I think I will meander a bit in a sort of a reoccurring blog series called “postures” in which I will view different postures people assume in their everyday lives. To start off, I want to view the posture of one’s hands during prayer.
I wonder why when I was a child I was taught to fold my hands. I suppose it was so that I would not be distracted by objects with which to fiddle. On the one hand, this is a good thing as ought to teach children to focus on what they are doing, i.e. praying to God, not wondering what toys are near by or who is sitting next to me or even what sort of noise might come out if I pull the hair of the person next to me. We fold our hands so remain undistracted and focused.
But is this sort of a negative approach to what we are doing when we pray? Can we really remain focused when we are concerned with what not to do? It’s like telling someone standing in line not to think about the time. I wonder if a better practice might be to open our hands in a posture more symbolic of receiving and offering, which seems to be more specific to we are doing when we pray anyways. Can a posture of open hands help with the distractions as well as have a more positive formation on our lives?
I think so. At this point I might refer you to the quote in my profile as well as the name of my blog: Two Empty Hands.
It might be time that we move away from “close your eyes and cross your hands” to something more intentionally formational.