggle all ten fingers.) “See how our 10 fingers are saying, ‘Gimmie what belongs to you’? We must not covet or want what others have.”
*This translation of the 10 Commandments utilizes the New Living Translation, as found in Exodus 20:1-17.
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