I Will Lift My Hands
“I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands.” Psalm 63:4 NIV
There is a Hebrew word used in Psalm 63:4, yadah, and it means, “Extended hand, to throw out the hand, to worship with outstretched hands.” I was raised in a conservative American home in a mainline denominational church. In my early Christian experience, we did not lift our hands in church. Our worship culture was more reserved, and our expression of love for God was conservative. As a teenager, I was introduced to a different church experience where people did lift their hands to praise God. I didn’t mind other people lifting their hands, but I felt uncomfortable with the idea of lifting my hands in front of other people due to the worship style I had known. Once I was in a different worship culture, I wanted to participate in demonstrating my love and surrender to God by lifting my hands to Him. Putting action to my love for God was special between God and me.
God looks at the heart. I don’t think that someone who lifts their hands in worship loves God more than the one who doesn’t. I do believe that it is one way we can demonstrate our praise. When I put action to my love for God by lifting my hands, I experienced a freedom to step out of my reservation to find expression for the faith that was in my heart.
When I lift my hands in praise, I am acknowledging God’s loving authority in my life. I am inviting God to take charge of my life and all that concerns me. I am declaring Him as the God that He is, giving Him place as Lord in my life and in my church and in that service. I am demonstrating to Him that I trust Him completely. I am giving myself to Him all over again. Like a child I am lifting up my hands to my Father, asking Him to pick me up and be held by His strength. My actions aren’t for anyone else; my actions are for God alone.
Yadah is an Old Testament word and a custom of the Jewish people, but we also see it in the New Testament in a Gentile church. I Timothy 2:8 says, “In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.” Whether in a group or in private, raising our hands is one way that we can honor the Lord in our praise.
Application: Lifting our hands is a sign of surrender. Our heart prayer is a response to His love for us. “Lord, we belong to You and no one else. Here I am. Have Your way in me.”
By Melanie Stone