“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” – 1 Peter 5:7
Have you ever found it hard to pray? Have you ever prayed and found your hands clenched in a tight fist holding onto something that you didn’t want to let go, like hurt or resentment or hope for a job, desire for a spouse?
That’s where I was two years ago, unable to pray and unable to come to God with open hands. During that difficult season in my life I stumbled across a book by Henri titled With Open Hands. Nouwen candidly writes: “When you want to pray, then, the first question is: How do I open my closed hands?…Don’t be afraid of the one who wants to enter your most intimate space and invite you to let go of what you are clinging to so anxiously…Don’t be afraid to offer your hate, bitterness, disappointment, to the One who is love and only love”.
Over the years, we have all gathered many things in our hands. Perhaps it is relationships, status, reputation, influence, money, pleasure or things. Today, God looks at our hands and asks, “What are you holding in your fists? Would you open your hands and let go the things you cling anxiously to?” It may be someone or something, which we are very attached to, or it maybe a hurt that we linger on or it maybe an addiction that controls us. Do we dare to let go and surrender what we have to God? Perhaps for some of us, it starts with asking God to help us gradually unfold one finger at a time.
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists. Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to? Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands? Please help me to gradually open my hands and to discover that I am not what I own, but what you want to give me. And what you want to give me is love – unconditional, everlasting love. Amen (Prayer by Henri Nouwen).
Angie Ko is a contributing writer of Fluid Forward.