Several years ago, I volunteered to be a library helper at my children’s school. At this particular school, it was customary for the librarian to begin her time with the students by leading them in prayer, and on this one occasion, she did something that has stuck with me for all of these years. Instead of simply having the students assume whatever prayer posture they might choose, she instructed them to open their hands up and face their palms toward Heaven so that they would be ready to receive the blessings God would pour out on them.
I was captivated by the beauty and power of that image – and to this very day, God continues to remind me that I should pray open-handed with my palms facing Him, so I can be ready to receive all that He has for me.
Recently, though, God had challenged me to take this practice to a whole new level. He has made me aware that many times, though I might indeed have my hands facing toward Him, they are not open to receive. Instead, they are clenched in a tight fist holding on to something that I refuse to release.
I have discovered that when my hands are closed tight, it means that God has nowhere to pour out His blessings because my hands are already full: full of my wants, my desires, my plans, and quite literally my own fingers. As I raise my clenched fists Heavenward, I can almost hear Him lovingly whisper…
My dear child, please let go of all your coins and trinkets. Don’t you know that I have so much more for you?
As a result, I have discovered that I must first turn my fists downward, open up my hands, and allow all of my junk to fall to the ground before I can raise open hands to Heaven and receive all that my Father has for me. Each time I go through these motions, it serves to remind me that “[he] who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20) is in control and has my best interest at heart.
What might you be holding tightly in your grasp? Are you willing to open up your hands and trade your plans for God’s?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11