Prayer circles can be challenging to begin with. Add in a girl with a short right arm and a small right hand. Who wants to hold my (short right) hand? Awkward seriously doesn’t even begin to explain it.
You know the drill by now. Your group is about to wrap-up for the evening. Emotions are flooding high from an evening of change and inspiration. You are comfortable in your little seat. No need to move or allow others to see the look on your face as you process the information from the evening. You are relaxed and focusing your thoughts on the trip home.
“Before we close, I’d like everyone to form a prayer circle…” the organizer suggests.
So. Not. Right.
My mind freezes.
My thought process stops so fast my eyes feel like they are popping-out of my head.
Now, I need to be calm and logical about this. I mean, come on, it’s only a prayer circle! I’m among friends. Those that truly know me, understand me and want to hold my hand through life. Yes, this prayer circle experience would be different. Better. Safer.
I rise from my seat of comfort and search for my place in the line of hands. I gaze quickly to the faces, silently wondering who I might find to hold my (short right) hand today.
Going down the line of possible candidates…
There’s some kind of smell coming from that direction…
He is swaying back and forth and frankly, I’ve already exercised enough today.
And then I see it, an outstretched, welcoming hand. Open. Receiving. Inviting me in oh so close. I met her face and thought,:
“Really? The organizer of this whole circle wants me to hold her hand?”
I resisted at first, but as her hand remained still in the crisp air. Her eyes communicated that this time would be different.
I found my place in the ring of prayer warriors. My left hand reached-out and made contact easily with a firm grip from my praying neighbor. But now was the moment of truth. It all comes down to this.
I don’t remember any part of the words that were prayed that day.
I don’t remember much about what occurred after the circle departed.
But I remember the feeling of tight grips on both my left and right hands. It was if God saw my insecurity and said, “Oh Bethany, I love you and I will never let you go. I will hold your right hand with My right hand.”
I was born with a short and quite small right arm and hand. Prayer circles are one of the most uncomfortable experiences in my life. I’ve had people eye me as I search for a spot and I can read their frazzled expression, “Dear God, please don’t put her next to me, I don’t know how to hold her hand!”
I get it. In fact, people often get creative when they find my “uniqueness” waiting on their left side. I’ve had people rest their hand on my shoulder, grasp my upper arm or even just stand next to me not sure how to make contact. Most of the time, I’m next to a person that just assumes not to even attempt grabbing my little right hand, making me feel completely left-out of a circle meant to symbolize unity.
Left out of the circle.
Left out of coming to God.
Left out of the touch from others.
I share more of my Survivor To Thriver story in my free ebook
(and even more to come in my upcoming “Unmasked”
book release!) but I wanted to cover a few suggestions to help you get over the awkwardness prayer circles can bring. After all, survivors give-up on making changes, thrivers bring change to others.
3 Tips To Avoid Awkward Prayer Circle Moments
1. Remember Who You Are. I know I am not the only one who has ever experienced an awkward prayer circle moment. In fact, I think most of us church-going folks have been here a time or two. Sometimes when we combine human touch (or lack of touch) and God, we can misinterpret His Truth about who we are. God sees your heart. He is right there with you. Don’t miss that!
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
2. Remember Who HE Is: Insecurity can be so visible when our humble circles come together. It’s almost as we wonder if those around us can see our struggles painted across our face. We know we have a God that knows and sees all. But remember, He also forgives. He moves mountains. He holds us up by HIS righteous right hand.
Bethany, I hold you by your right hand— I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you. (based on Isaiah 41:13 NLT)
3. Reach-Out And Touch A Life: Human touch is so incredibly powerful! I can tell you about the handful of times I participated in a prayer circle with both hands in a secure, firm grip. I can tell you how the warmth made my mind go wild. I can tell you how that circle simply made my entire day. But now that I know who I am in Christ and knowing Who God is, I can openly and willingly jump right in and offer my hand to hold when others need it the most. Why wait for someone to reach out to you? Be the hand that someone never expects to hold them up.
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecc. 4:12
Know who you are. Remember Who He is. Reach-out and change someone’s life today! (Just make sure to wash your hands first…just sayin.’
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