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This beautiful prayer from the book Prayer for Parish Groups, by Donal Harrington and Julie Kavanagh, focuses on hands. Scripture verses and a short meditation piece help develop the theme and make this a good piece for students and adults. For more short prayers that can be used in educational settings, this book is a great resource (available from Saint Mary's Press).
I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands. (Isaiah 49:15–16)
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, "Now I have put my words in your mouth." (Jeremiah 1:9)
Just like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18:6)
While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it, he broke it, gave it to the disciples. . . . (Matthew 26:26)
Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him. . . . (Matthew 26:67)
A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, "If you choose, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I do choose. Be made clean!" (Mark 1:40–41)
"Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7)
Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. (John 13:5)
Let us ponder awhile the images of these scripture passages . . . and what they reveal about the power and potential of our hands. . . . With our hands we can create . . . nurture . . . cradle . . . heal . . . serve . . . caress . . . soothe . . . beckon . . . liberate . . . share . . . hold . . . let go . . . release . . . forgive . . . empower.
But with these hands we can also destroy . . . beat down . . . cast aside
. . . condemn . . . tear apart . . . wound . . . imprison . . . deny . . . reject . . . belittle.
Through all these actions of our hands, we reveal some truth of our inner lives to the world. The intimacy of our touch echoes the intimacy of our hearts. . . .
As followers of Christ, how will we choose to share his gentle touch with the world? What work will we give our hands this day? And how will that work share in partnership with the work of Christ?
Quiet Time/Shared Prayer
For the gift of our hands and the power of their touch, We bless you God, our creator.
For the wonderful example of your healing touch, We bless you Jesus, our redeemer.
For the grace that leads us to reach out to transform the world through our being, We bless you, life-giving Spirit.
We pray, in the name of the beloved Trinity, that all the work and gestures of our hands will contribute to the building of your kingdom among us. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
AcknowledgmentsCopyright © 2009 Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for this article to be freely used for classroom or campus ministry purposes; however, it may not be republished in any form without the explicit permission of Saint Mary's Press. For more resources to support your ministry, call 800-533-8095 or visit our Web site at www.smp.org.
Published February 29, 2000.