Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Week Thirty-Eight - Palms Up

This morning, I am finishing up my blog somewhere on the east side of Cardiff in South Wales.  It is a beautiful brisk morning full of promise and a reminder that the mercies of the Lord which are renewed every morning.  My thought today is hovering around an idea I look forward to sharing with you. 
   Let’s start with a scripture and take time for a short prayer.  I Timothy 2:8  I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” 
   Lord, let us lift up our hearts and hands to you today and lay aside any anger or confusion that so often hinders.  Let us look now at the idea of living palms up as we seek to follow the example of Christ.

Bob Goff, in his book, Love Does, which I recently read, devotes a chapter to the idea of living life with palms up.  As a lawyer, he found his clients had an easier time being calm, honest, and accurate when they rested their hands on their knees with the palms up during interrogation. 
   He says, “This is important, because it’s harder for them to get defensive.  When people get angry or defensive they tend to make mistakes.  But nobody can be defensive with their palms up. Something about the hardwiring that God gave each of us links to position of our bodies and position of our hearts.  I’m not sure why we’re wired this way, but I rarely have a client get frustrated or confused or get tempted to exaggerate or tell a lie when his palms are up.”
  The Bible, too, speaks of lifting holy hands in several situations.  First, we see Solomon praying in this manner at the temple dedication.  I Kings 8:22 says he “spread forth his hands toward heaven.”  Psalm 28:2 reads, “I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle,” and Psalm 134:2 instructs us to “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.  In Lamentations 3:41 Jeremiah writes, “Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.”
   These are only a few instances, we could look at more, but the idea is one of opening ourselves to the Lord.
   In Love Does, Bob Goff takes the idea further than just lifting our hands during prayer.  He sees it as the way to follow the example of Christ.  Instead of walking around with fists clenched, angry and ready to fight, Jesus teaches us to walk openly, strong enough to be vulnerable, with nothing to hide, nothing to gain or lose, even when we have been tremendously wronged.  He says, “Jesus was palms up, to the end.”
  I have tried praying with my palms up on my knees.  Have you?  It makes me feel very vulnerable.  I find my hands withering in as my fingers pull back and I want to return to the old position of my face in my hands when I pray.  It makes me wonder what I have to hide.  Why do I feel exposed?  Why am I afraid to visualize the blessing of the Lord falling into my hands?  Do I live palms up?  Do I live in a way that keeps me from being frustrated and confused?  So many questions come as I ponder this thought –palms up.
   Then, I began trying to pray with my hands lifted up and my face looking into the heavens.  I could do that for a while, but again, I began to get that feeling of being too obvious, too forward, too pretentious. 
   I’m finding the practice of praying with palms up opening my heart to looking at how I close of my life in other areas.  Do I walk around with my fists clenched?  Am I short tempered?  Am I closed to others who need me? I’m a rather private person, so this is a real challenge for me.

   How about you?  Have you ever tried this position in prayer?  Why not try it now?  Set your hands on your knees and place your palms toward the sky as you pray. Then, go from your prayer to live your life palms up! 

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