The word ‘prayer’ conjures up in many people’s minds the image of a child kneeling beside their bed with their hands joined together. It is something of a nostalgic or overly sweet image, and fails to communicate either the authority of the source to whom prayer is offered, or the transformational impact prayer can have in the real world in which we all live. Yet, the image is itself steeped in history from within and without the Church.
One suggestion is that the idea of placing hands together came from Feudalism, the system of government that was introduced by the Normans to England after 1066. A vassal would put his hands together and place them in the hands of his lord in an oath of fealty or trust. He offered himself and his retainers in the service of his lord, from who he received land and other privileges.
As I place my hands together, kneeling in anticipation of the Eucharist, I reflect upon my own trustworthiness and renew my oath of fealty to my Lord, Jesus Christ.
In church we are often invited to join hands along pews, within small groups or simply within our family, and offer up prayer. As we do so, we express the indivisible connection there exists between Christians across all denominations in their willingness to yield to God and serve his purpose in the earth. Holding hands reminds us of the intimacy of our friendship with God and with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The sense of solidarity in the journey of faith is reflected around our meal table where we join hands as we say grace. This is a great time simply to ensure we are punctuating our day with prayer. Punctuation gives sense to the meaning of a page of text. Prayer gives meaning to our daily life. Pause and pray often.
(Dr Micha Jazz)
With many peaceful blessings