Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Handy Prayer

"strengthen their hands"
Ezra 6:22

So we all sit down for dinner this evening ~ spaghetti and meatballs.  And my husband asked my son to say the prayer.  We kinda loosely take turns with this.  Either someone volunteers, or my hubby or I will ask one of the kids, or each other, to pray.

My boy prayed a lovely prayer, thanking God for our day, and some of our many blessings, and thanking Him for our food.  And then, at the end of the prayer, he asked God to "bless the hands that prepared the food".  It was a cheeky little prayer for his momma, who had boiled water, added spaghetti, and doctored up a jarred sauce, to personalize it, make it healthier, and make it go farther. 

The reason it was cheeky was because of the wording: "The hands that prepared the food".  Have you heard this expression?  I'm not sure where it originated, but I hear a lot of it in group prayers before meals.  The first time I heard it, it was at a retreat center and I thought it was so sweet to pray for the many people behind the scenes who had worked to prepare food for such a large group. 

I've heard it many times since.  And so have my kids.  But about a year ago, we saw a video of a very funny Christian comedian named Tim Hawkins.  And he did a stand-up routine about that phrase, saying, "Why just the hands?  Why not ask God to bless the whole person??"  And ever since then, we've had trouble taking that prayer seriously.  We'll be in a group, and hear someone pray those words, and inwardly, we are each stifling a giggle, and thinking about each other. 

And when it's just the four of us, my boy makes sure to include those words, as a little inside joke for all of us. 

So this evening, after we said our "Amen's," I looked him and grinned, and then started thinking again about the oddity of that phrase.  Shook my head a little bit and wondered. 

But then I thought about what a great prayer that is.  My hands do need prayer.  They write and type and punch numbers on the phone every day.  They shred and dice and stir, and sort and fold and scrub, and grade and point and carry and lift and hold and hug.  I serve people with these hands, and it doesn't get any more important than that.  Yes, Lord, please bless my hands!

And my feet, and my mouth, and my ears, and...

~ "But you, be strong,
and do not let your hands be weak,
for your work shall be rewarded!" ~
2 Chronicles 15:7

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