Prayer with Open Hands

“Prayer is to be in God’s presence with open hands and an open heart. There are many things in my life to which I cling as with a clinched fist – my possessions for sure but the immaterial things as well­­–the work I do, the position I hold, the friends I have, my ideas, my principles, my image. If I should open my fist, they still remain. Nothing drops out. But my hands are open. And that is what prayer is. After a while, if I am willing to remain long enough with open hands, the Lord will come. He will have a look and roam through my hands to see what I have. He may be surprised—so many things! Then he will look at me and ask:

‘Would you mind if I take out this little bit?’

“And I answer:

‘Of course you may take it out. That’s why am here with open hands.’

“And perhaps the Lord will look another time at me and ask:

‘Would you mind if I put something else in your hands?’

“And I answer:

‘Of course you  may.’

“That is the heart of prayer. The Lord may take something out, and he may put something in.  No one else can do this, but he may. He is the Lord. I have only to open my heart and my hands and just stay there long enough for the Lord to come.”

Peter G. van Breemen, SJ

As Bread that Is Broken

About Jim Manney 778 Articles

Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is Ignatian Spirituality A to Z. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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