In my rigid church upbringing, to raise your hands meant one thing…..you had ‘gone charismatic’. One church I attended briefly had a strictly no hands raised policy. In fact repeat offenders could expect an elder to sit next to them during worship. I am not joking, even though its funny to think about it now.
I remember the first time I felt compelled to raise my hands in worship. It was at the altar call song at a Franklin Graham crusade here in Perth. As I watched someone I had prayed for go forward to accept Jesus for the first time I was overcome with joy and had to express it. Wow.
The Gnostics amongst us would have us believe the body is somehow evil, while the spirit is good. That is patently untrue. Our body is given to us as a good thing by God…to use for good things. Let us not fall for that lie.
The picture below shows a Victorian farmer raising his hands in celebration after a dry spell.
It is a natural thing to do when we are joyful, excited or celebrating, a very human thing. Those emotions are all very human, and part of our worship to God.
Here is some scriptures to mess with the minds of those who are still struggling.
“So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands” (Psalm 63:4).
“To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary” (Psalm 28:1).
“Every day I call upon you, O LORD; I spread out my hands to you” (Psalm 88:9).
“I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes” (Psalm 119:48).
“Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD!” (Psalm 134:2).
“O LORD, I call upon you; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to you! Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!” (Psalm 141:1-2).
“I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land” (Psalm 143:6).
“Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands. Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the court, and he stood on it. Then he knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven” (2 Chronicles 6:12-13).
“And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God” (Ezra 9:5).
“And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen,’ lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground” (Nehemiah 8:6).
“Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven” (Lamentations 3:41).
“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” (1 Timothy 2:8).