by CharlesRobey
(Trussville, AL USA)

"The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” (Isaiah 29:13-14)

Praise and Worship music is in full gear. Everyone is singing. Some are even lifting hands in praise. If you've ever been in church, you probably understand what I'm talking about.

What is the message given here? Simply put, to demonstrate joy and praise to God through worship, and reaching out to our holy heavenly Father. For worship is certainly a way to feel God's presence, in which His people reach out in different ways.

Some people will worship by standing silently, some may sway back and forth, some may join in the singing, some may simply sit and soak it all in, while others will calmly lift an arm in praise.

I can remember, as a young lad, seeing my dear saintly mother quietly weeping in the morning worship service, as she would be feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit in the service.

And I can still remember my "Ole Time Religion" preacher Daddy's famous saying, “He doesn't care how high you jump in praise, as long as you walk straight when you hit the ground.” Good, doctrinally sound advice, I might add.

The Scriptures give many examples of people bowing down, lying prostrate, and raising hands, yet some of us may have been hesitant in lifting our hands in worship when we felt that gentle tug inside us which was the prompting of God's Holy Spirit.

Oftentimes we may feel like doing something to acknowledge the presence of God's Holy Spirit, but we are seemingly more concerned what it may look like to our family and friends sitting nearby. We felt we should worship the Lord, but we were just too embarrassed to show any reaction. Did we miss out on a blessing from the Lord? Maybe so. Probably so.

Just remember, God looks at our heart as we worship Him. We should never be concerned with how others may be worshiping, as long as we worship sincerely. (Psalm 51:17)

Now, may I ask you, how do you worship? Is your praise prompted by the leading of God's Holy Spirit? Do you shout for joy? Do you dance? Do you weep? Do you kneel in prayer? Do you raise holy hands?

Do you just do it in concert with those around you or do it to appear over-religious? I surely hope not. (Matthew 6:2,5,16) (Mark 23:1-7) You see, God wants things done in an orderly and proper way (1 Cor 14:40) and God is not the author of confusion. (1 Cor 14:33)

Why then, the raising of hands? You see, praise, true praise, praise with an active faith that is greater than just emotion, is a daring thing. It challenges us to leave old paths behind and reach out for something beyond ourselves by giving ourselves up totally to God and freely expressing our love to Him.

So when we lift our hands are we not giving a spiritual signal to God's Holy Spirit showing Him we adore Him? Perhaps we are simply saying, "God I am coming into Your presence and I open my heart to You. I now exalt Your Holy Spirit in my life.”

I happen to worship in a non-denominational church. We are conservative in our belief of the full gospel. (1 Cor 15:1-4) Our membership worships in a variety of ways. Some raise their hands, while others do not. Some stand during praise and worship, while some of the seniors will remain sitting. The main theme of our church, however, is that we are true to the gospel of Christ.

And I must admit, praising God in public doesn't come naturally to me. My struggle is with self. I realize Scripture dictates just the opposite. I should always be joyful, never stop praying, and that I should be thankful in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:16-18), but I admit there are times I am just not up to it. I also realize, however, God invites me to take delight in Him. (Psalm 37:4) God is teaching me that delight isn't based on feelings but on doing. What a powerful lesson. (Psalm 9:1-2)

When I started my research, I was somewhat amazed to discover just how many Christian movements had laid claim to starting the raising of hands worship. What a surprise, as I had always been taught that God's Holy Spirit was the key factor in our Praise and Worship and not any particular church. And I still hold to that doctrine.

However, this form of worship goes all the way back to (Genesis 29:35) at least with Leah raising her hands in praise. Yes, the scripture is full of hand raising. You see, Praise has always been demonstrated physically as well as verbally, even though often religiously repressed.

And scripture gives reasons why we may lift our hands during worship, but never says we must do so. The main theme in any worship is to worship God in "Spirit and in Truth." (John 4:24)

So, I am not suggesting, by way of this blog, that you are not sensitive to the Holy Spirit if you fail to raise your hands in praise. After all, everyone enters into worship differently. Just be open to the Spirit's leading, in case He calls you to do something different. Amen!

"God looks at our heart in worship. Do not be concerned with how others are worshipping. He is looking for those who will worship Him with a humble and contrite heart.” (Ps 51:17) (Isa 57:15). He is looking for those who are willing to sacrifice themselves for Him. (Rom 12:1) Is this you?

The Bible says that there will be praising (Rev 19:5) and singing (Rev 5:9) (Rev 14:3) (Rev 15:3) in Heaven. Now, this may be just me, but I cannot picture rows of people just standing still, hands in pockets (will robes have pockets?), singing songs in Heaven. I picture all kinds of joyful singing and dancing with musical instruments (i.e. See David's worship in 1 Chr 13:5-8, 1 Chr 15:25-29), but I may be wrong."

Additional Bible references on the raising of hands, for your personal Bible study.

(Neh. 8:6) (Psa. 28:2) (Exod. 17:16) (Psa. 134:2) (Psa. 63:3-4) (Psa. 141:2) (Psa. 119:48) (1 Tim. 2:8) (Psa. 143:6) (Lev. 9:22) (Lam. 2:19) (Lam. 3:41) (Psa. 88:9) (2 Chr. 6:12-13) (Luke 24:50).

(Above taken from the "Jesus alive web page, written by Steve Shirley) To this, I give a hearty Amen!

Please come now and sing along with me, on this great Praise & Worship song and lift up your hands, if you may.

By: Mercy Me

I can only imagine what it will be like
When I walk, by your side
I can only imagine what my eyes will see
When you face is before me
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

Surrounded by You glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

I can only imagine when that day comes
When I find myself standing in the Son
I can only imagine when all I would do is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine
I can only imagine

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