• Mark Harper

Hand Raising

“In your name I will lift up my hands” is, in part, the fourth verse of the 63rd psalm, and it describes how prayer and praise is carried out, physically. The lifting of hands is a physical aspect of prayer and praise that is seen across the Bible, yet it is not extremely popular anymore; in Christ’s church that is. In the book of Nehemiah and the eighth chapter, the people raised their hands to God to bless him and say, ‘amen’.

Raising your hands to the Father has a few different meanings, each very important. In David’s and the peoples' cases, their hands are raised in praise and blessing. They are so moved by the power and pure awesomeness of the Father that they throw up their hands in surrender and honor to him, in other words to say, “we recognize You are holy, and we surrender to Your will, and we worship Your holiness.” We serve an amazing God who is worthy of such honor and so much more.

Paul instructs holy hands to be lifted in prayer in 1 Timothy 2.8. Here Paul is saying that when you lift your hands to God, make sure your heart is in the right place. James writes that drawing near to God involves having clean hands and a purified heart (James 4.8). If you are seething with anger when you come to church and you have opening prayer and cannot get over it, do not lift your hands because your heart is not in the correct place. When you find in your heart that mindset of “God, I recognize you are holy, and I stand in awe of you,” that would be an appropriate time to lift your hands.

In Luke 24 even Jesus lifts his hands when he blesses the disciples. When we pray, we come before the throne of God, lifting hands is a sign of submission to him, and a sign of reverence. If you choose to lift your hands to the Maker, do so with a clean heart (holy hands) and reverence for him.

Your scriptures encourage the use of not only your heart in your prayers, but also your hands. Not folded, but open and skyward; revealed for inspection by the God you are calling upon. Try it. You may find your connection to the throne stronger.