"Why Pray?"

by Ronald Ginther

The story of the Albrecht Durer portrayal of praying hands is worth noting here.

Albrecht Durer was a famous Renaissance era artist of Germany who lived and produced fine art engravings at the time of Martin Luther. His older brother was an artist and wanted to study art. The younger brother Albrecht also was artistic. Because they were so poor, only one brother could go to art school to develop is skill. The older brother was artistic but denied himself and went to work in a mine, and he labored hard, making the money that went to pay for the schooling of his younger brother Albrecht.

Albrecht became a famous artist. His brother, however, is unknown to the art world, despite his great sacrifice. You see, the work in the mines ruined the elder brother's once fine, sensitive hands. They had become twisted, knobby, and rough--unusable for artistic expression.

Even when Albrecht could later afford to send his elder brother to school, it was too late. Too late! His elder brother's hands could no longer hold a fine paint brush or etch copper engravings or make fashion fine wood carvings.

Albrecht, in love of his wonderful brother and to do a lasting tribute to his brother's sacrifice, carved the work-ruined hands of his elder brother's, which have become the symbol world-wide of fervent prayer to God.

The elder brother's hands are virtually immortal--and you also know how Christlike they were, for they labored, sacrificing themselves, so that the younger brother could have a chance in life to fulfill his destiny in the service of great art.

When all the other artistic triumphs of Albrecht Durer have faded and crumbled in the art museums where they are now treasured, these hands will endure no doubt, as true expressions of Jesus Christ's own sacrifice, not merely of his hands, but of his entire body and life for our sake on the Cross.

One last thing more to note, this reproduction is like many, it makes the hands appear beautiful, when the whole point of the hands is that they had sacrificed themselves for another's sake, right?

In truth they were rough, bent, and stiff and needed a makeover to look presentable enough to hang on a wall, yet, in Albrecht Durer's eyes, they were extremely beautiful and he did not beautify them. To do that would spoil, even ruin the whole meaning of their appearance, so why do we accept the beautiful hands that now are shown everywhere in place of the original engravings?--Ed.


Note: This adaptation about prayer in connection to the hands of Albrecht Durer's brother is from a site, downloaded by someone without any knowledge of the author or website. I share it, with thanks to whoever wrote the piece and gave these wonderful scriptures on prayer. If I knew who the author was, I would give that person full credit.--Ed.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. Jeremiah 29: 12-13 NIV

"Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My Name, there I am in their midst." Matthew 18: 18-19


What is Prayer?

From Notes of Pearl A. Ginther

"The primary purpose of prayer is not to get things, but to deepen our relationship with God. He not only answers our prayers, but He gives us something of Himself. His answers are wiser than our prayers and there are usually four answers: yes, no, wait, and if.

Prayer does not need to be eloquent or formal. A simple prayer that comes from the heart and is sincere is what He desires from us. Remember, He knows our hearts and a simple "help me" may be all that is needed. One of the best ways to get to know Him is through prayer.

"Prayer is as necessary to spiritual life as air is to physical life.

Prayer meetings are probably the least frequent kinds of meetings in churches, but without them our churches languish. Prayer is one of Jesus's best and most emphasized gifts according to the Gospels. A non-praying congregation is like a non-breathing person, enroute to death.

To pray is to breathe. Connecting our breathing and our praying is a way to pray in the Spirit. Praying in the Spirit brings anointing."

"Prayer: Dearest Lord Jesus, help me to be a light to shine for Thee. O may that light so shine in me that I may be a guide to lead some faltering one that way that leads to Thee. Amen"

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