With Open Hands, Henri Nouwen’s first book on spirituality and a treasured introduction to prayer, has been a perennial favorite for over thirty years because it gently encourages an open, trusting stance toward God and offers insight to the components of prayer: silence, acceptance, hope, compassion, and prophetic criticism. Provocative questions invite reflection and self-awareness, while simple and beautiful prayers provide comfort, peace, and reassurance. With over half a million copies printed in seven languages, this spiritual classic has been reissued for a new generation with moving photography and a foreword by Sue Monk Kidd.
“‘Don’t be afraid.’ Don’t be afraid of the One who wants to enter your most intimate space and invite you to let go of what you are clinging to so anxiously.” (Page 24)
“You still feel bitter because people weren’t grateful for something you gave them: you still feel jealous of those who are better paid than you are; you still want to take revenge on someone who didn’t respect you; you are still disappointed that you’ve received no letter, still angry because someone didn’t smile when you walked by.” (Page 22)
“Don’t be afraid to offer your hate, bitterness, and disappointment to the One who is love and only love. Even if you know you have little to show, don’t be afraid to let it be seen.” (Page 24)
“To accept something gives me a feeling of dependence. This is something I’m generally not used to. I manage my own affairs and I’m glad I can. Whenever I receive something, I don’t know exactly how to handle it. It’s as though I am no longer in control of my own life and it gets a little uncomfortable. Actually, that’s a silly thing to say, for I’m not letting others have what I myself like to have.… I don’t let them have the joy of giving.” (Page 56)
“Detachment is often understood as letting loose of what is attractive. But it sometimes also requires letting go of what is repulsive. You can indeed become attached to dark forces such as resentment and hatred. As long as you seek retaliation, you cling to your own past. Sometimes it seems as though you might lose yourself along with your revenge and hate—so you stand there with balled-up fists, closed to the other who wants to heal you.” (Page 23)