Read Psalm 134
Featured Verse: Psalm 134:2
“Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD.”
Raising your hands in worship is not a prerequisite for God-pleasing praise—not necessarily! There is no rule that says, “Thou shalt lift thy hands in worship.” The Father wants worshipers who worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) In other words, God-pleasing worship must come from the heart and in a way that is congruent with Scripture—authentically.
Yet true worship requires all of us—spirit, mind and body. Obviously, our hearts must reach out to God when we worship him, otherwise our worship would be nothing more than heartless ritual (and there is already far too much of that among his people today). God wants not just formulaic expressions of worship; he wants it to come from the overflow of a loving and grateful heart.
Our mind should be engaged in worship as well. If we park our brains in neutral when we praise, our worship is incomplete—and open to all kinds of weird and wild expressions that sometimes occur among certain groups of believers. To worship in truth means to worship with theological knowledge of the One being worshiped, and that is most pleasing to him.
Yet can we truly worship in spirit and in truth if we don’t engage our entire being? Authentic “spirit and truth” praise must even include engaging physically as well. Balanced worship honors God with heart, mind and body. (I Corinthians 6:20) That is why you will find various physical expressions of praise throughout Scripture: Singing, shouting, clapping, kneeling, prostrating oneself, dancing, and, yes, quite frequently the raising of hands.
Perhaps you came to Christ in a tradition that expressed worship without physical demonstration. I would encourage you to challenge that assumption. The next time you gather with the body of Christ and the singing starts, try lifting your hands to the Lord. I think you will find it quite freeing. In fact, you may want to practice it first in your own private worship time just to get used to the action.
When my children were small, they would often come to me and lift their hands, hoping I would pick them up. Of course, I would. In that moment, they would have yet another indication that I loved them. And of course, I was delighted to know they loved me, too—with all of their being.
Don’t you think that is true of your Heavenly Father as well?