Home Worship Planning Preaching Resources Breath Prayer: 'These Hands'

Breath Prayer: 'These Hands'

By Cynthia Wilson

Stock praying holding hands

(People stand, hands over chest.)

We take a few deep breaths.

(Pause for at least three breaths. Then make fists and raise them line by line.)

We live in a time of clenching fists:
In anger that threatens,
In greed that clutches,
in worry and fear that tense and tighten.
This is no way to live.

(Open hands and thrust them outward, as if breaking chains.)

And so, we let go.
We take a few deep breaths.

(Pause. Lower hands, palms open, facing upward, raising them line by line.)

Our hands are empty.
We acknowledge our powerlessness.
We are not in control.
We are but humble protagonists in your great story of love.
We receive your grace that heals, forgives, and liberates.
This is the way to live.
And so, we open our hands, our hearts, our minds, our doors.
We take a few deep breaths.

(Facing palms outward, raise them line by line.)

We extend our hands in blessing.
As we have been blessed, so we bless.
We hold no weapons and make no threats.
We seek peace with all and we make peace for all.
It is better for us to give than to receive.
Make us instruments of your peace, Living God.
We surrender our lives to your purposes.
May your Spirit fill our lives and work through these hands.

(Pause, hands pressed together over heart.)

We open our eyes.
We see your light in one another:
a flickering candle in the dark,
a quiet glow at dawn,
a rising sun for this new day.
We call forth that light in one another,
And we honor one another with these hands.
May the peace of Christ rise in you.

(People silently turn and honor one another, praying a silent blessing over each other.)

Brian McLaren, in Divine Echoes: Reconciling Prayer with the Uncontrolling Love of God by Mark Gregory Karris, QUOIR, 2018, pp. 198-9. Used with permission.