Centering Down: Palms Up, Palms Down

Author and teacher Richard Foster describes a prayer practice sometimes known as ‘Palms up, palms down’, it has also been known by the The Quakers as Centering Down.
This version of the prayer uses gestures in order for us to “embody the prayer”:

  • First: identifying and releasing our burdens (palms down)
  • Second: receiving God‘s grace (palms up)

Practicing the prayer

Begin by becoming still — sit comfortably, with your feet flat on the ground, and your hands resting comfortably on your lap. 

Gently notice your breathing as you become still.

Turn your palms down, and allow yourself to notice what you are carrying today: a concern, an anxiety, or something that weighs on your heart and mind. 

As you continue to hold your palms down, let it be a symbolic indication of your desire to turn over this concern to God. Inwardly pray and release your concern.

When you feel ready to move on, turn your palms up as a symbol of your desire to receive. Articulate that (with or without words) to the One who loves to give generously.

Continue to sit with you palms up and listen for what God’s wants to give freely to you.

This process can be repeated as you notice other concerns. As you come to the end of this time, relax your posture and give thanks — treasure this time with God.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.