You may be familiar
with the famous “Study of Praying Hands” by Albrecht Durer (1472-1528),
but you may not have heard the story behind the artwork.

When Albrecht was
young, he and his friend Franz were studying to be artists while both were working
long hours at other jobs. Rather than both failing at their art studies, they
decided one should work while the other attended school. Franz agreed to work
as a laborer, while Albrecht pursued his art career. He promised to return the
favor once he became successful.

Finally, Albrecht
began to achieve fame. He returned to keep his promise to his friend but realized
that the manual labor had been hard on Franz. His fingers were too bent and
twisted to manipulate a paintbrush. One night, as Franz knelt in prayer, Albrecht
sketched the crippled hands of the friend who had made his own success possible.
This famous portrait of the hands folded in prayer is a tribute to the spirit
of love and sacrifice of his friend Franz.

The folded hands
of Jesus Christ also are a portrait to us of His love and sacrifice. He not
only prayed to His Father with those hands, but later opened those same hands
and allowed them to be pierced on our behalf. For those who believe in Him as
their Savior, His hands are precious.

Today in the Word,
September 2003

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