A pair of human hands has to be one of the most useful and versatile things around. Think of everything that you can do with your hands, or perhaps said differently, think of everything that you need your hands to do. All of the practical, everyday things, such as getting dressed, eating, doing the tasks of whatever vocation a person has. In my former profession I often had to help people find new ways to get things done with hands that would never function in the same way again. And that's not all, as hands perform other tasks of great meaning, such as gesturing to add emphasis to speech, or embracing someone to comfort them in sorrow.
The many uses of the human hand came to mind as I was reading Psalm 144, which begins,
"Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
who trains my hands for war,
and my fingers for battle."
As a veteran of the US Navy I guess I could say that my hands were at one time trained for war, although pretty much all I ever used them for then in my work was to maintain the electrical systems of my ship. But as I read the psalm I thought of a different kind of war, one in which my hands were preparing to fight at that very moment.
My fingers had opened my Bible to the psalm, and my hands were holding the Bible as I read the psalm and then set the Bible back on my desk, to fold my hands and begin to pray.
When the psalmist first wrote his words I have no doubts that physical combat was what was on his mind. But the warfare that goes on every time a Christian folds their hands together in prayer can be just as intense.
Of all the many things that I can do with my hands, some of which are for better and some of which, quite frankly, are not good at all, perhaps the very best is to fold them together as I seek God in prayer.
And for those times when prayer involves spiritual battle and warfare, the Christian need never doubt that the Lord he seeks in prayer has never lost, and never will.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.