What do you do with your hands when you pray?
Do place your palms together in front of your chest? Raise them? Place them palm side down on the ground as you bend low to the ground? Do you hold hands with others?
I’m a clasp-er. I interlace my fingers tightly. When I clasp my hands, it triggers for me the image of being a little child going to their father. But I also carry worry and anxiety with me into my day. I don’t feel as if I’ve fully left it there. It’s as if my clasped hands are holding on to my worries instead of placing them at the feet of Jesus.
I’m not sure how much of a conscious decision your prayer posture was before it became a habit. Perhaps, like me, you’ve tried many different ones. In this season of my life, I want to embrace a different prayer posture.
In A Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster writes about a simple meditation. You start with your palms down, cupping your hands a little as if pouring water out of a cup. We pour out to God. We are either letting specific things go or meditating on a surrendered will. You empty yourself of all worry, fear, and concern. Now, sit with your palms cupped upwards. This is where you ask the Lord to fill you. You can ask for a different attitude toward a situation/issue or meditate on God filling you with His grace, will, or peace.
When I remembered this palm down/palm up method, it stirred my heart for prayer again. It gives me an opportunity to do more than make requests.
In many different areas of life, I’ve been meditating on the scripture where an unclean spirit is driven out of a man. The spirit wanders around looking for a place to go. Finding no place, he returns to the man and finds the place clean and empty. Not only does he return, but with seven other spirits worse than him, so that the end of the man is worse than the beginning. When I pray and give everything to God, walking away empty, there are a million worries waiting to fill my empty cup. I find that if I don’t fill myself with God’s word, will and way, the cares of this world are waiting to fill in any space they can.
Instead of me dumping everything at the feet of Jesus and collecting more junk the minute I leave that prayerful place, I want pray to be an exchange. I am giving Him my worries and fears, but I’m also giving Him my day, my focus, my attention, and my abilities. In exchange, He’s giving me more of His nature, revealing more of His will for my life, and filling me with purpose. Instead of leaving empty and wrung out, I leave my prayer time feeling filled.
My question to you, then, is what are you doing with your hands and heart when you pray? Are you only letting go without allowing God to pour in? Are you holding on too tightly to the things you want God to do or the things you have that you don’t want Him to take away? Are we giving God our hearts along with our cares?
Prayer posture may seem like a little thing, but for me, it speaks to mindset and intention. I encourage you to look at your prayer life–when you prayer, how you pray, how you feel after you pray, and how your day goes in light of your prayer time. Do you feel as if your prayer life is an exchange or a baggage/garbage dump you only visit to disgorge the smelly, broken things in your heart and life?
In 2016, I want to have the unclean spirits driven out, yes, but I want to put a new tenant in my house: the Holy Spirit. I want that unclean spirit and all his little friends to find the door of my heart secured against them, and the Holy Spirit in residence. I want him to have to go elsewhere. I am tired of getting up from my knees wrung out and exhausted instead of refreshed. I’m going to stop dumping and asking without allowing God to fill me with His grace and perfect peace.
I hope you’ll join me.
Join me tomorrow as I share my January goals!