Installed at the entrance to one of the country’s most controversial universities, the sculptural work known as “Praying Hands” lets any visitors know exactly what the college is all about.
The hands were originally built outside of the City of Faith Medical and Research Center, a massive modern complex established as a holistic Christian hospital by the ultra religious Oral Roberts University. The sculpture was cast in 1980 in Mexico and shipped to Tulsa in a particularly labor intensive bit of cost-cutting. At 60 feet tall and over 30 tons of pure bronze, the supplicating hands were one of the largest pure bronze statues in the world when built. One hand is from a casting of Oral’s hand and the other is from a casting of his son Richard’s hand.
In 1980, after the imposing hospital citadel was converted mostly to office space. the giant hands were then moved to the entrance of the Oral Roberts University campus where they remain today. The ultra-detailed (if over-sized) hands are forever locked in a prayer that even if it is unanswered, can certainly not be missed. They can even be seen from the airplane when touching down in Tulsa, and don’t miss taking a stroll through the equally surreal Oral Roberts University campus which is full of retrofuturistic architecture.