How to Wash Your Hands with Prayer and Song

If you’re tired of singing “Happy Birthday” twice, here are some alternate spiritual options. 

Posted in , Mar 10, 2020

Wash your hands with prayer

When it comes to warding off germs, you’ve probably heard the advice that we’re supposed to wash our hands for 20 seconds, as long as it takes to sing “The ABC Song” or “Happy Birthday” twice. But it occurred to me there might be some other songs—and prayers—that would time out to 20 seconds. Try these:

The Lord’s Prayer
You can say it or sing it, but I’ve never really timed myself before (God willing, I’m concentrating on other things). Turns out, it clocks in at a neat 20 seconds. Maybe a little longer if I go slower. Washing my hands and saying “The Lord’s Prayer.” Now that’s a good use of time. Cleansing to body and soul.

“Amazing Grace”
Everybody’s favorite classic. Whenever I sing it at our church soup kitchen, the guests always join in vociferously. So sing it to yourself (or aloud) when you wash your hands. “I once was lost but now am found/Was blind but now I see…” What great lyrics for any time.


“God Bless America”
I find I become rather enthusiastic with the lathering of the soap when singing this. “…from the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, white with foam!” Like my hands.  And it’s a good reminder to not only pray for myself but also for others, for our country.

The Doxology
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below, praise Him above ye heavenly hosts, Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” A perfect 20 seconds by my watch. Praising God while doing the best thing I can do for my health and the health of others.

“This Little Light of Mine”
Our kids used to sing it, and I still have the lyrics and the tune lodged in my head. It always feels like a happy reminder of what Jesus said to His disciples and all of us: “You are the light of the world.” We are. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

“Holy, Holy, Holy”
Another classic. And when I sing that line, “early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee,” well, doesn’t that make sense when you do that handwashing first thing? Remember that old line, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness?” Put them both together with a healthy habit, a prayer and a song.

I invite you to go through your own mental index of prayers and songs and start using them. Be smart, be careful, don’t give into worry. Do what the medical professionals say. With prayer and song.

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