Editor's note: Join disciples around the world in January as we devote ourselves to prayer and action. Each day, Disciples Today will publish a devotional from 31 Days of Prayer by Daniel Berk. Follow along on Facebook with your comments and prayer requests. We look forward to an amazing year as we seek God together!
"But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hands." – Psalm 31:14-15 (NIV)
"I call to you, O LORD, every day; I spread out my hands to you." – Psalm 88:9 (NIV)
My grandmother, or as we call her, Nonna, is one of the wisest and most joyful woman of God I know. I marvel in the years of family vacations and phone calls I have been able to spend with her, listening to her wisdom and advice about life, relationships, and surrendering everything to God.
One of her greatest "life secrets" is her open-hands prayer, which she talks about in her book God's Pitcher. How often do we pray with hands gripped, holding onto tension and a fake sense of control? Instead, when you pray with open hands it becomes a physical way of trusting God and surrendering your will to his. Peace comes only when you open your hands and keep them open!
Here is an example and excerpt from her book to expound on this idea:
"I often picture this struggle as similar to a toddler clenching a piece of candy in his hands while his mother is telling him to give the candy to her. It is only a losing battle for the toddler. He can hold on to the candy until he ruins it by melting it in his hands. Then he also has to deal with having to have his hands washed. No matter how hard he tries, his mother is stronger, and she can pry his little fingers away from the candy if she chooses. He may be missing an even better treat; his mom may have planned to give him his favorite dessert after his dinner! How much better it would be for him if he opened up his hand, obeyed his mother and trusted her to give him what is best for him when it is best."
What "candy" – that spouse you want, that baby, new home, or job – in your life is difficult for you to turn over to God? It is when we open up our hands before God's throne and put that desire, concern, or whatever else is in our hands without closing them that God can then leave it there, take it away, replace it with something better, or give it back at the best time.
Today, pray kneeled on the ground and with your hands held open to God. Humble yourself before his throne in prayer, and spread out your hands to him. Pray through the things in your life that you want to hold onto and have control of until you can sincerely open your hands before God, surrendering all to him.