Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you.
Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7
It was a simple, hand-lettered sign I saw in a merchant’s shop that got me thinking. The sign asked mischievously: “Why pray when you can worry?” I read and thought about the many times I did choose worry over prayer. But I have learned a way of praying that now helps me make prayer my default mode instead of worry. I learned it at a conference with Richard Foster. It’s called Palms Down/Palms Up. Richard Foster describes this way of praying in his book Celebration of Discipline. Here’s how you can pray Palms Down/Palms Up:
- Begin by placing the palms of your hands downward as an expression to God of your desire to give Him any worry, fear, problem, guilt that you carry. Inwardly you pray: “Lord, I turn over to you my worry about my doctor’s appointment today. I let go into your faithful hands my fear about not having enough money to pay this month’s bills. I release to you my anger at Robert.” Whatever weighs on your mind release it to God. Feel it gone from your hands.
- After a few moments of letting go into God’s hands, turn your palms up to express your desire to receive from the Lord. You might inwardly pray something like: “Lord, I receive from you your peace about my doctor’s appointment.” “I receive from you your love for Robert.” “I receive from you whatever I need today.”
- Then, having stilled yourself before God, take a few moments just to be with Him. Let God love you and be with you.
You will find that you can pray Palms Down/Palms Up in bed at night, sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting in line at the bank, or sitting in church. You can make it your default mode instead of worry. Cast all your burdens and worry on God! He cares for you!
- Following the three steps above, pray Palms Down/Palms Up.
- Think of a friend you could tell about praying Palms Down/Palms Up.
“I cast all my cares upon You,
I lay all of my burdens down at Your feet.
And any time I don’t know what to do,
I will cast all my cares upon You.”
Kelly Willard, “Cares Chorus”