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A few short weeks ago I discovered Kaisa Stenberg-Lee on Instagram. I was immediately struck by her tender spirit and creative, hands-on prayer practices. I’m thrilled to welcome her to the blog today and for you to get to know her and her work through this guest post.
Kaisa is a gifted spiritual director and workshop leader, born in Finland, educated in the Netherlands and Wales, and now serving in Denver, Colorado. Kaisa also enjoys “walking in nature, drinking tea, reading, trying new Korean cooking recipes, biking, embroidering, watercolor painting or whatever other craft my hands have landed on at the time.”
This post was originally written for and published here. Be sure to check out her other writings and prayer resources on her beautiful website, Kutsu Companions. May you have a powerful experience with God through this simple practice. – Lisa <><
Palms Down, Palms Up ― A Prayer of Letting Go
This simple prayer is supported by bodily movements that express the inner postures of the heart. I have modified Richard Foster’s “Palms Down, Palms Up” prayer, and added some elements to it. In essence, this prayer helps us to bring our worries to Jesus and express our longings to him.
The Prayer follows four movements:
1. Hands on the stomach for grounding and tuning into our inner center. 2. Hands on the lap, palms facing down as a symbol of releasing and letting go of concerns and worries.
3. Hands on the lap, palms up to signal readiness and desire to receive from God.
4. Hands on the heart to express gratitude.
“Palms Down, Palms Up” Guided Prayer
1. Settle down and sit comfortably on a chair or cushion. Close your eyes. Gently place your hands on your stomach. Take a few deep breaths. Notice how your body moves to the rhythm of your breath. Deepen your breath so that you can feel it fill your chest, stomach and rib cage with air.
Now start paying attention to the whole of your body, your feelings, and thoughts. Do you notice any tension, pain, numbness or tightness in your body? Does anything worry you or make you afraid? What else do you feel? Where can you feel those emotions in your body?
2. Lower your hands to your lap, palms facing down. Let this turning of the hands be a symbol of your wish to turn any worries or concerns that you might have to God. Give the worries to God and say to him in your own words quietly: “I let go of this … frustration/ anger/ fear/ worry/ guilt, or whatever it is that you want to let go off,” and give it to God. Don’t rush this. Keep turning those things over to God as long as they keep coming to your mind. God is near. He is reaching out to take over the carrying of your burdens.
Can you let go of your fears and worries? Can you trust him to carry them for you?
3. Once you have handed over your burdens to God, and your mind has come to a still, turn your palms up as a sign that you are now ready to receive from God.
Relax, and imagine placing your hands, palms up, into God’s caring hands. Feel how you are being held by God. You don’t need to go anywhere or do anything. You are safe. You can fully relax and trust that you will be taken care of, and that you will be provided for. Enjoy the feeling of God holding your hands in his hands, and loving you.
Imagine God gently whispering to you, “(Your name…), what do you want?” Tell him in the quiet of your heart what you desire. What do you want him to do for you?
Wait for His response. You might feel like he has something to say to you too, or that he simply wants you to know that he cares for you and that you are safe with him.
4. Finally, lift your hands to your heart and thank God for being with you and loving you.
Seeking the Kingdom, Devotions for the Daily Journey of Faith by Richard Foster
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster