Jesus began the Upper Room Discourse not with words but with action. As a living parable of His love, Jesus washed His disciples’ dirty feet. Knowing “that the Father had given all things into his hands”, He used those hands to serve those He loves. In the coming days of the Upper Room Discourse we will learn more of Jesus’ humble love and desire to care for you in every way, even if it means washing dirty feet.
Richard Foster, in his classic book on spiritual practices, Celebration of Discipline, tells of a good way for putting our needs and problems into Jesus’ loving and powerful hands. Foster calls this simple but powerful way of prayer, “Palms Down, Palms Up”. Here is how Foster describes it:
- “Begin by placing your palms down as a symbolic indication of your desire to turn over any concerns you may have to God. Inwardly you may pray, ‘Lord, I give to you my anger toward John. I release my fear of my dentist appointment this morning. I surrender my anxiety over not having enough money to pay the bills this month. I release my frustration over trying to find a baby-sitter for tonight.’ Whatever it is that weighs on your mind or is a concern to you… release it. You may even feel a certain sense of release in your hands.”
- “After several moments of surrender, turn you palms up as a symbol of your desire to receive from the Lord. Perhaps you will pray silently, ‘Lord, I would like to receive your divine love for John, your peace about my dentist appointment, your patience, your joy’.”
- “Having centered down, spend the remaining moments in complete silence. Do not ask for anything. Allow the Lord to commune with you, to love you.”
Try practicing Palms Down, Palms Up every day of Lent and Holy Week, and see the difference that it makes!
I cast all my cares upon You,
I lay all my burdens down at Your feet.
And any time I don’t know what to do,
I will cast all my cares upon You.