Is the Lifting of the Hands to the Lord Scriptural?
The lifting of hands in praise to the Lord has caused a lifting of eyebrows and a raising of questions in the minds of many born again believers, especially in our Baptist Churches. Many fear that the "lifting of hands" identifies them with the "Charismatic movement".
First, let us be aware that the "lifting of hands" in prayer, praise and worship of the Lord, did not originate with any denominational movement, but founded its origin with God and is taught in both the old and new testament. It was practiced by David, Solomon, Ezra and the Apostle Paul. It is not a major doctrine, but is no less a vital part of the word of God.
The lifting of hands was never intended to be an act of legalism, or an act of the flesh; nor was it designed to be identified with any "movement". As shown in scripture, it is an act of sincere prayer, praise and worship of the Lord; and if it has any mark of identity, it should identify us as Saints of God and "Joint heirs with Jesus Christ. As we reason or consider the matter of "lifting hands to the Lord" there are a couple of questions that seem to arise: 1. Why are Christians to "lift their hands to the Lord"?
2. When are we to "lift our hands to the Lord"?
3. Where might the Holy Spirit encourage the Saint to "lift hands unto the Lord"?
First - Why? As and act of appreciation and love, we are to "lift our hands unto the Lord in times of prayer, praise and worship; and then only by the prompting and encouragement of the Holy Spirit. Done at any other time, or for any other reason, will be an act that simply edifies the flesh. Ezra lifted his hands, in praise and worship to the Lord.
"And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with the lifting up of their hands; and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground" [Neh 8:6]. "At a time when the Lord was angry, Israel was told, arise, cry out in the night; in the beginning of the watches pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord, lift up your hands before Him for the life of thy young children, who faint from hunger"...(see v 20) [Lam 2:18-20].
David lifted his hands in praise and worship to the Lord. He said, "Because Thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee, thus will I bless Thee while I live; I will lift up my hands in Thy name" [Psalms 63:3,4]. "Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the Lord" [Psalms 134:1-3]. "Let us search and try our ways, and turn again unto the Lord. Let us lift our hearts, with our hands unto God in heaven" [Lam 3:40,41].
When, are we to lift our hands to the Lord? Ezra "lifted his hands" in prayer to the Lord. "And at the evening sacrifice, I arose from my heaviness; having rent my garment and my mantel, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God" [Ezra 9:5]. "Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto Thee, when I lift up my hands toward the Holy Oracle" [Psalms 28:2].
When? In times when you would pour out your heart. "Pour out your heart, lift your hands to Him" [Lam 2:19].
When? When we delight in the Lord. "My hands will I lift up unto the which I have loved" [Psalms 119:45-48].
When? In times when you would bless the Lord. "Thus will I bless Thee while I live; I will lift up my hands in Thy name" [Psalms 63:4].
When? As a love offering to the Lord. "May my prayers be set before You like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like an evening sacrifice" [Psalms 141:2].
Where? Scripture also shows us that Solomon "lifted up his hands" in public prayer, praise and worship before the congregation of God's chosen people. "And he stood before the alter of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel"....(v13) "And kneeling down upon his knees...he spread forth his hands toward heaven" [2 Chr 6:12-13].
Where? Ezra also led the people in public worship by "the lifting of hands". "And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands; and they bowed their heads, and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground" [Neh 8:6]. David encouraged the "lifting of hands" in the congregation in praise to the Lord. "Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord" [Psa 134:2].
One might say, but these scriptures are from the "Old Testament". This is true, but isn't our Father the same yesterday, today and forever, and is He not worthy of the praise of all His creation, when encouraged by the Holy Spirit. And didn't Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, encourage the "lifting of hands" to the Lord in the New Testament (new covenant). "I will encourage therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up Holy hands, without wrath and doubting" [1 Tim 2:8].
It seems that the bible is very clear on this matter of "Lifting hands to the Lord". Since the bible is clear on this, there should never be any doubt, fear or criticism on the part of God's Saints concerning anyone lifting their hands to the Lord in prayer, praise or worship, as long as it is practiced under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Let us always be cautious not to grieve or quench the Holy Spirit as He encourages us or others to "lift our hands to the Lord". Read: [Rev 5:11-14]. Amen.
JESUS IS LORD
Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000 by Mickey Thibodeaux. All Rights Reserved.