The Origin of Praying Hands!Praying Hands
is a famous painting done by the German painter Albrecht Dürer
in 1508, which is believed to be the inspiration behind the tattoo designs, as well. The famous hands are of Dürer's brother (some versions say friend), who sacrificed his dreams to help Dürer pursue his aspiration of becoming an artist.
Not many people are aware of this side of the story. While most people associate this design with being religious and perhaps get it inked for the very same reason, there is also this emotional and heartfelt story behind its origin, the crux of which is written above. We shall elaborate on it later in this article.
Tattoo designs of praying hands have a massive appeal among one and all. Apart from displaying the bearer's faith in religion, prayer, and the Lord almighty, many people also associate these designs with remembrance of a dear one after their death. If that is the case, there are usually names and dates inked around the adjoined hands. However, this article is dedicated to the designs that have a religious significance.
7 Amazing Tattoo Designs of Praying Hands
1. The Lord Prays for You ...
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. ― Matthew 6:9-13
This design is definitely for those who believe in the power of prayers, and that only the Son of God has the power to take our prayers to the Father who grants our wishes and desires. This design is a reminder that our prayers are His prayers and our needs are His.
2. The Protection of Prayer
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. ― John 8:12 New International Version (NIV)
A combination of the crucifix and praying hands in this design creates the powerful circle of protection. The white and black rays around the cross not only symbolize Christ's heavenly aura, but also that His light pierces through the darkness of our lives.
3. He Suffered for Our Sins!
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ― John 3:16 NIV
Most of us tend to pray for our personal needs. But this tattoo design reminds us to pray for others, just like our Savior, who prayed for us, who suffered for us, and who endured unbearable pain just to save us from perishing. Praying is not just about us; it's about uplifting others through us.
4. A Prayer of Faith
We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. ― 1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV
Inking a personal prayer, or some inspirational wordings along with this design can take your tattoo to a different level altogether! Adding some color in the form of roses and a bird (both being religiously significant) would give the design a creative appeal.
5. A Reminiscent of Gratitude
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
"God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble." ― James 4:6 NIV
With success, comes pride and arrogance. This tattoo design reminds us that no matter how high we fly, we should always be humble, grateful, and thankful. He who can give us wings to fly, also has the power to cut them away. Therefore, the absence of humility leads to destruction.
6. Hosanna in the Highest
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. ― Psalm 57:11 NIV
It was His love for us that gave Him the strength to endure all sufferings and become our ultimate source of salvation. This tattoo design shows this sacrifice of His, up in the heavenly realms of the sky. The clouds and roses honor his supremacy over all beings. The hands holding the cross signify that prayer is the only way to experience salvation.
7. His Treasured Sacrifice
so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. ― Hebrews 9:28 NIV
This design comes with a slight twist, where instead of the hands closed together, they are opened with palms exposed. Here, the portrait of our Savior is made bearing the cross, and a rosary hangs around the portrait, reflecting honor and treasuring His sacrifice.
Back to Its Origin ...
Let's continue the story from where we left it. There have been various adaptations and replicas of Albrecht Dürer
's painting. Most households have it framed in their houses as a symbol of faith in the Lord. However, the original concept was not religion; it was love, pain, and sacrifice. If you carefully notice the hands in the painting, they seem to be mildly aged, with a problem in the finger joints that are slightly bent. Also, notice the way the hands are joined, as if just touching each other lightly. The story goes something like this ...
Replica of Praying HandsAlbrecht Dürer belonged to a very poor family. He and his brother Albert both were talented artists, but due to financial difficulties, they knew that their father would not be able to afford sending them both, or even a single child to the academy for studies. Therefore, the two brothers made a pact. They tossed a coin with the intention that whoever wins would go to the academy and learn art, while the other would work in the mines to support his education. After 4 years, when one brother finishes his studies, he would support the other in a similar way. This way, both of them would be able to fulfill their dream of becoming an artist.
While Albrecht Dürer put in his heart and soul into this opportunity, Albert worked hard day and night in those mines. After 4 years, Albrecht came back to his village and after a festive evening, during dinner, raised a toast for Albert and said these lines in closing, "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." But there sat Albert, with tears streaming down his cheeks, and when all eyes looked at him with respect and anticipation, he held both his hands close to his cheek and said, "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."
In honor of his brother's love and sacrifice, Albrecht Dürer created this masterpiece, depicting the pain, sacrifice, humility, and dedication of his brother, and his sincere gratitude to him.
* There are some versions of this story that say that it was Albrecht Dürer's friend who lost the toss and sacrificed to support him, not his brother.
This real-life incidence just tells us of the power of love and dreams. That how a brother willingly went through so much suffering just to ensure his brother's success, thereby, following his own. Therefore, another meaning of this tattoo is unconditional love, sacrifice, and gratitude, which may not only be towards your Lord, but also a dear one.