Ocober 15, 2012 — Prayer with my hands from Turkey

Body Postures and Movement in Worship are important.
We sit…
we stand …
we kneel or we clap …
we greet with hands or hugs …
we dance …
we pass plates of money and bread.

We look down at our hymnals up at our screens …
we bow our heads, shut our eyes and fold our hands in prayer …
we hold babies and little cups and little candles …
we raise our hands in benediction.

There is a lot of body posture movement in our worship. Think about the body’s many expressions in worship not only as a worshiper … but also as a leader. What do we read in the body of a preacher pointing fingers or shaking a fist or a choir member slouching? Here are reflections from Turkey about using our hands in prayer.

The Hands of Prayer
“I will lift up my hands and call on your name.” Psalm 63

How do you use your body in prayer? Life in Turkey provides many answers.

The dominant Muslim practice incorporates various postures for the ritual of prayer: standing, bowing, and prostrating. The several Christian groups use their hands and arms.
But whatever your religious background in Turkey, there is a posture for prayer recognized by all: arms bent to front at the elbows, with palms facing upward. This is the iconic stance of petitioning, praising, or thanking God. It’s as though the hands are held out to receive God’s blessing. It’s a Biblical posture. You’ll find it not only in the Psalms but also in the early Christian church (1 Timothy 2:8).This prayer position is as recognizable to everyone in Turkey as Albrecht Durer’s image ‘Praying Hands’ is iconic among European Christians.

Muslims in Turkey normally conclude the prayer by moving the open palms up to cover the face and then drawing them straight down, as if washing the face with the prayer.

In Syrian Orthodox worship people often exit the praying stance by touching the fingertips of both hands to their lips and forehead. So if a prayer has been said, or a scripture passage read, this “Amen” movement of the hands seals the words into your mouth and mind.

How would you close your prayer?

Prayer: O God we lift up our hands to you, the author of our lives. We spread our hands toward heaven to plead for your mercy. We hold out our arms in need of your support. All good things that you have granted we gratefully clasp within our bodies, minds, and souls. Amen.     Kenneth Frank and Elizabeth W. Frank, Istanbul, Turkey

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s