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Hands Prayer

Hands in PrayerThese prayers were inspired by reflections on the hand from the Yorkshire Synod of the United Reformed Church in 2010.

Sit still and quiet, and focus on your hands – hold them in your lap, maybe holding one hand in the other.

They say so much about us, and the lives we’ve lived.
Our hands may show scars or injuries and speak of the journey through life we have made, they may be gnarled, or painful, or affected by age, and so they remind us who we are.
They may wear rings, or jewellery, which speak of our commitments, relationships, and may speak of relationships ended or broken for all sorts of reasons.

And yet it is having hands that defines us as human animals,
for we have a thumb that’s opposite to our fingers,
and so we are able to do,
we are able to make,
we are able to join with God in making His world.
We are able to create because we can do.
And so whether it’s making pastry, turning over the channel on the TV, ironing, or driving a car, we partake in making God’s world with Him.

And we’re also able to make mistakes and make a mess,
and so Lord we come before you just as we are.

Now look at each finger in turn:

With the thumb that points upwards,
we thank you for your blessings to us.
So often we take things for granted,
whether it’s friends or family,
the homes in which we live,
the things that we have,
as well as the relationships that we’re part of.
We give a thumbs up for your many blessings to us.

When we look to our index finger,
the one its so easy to point with,
we remember to say sorry
for the times we are easy to anger or accuse,
or to point away from ourselves
when we should be humbly confessing in your presence.
For most of us our middle finger is our longest finger,
the most important thing we have to do is praise God,
and yet it is in many ways the most vulnerable finger
and so Lord, we have to be gentle and humble when we bring our praises to you.

The third finger often has a ring on it,
to symbolise a close relationship and commitment.
So for those who wear a ring on that finger prayers can be offered
for family, and those very close to us,
for those who are widowed, or widowers,
or who have worn more than one ring on that finger.
We can say thank you for relationships, enjoyed;
yet that finger may symbolise for us brokenness,
for we may not or ever have worn a ring on that finger,
but we enjoy close relationships with family or friends.

So dear Lord we remember that as your people praying for your world,
it’s the people closest to us that you call us to share our faith with,
by the way we live, the choices that we make that affect others,
the futures that we plan together,
the present that we struggle through or work hard at.

But it s not just the people close to us Lord,
There are others around the world as well who,
when our hands type the numbers of our pin-code into the machine at the checkouts,
other people’s lives are affected by the money that we spend,
the food we buy, where it comes from, and how it was marketed and who made the profit, the clothes and cars we buy and the affect they have on the environment,
the holidays we take and the people that we meet on them and the amount of carbon dioxide our travelling pumps into the atmosphere.

Lord we are at the centre of very complex webs that affect other people, and so may we take to heart our teaching to love others as much as we love ourselves, so that your kingdom comes.

The final finger on our hand is the smallest, the little finger.
Finally Lord, we pray for ourselves,
sharing our burdens with you, but seeking to take your yoke upon us,
to live out your teaching,
live up to your claim on our lives,
to live out that faith by the power of your spirit we have within.

Help us every day when we use our hands, when we hold hands, when we touch, to bless, to remember that you are our God and we are your people.

And help us by that same spirit to love God with every ounce of who we are in Jesus name; therefore we pray, Amen.

Rob Hilton
February 2011

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