A wise mentor taught me to pray with my hands open whenever I find myself overwhelmed by life’s circumstances. “When you pray,” he said, “Hold your hands open, with your palms up. That will remind you to remain completely open to God.”
At first, I hated praying this way. It felt so unnatural. When I pray, I like to turn inward – away from the world. I like to sit forward and clench my hands or even bury my face in my hands. If I wouldn’t look so stupid doing it, I’d probably fold myself into a fetal position.
Praying with my hands open made me feel so…out there…so…vulnerable.
Funny, isn’t that exactly what prayer is all about? Allowing ourselves to become vulnerable to the Eternal Father God? With our hands consciously held open, it’s nearly impossible for our minds and hearts to remain closed.
I noticed another thing about praying with my hands open. There’s nothing to hold on to. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself praying with all my might, hands clenched so hard my fingernails had turned white. And what was I praying about? How I thought things should work out. What I thought needed to be done. What I thought God should do for me. Subconsciously, I was hanging on for dear life to the things I was afraid to let go.
Somehow, when my hands were open and my palms facing heaven, I felt less able to hang on. Eventually, my fear of letting go subsided and developed into a willingness to surrender everything to God.
When you’re that vulnerable, it’s difficult to play the victor, isn’t it?