I love Valentine’s Day. As a little girl, I loved exchanging cards, getting chocolate from my dad, and hoping that someday I would find a special someone. I still love cards, chocolate and the special gifts from my husband. He hasn’t always figured out that while I complain about the calories in candy and the temporary life of fresh cut flowers, the rules go out the window on this day. Everyone wants to know they are loved.

This year I’ve decided to extend Valentine’s Day a little longer and make it a little more personal. I still bought cards and candy for my family, but this year I did something a little different. Over the past couple of days, I’ve spent some one-on-one time with each of my children. I asked them to trace their hand on a piece of paper–just like they did when they were in preschool. Both of them looked at me with puzzled faces, but granted my request. After I had their handprint on paper, I told them I was going to use them as a way to pray for them the rest of this semester. On each finger, I listed specific ways I could pray for them. I explained that I prayed for them everyday, but this would help me understand their specific needs and how I could intercede for them.

While I didn’t have a specific reason for each finger, I did break down each finger into the following categories: education/work, relationships with friends and the opposite sex, physical needs, their future desires/dreams; and finally, their spiritual needs. There weren’t any huge surprises, but I thought it was interesting that both of my kids told me something similar regarding friendships. They both expressed that they wanted me to pray they would develop friendships with new people–especially those they wouldn’t normally gravitate towards.

This morning as I prepared to write this post, I pulled out their hand prints to pray for them. It had been a long time since I had really looked at their hands. When did Conner’s hands get so big? I prayed especially for the hand he would someday hold and call his bride. And had I ever noticed how similar Courtney’s hands were to mine? Just like me, her fingers are long and thin. How will she someday bless others with her hands as she desires to teach young children?

Today I will add Vic’s hand print to my collection. While I love Valentine gifts, I love him most for his servant hands–the hands that scraped ice off of Courtney’s car yesterday morning, the hands that drag the trashcans out to the curb every Monday morning, the hands that pass the offering plate every Sunday morning in our church service; and even the hands that were burned by jalapenos on Christmas Eve when he spent all day smoking meat.

I’m grateful for the hands I get to hold. Whose hands do you need to pray for today? Hold them tightly and say a Valentine prayer of gratefulness.