Have you found yourself in church or worship service where you have seen some people raise their hands while singing?  Have you ever thought to yourself, “That’s weird, why are they doing that?” or “Wow, they look silly.”  Or maybe you have thought, “Do they think they are super spiritual or something?”  On the other hand maybe you are someone who does raise their hands during worship.  If someone were to ask you "why" you may say something like, “It brings me to a deeper level with God” or “I feel closer to Him when I raise my hands.”  Whichever situation you may find yourself in it is important to know the benefit or reason as to why this act is apart of worship.

The Bible talks about lifting hands both in the Old and the New Testament in several different contexts.  According to scripture there are several reasons we raise our hands.  Lifting our hands is a way to:

Bless others and bless God.

  • “When he had led them our to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.” Luke 24:50
  • “Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them.” Lev 9:22
  • “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD.  May the LORD…bless you.” Psalm 134:2,3

Stand in agreement with the body of Christ.

  • “Ezra praised the LORD, the great God!; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “‘Amen! Amen!”  Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.” Nehemiah 8:6

Ask God for help.

  • “Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.” Psalm 28:2

Offer your life as a living sacrifice to God.

  • “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141:3

Confess to God your sin.

  • “Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say: We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven…” Lamentations 3:41,42

In conclusion when we lift our hands in worship we are:

  1. Blessing the church, blessing God and receiving blessing
  2. Standing in agreement and in unity with the church
  3. Admitting we cannot do things on our own and we need Gods help.
  4. Giving our hearts and lives as an offering to God
  5. Confessing our sin to God so we would be made clean and righteous.

Raising your hands in worship is a combination of the Holy Spirit speaking and leading you and a self-sacrifice of feeling somewhat uncomfortable at first out of a desire to go deeper in your worship to God.  Wherever you are at in your worship to God please don’t settle to stay there!!!  God deeply desires for us to know Him more intimately and with that comes deepening our expression of love to Him! 

If you haven’t been able to connect with God in worship lately try taking a risk and reaching out to him with your hands and pray that He will meet you.  God promises when you seek you will find!  May we strive to worship Him with all our heart, mind and strength!

Reaching for Him,

Esther Roby

Director of Music and Worship

Elim Baptist Church, Isanti MN



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