For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven. II Chron. 6:13 KJV
Many years ago I was serving as choir director and youth leader in my grandparents church. A few of us in the choir came to the traditional Federated church from a Pentecostal/ Charismatic background complete with our Pentecostal/ Charismatic worship styles. While for the most part we kept the glossolalia (speaking in tongues) under wraps, some of what we considered the less controversial forms of worship, bled through into our services. This included the raising of hands in worship.
I remember my grandmother complaining about one of the ladies in our choir who would raise her hands in worship. She thought it rather ostentatious. The “hand-raising lady” gave me an opportunity to explain the roots and origins of this worship form to Gramma. Our Scripture today gives me the same opportunity. So let’s have a little pastoral chat shall we?
Why do we raise our hands in worship?
First because the Bible says we should:
Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord
who minister by night in the house of the Lord.
2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the Lord.
3 May the Lord bless you from Zion,
he who is the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 134 NIV
To you, Lord, I call;
you are my Rock,
do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who go down to the pit.
2 Hear my cry for mercy
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place. Psalm 28: 1,2
Raising of the hands is a symbolic gesture of worship, adoration or prayer. It is no different from kneeling in prayer. Lifting your hands is a physical symbol of surrender to a power higher than you (as when a child throws out his arms to his father asking to be picked up and carried) or it is a symbol of celebrating a victory (as when you lift your arms to cheer at the big game because your team has just scored the winning goal).
Raising the hands has a specific purpose in worship (surrender and celebration).All the forms have a specific function. Using the forms correctly is a way to create a deeper worship experience. So this Sunday lift your hands along with your prayer need ( it says the same thing as kneeling down to pray) or if you have something to celebrate lift up your hands as you sing ( it means the same thing as cheering). Hope this helps.
What is your favorite method of worshipping God?