Praying with Open Hands

This morning was our church’s annual prayer breakfast. The food was SO good, and despite my very sleepy state I managed to be mostly sociable and enjoyed chatting with people.

Our speaker was a professor from Tyndale, and I greatly appreciated that he did not give a sermon but simply shared some strategies for prayer. He read Psalm 46 and focused on the verse that says Be still and know that I am God. This is a famous verse, but it loses a little bit in translation I think, since the word for “be still” can also be translated as “Stop striving.” This speaks to me more – that we should not only be still but be trusting and submissive, and that this will enable us to know God better and recognize his work.

Another strategy for prayer that Dr. Wong shared was palms-down, palms-up, which sounds ridiculous but only because it describes what you do. Basically you hold yours hands open with the palms facing down as you pray about things you need to give to God, and then you flip your hands to palms-up as you pray about things you need to receive from God. We did this at the prayer breakfast together, and that simple physical movement was very helpful for me to focus better and stay engaged with what I was praying. It was very interesting to me that both aspects of my prayer related to the same request, but first I told God I wanted to give up the anxiety and frustration I have (palms down) and then asked for peace and confidence in him to move (palms up). Oftentimes it is easy to ask God to take things away, but we don’t always ask him to replace those things with better habits or emotions or attitudes; in the same way we often ask God for things without first making room in our hearts to receive them.

So, I was encouraged by the prayer time that we had, and I learned new things too 🙂 I hope this can be an encouragement/reminder for you as well!

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Comments

Susan 12-06-2011, 00:44

Thanks for sharing this. I can see the palms down/up making a very physical connection. I want to do this too 🙂

I love the "Be still" and "stop striving" connection too. Don't I need a daily reminder of that!

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Alyssa 13-06-2011, 17:51

I'm glad comments is working for you again! 🙂

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