Palms Down

Today I’d like to talk about prayer—specific prayer, that is. The kind of prayer about painful or stressful situations that brings us to our knees. So we pray and we pray, and then we pray even more … waiting for an answer from God.

As we pray, we often lift up our hands up in a symbolic gesture as we hand our problem to the Lord. I know what I’m talking about because I used to do this very thing.

One day, however, I had a realization that has completely changed my prayer life. It occurred to me that when I pray with my palms facing up—toward the ceiling (or sky)—I can quickly and easily close my fingers into a fist and mentally and emotionally take back that situation or trouble.

I tend to do that. Take back something I’ve been praying about and have supposedly handed over to the Lord, just because I might be able to somehow take care of it myself.

Does this sound anything like you?

Since I am a very visual person, a picture came to my mind. I visualized praying about specific things palms down—with my hands facing the floor so that I could drop my prayer request at Jesus’ feet. And, to me, giving up that situation palms down tells me that once I’ve let go of it like that, there’s no chance for me to pull it back.

I’m not saying that everything I pray for in this way gets answered exactly as I would like, but what it does is enable me to allow God to do His work—not only on the particular situation I prayed about but also on and through me. Sometimes I get too much in God’s way and don’t give Him enough room.

When I pray in this manner, I feel a real peace come over me. The kind of peace that lets me know that I don’t have to worry about the problem, because:

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?—Luke 12:25

and

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.—Philippians 4:6

This is my prayer for all of us: that we will all remember to pray palms down.

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