If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
Prayer is knowing that wherever we go, wherever we are, we are held securely by God. We might pray this way by reflecting on images of being held by Love. We might sit quietly for a few minutes and feel ourselves held securely in God’s hand, or experience ourselves as children in the arms of Jesus, or allow ourselves to feel the protective embrace of being surrounded by the light of God’s presence.
But we do not need to limit our experience of praying in this way to moments of quiet. The images and sensations of being held by God’s loving hand, or in the safe and tender arms of Jesus, or embraced by God’s light, can continue with us as we go about our day. We can carry these realities with us. Or allow them to carry us.
We do well to live there. Protected in God’s hand. Comforted in those arms. Resting in that Presence. We can continue to drink in love. We can continue to receive deep comfort. We can continue to find refuge there throughout the day and the night.
This is the deepest truth, the surest reality—we are all held in the loving arms and hands of God. As the psalmist wrote, “God’s hand guides us, God’s hand holds us fast”.
Prayer is being aware that we are held. It is allowing ourselves to live there, to rest there, to find our security there. Wherever we are, wherever we go, if we “rise on the wings of the dawn or settle on the far side of the sea,” we are held in God’s caring hands.
In describing what it might mean to be held in God’s loving hands, Richard Foster in his book, Prayer, offers an image of how a person might hold a wounded bird with cupped hands.
“For us, too, the hands of God are cupped lightly. We have enough freedom so that we can stretch and grow, but also we have enough protection so that we will not be injured—so we can be healed.” (Richard Foster, Prayer, Harper San Francisco, 1992. Page 103)
We are held gently, respectfully, competently, constantly, securely. When we allow ourselves to be in those hands and relax there, we begin to heal. Our fears begin to ease. Our shame begins to diminish. We experience ourselves less as a separate being, alone in a dangerous world, and more as a person who is a part of a family. We experience ourselves as one of God’s much loved children.
You hold me.
You hold me gently, letting me be a child.
In yourarms it is okay to not understand,
It is acceptable to say “it is too hard for me.”
I can say “I need you,”
I can say it all the time.
You hold me securely, letting me be a child.
Making it safe to love you—
sweet innocence restored,
helping me to feel
myself tenderly loved by You.
You hold me always, letting me be a child.
Letting me be alive, playful, stilled, quieted.
Letting me rest knowing, in your arms, all is well.
Choose an image of what it might mean for you to be held in love by God. Perhaps sitting with Jesus’ arms around you or perhaps being a wounded bird held in God’s cupped hands or surrounded by the light of God’s presence. Or perhaps another image will come to you.
Sit quietly, breathing deeply and easily for a minute or two and let yourself be held by God in this way. Do not force this. If you sense fear or resistance simply pay attention to whatever your response is. To whatever extent you can, allow yourself to be held in love. Allow this truth to go with you throughout the day and night.