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   home : Distinctive Symbols > Recovery and Praying Hands
Recovery and Praying Hands
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Recovery & Praying Hands

Albrecht Durer

Albrecht Durer was a German artist and printer. He is considered by many to be the greatest Renaissance artist in Europe. He revolutionized woodcutting with his Apocalypse woodcuts and he was the first artist in Europe to paint watercolor landscapes. He also wrote a treatise involving perspective, proportion, and mathematics. His studies include four books on measurement and four books on human proportion. Durer spent his life experimenting with drawing, painting, and engraving. Many of his studies have survived through the ages and his drawing of The Praying Hands is the most famous.

Albrecht Durer The Praying Hands

The gray and white sketch of the Praying Hands by the German artist, Albrecht Durer is one of the most reproduced paintings of all time. It is a drawing of the hands of an Apostle and has been created into gold praying hands, silver praying hands, praying hands charms, praying hands pendants, and other types of praying hands jewelry. Much of the praying hands jewelry includes the Serenity Prayer etched on the back.
Albrect Durer Praying Hands

Praying Hands Pendant

Durer’s Praying Hands Destroyed

Praying Hands Necklace After Durer completed the gray and white drawing of “The Praying Hands”, he decided to memorialize it with a full sized oil painting of the two praying hands. He completed the painting after 13 months and it was part of the center of the altar named The Assumption and Coronation of the Virgin. About a century later, the altarpiece was sold to the Duke of Bavaria and was destroyed in a fire in 1729. Although the original painting was destroyed, The Praying Hands is kept alive by the many copies of his original drawing that have been duplicated throughout the world, even today.

Albrecht Durer’s Great Influence

Generations of artist have been influenced by the genius of Albrecht Durer by his willingness to share his techniques through his studies. Great artists like such as, Raphael and Parmigianino learned from Durer’s printmaking skills and engravings. Durer’s contribution to the world of art has been memorialized on the Lutheran Church calendar and by naming a crater on the planet Mercury, Durer.

Serenity Prayer (Full Version)

“God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen." Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

The story behind the praying hands.

Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob, the father and head of the household, a goldsmith by profession, worked almost eighteen hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find in the neighborhood.

Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder's children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew full well that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.

After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg.

Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his professors, and by the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.

When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long and memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfill his ambition. His closing words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you."

All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No ...no ...no ...no."

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look ... look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother ... for me it is too late."

More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts, and copper engravings hang in every great museum in the world, but the odds are great that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works. More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction hanging in your home or office.

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the entire world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands."

The next time you see a copy of that touching creation, take a second look. Let it be your reminder, if you still need one, that no one - no one - - ever makes it alone!

"Og Mandino's book A Better Way to Live."

Twelve Step Programs

Twelve Step programs have been formed to help people who are suffering from addictions. These programs deal with all types of addictions, such as, alcohol, drugs, compulsions, gambling and behavioral problems. Most people are familiar with the 12 Steps set by Alcoholics Anonymous for alcohol abuse but these steps are a helpful guide for all types of addictions.


1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we
understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature
of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make
amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do
so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly
admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with
God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us
and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to
carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our

Encouragement for Addicts

Family members and friends offer encouragement and support for addicts who are trying to follow the 12 Step program. Every addict needs as much help as they can get to stay the course to freedom from addictive behavior. Giving a recovering addict the gift of a recovery medal is a wonderful show of support and encouragement for them. Recovery Medal Pendant
Each time the person has a hard time resisting the pull of drugs, alcohol, gambling, or other forms of addiction they can look at the AA recovery jewelry or recovery pendant and know how much friends and loved ones need them and pray for them each day. Just having the recovery jewelry as a visual sign of encouragement will help them overcome the urge to succumb to the addiction.

Recovery Medal
Praying Hands


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