Why Do We Raise Hands During Worship?

More than our hands and our bodies, we worship with our hearts first.

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Over these previous Sundays, I find myself being amused once again over the way people raise their hands and lift their voice to worship. Growing up in a Pentecostal church where free worship is encouraged, I am privileged to see different people with different personalities expressing their adoration to the Lord in different ways. This sight is no longer new to me. It brings encouragement to my spirit, knowing that in heaven there’ll be an endless praise from all nations redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb.
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But why do people raise their hands to worship? Is it because the song leader says so? Is it just sheer emotional response caused by the melody of the songs? Is it because in a Pentecostal movement, raising hands have become the norm? Maybe yes, but these actually are shallow reasons and wouldn’t bring us anywhere.

“Our theology or image of God is undeniably formed by the songs that we sing each Sunday”. Singing is not just a part of the program that needs to happen before and after the preaching of the Word.

I still have faith that it is a gesture of genuine worship and reverence to the Divine Recipient of our adoration that we raise our hands as we sing.

Paul Baloche, in his devotional The Same Love, writes, “our theology or image of God is undeniably formed by the songs that we sing each Sunday”. Singing is not just a part of the program that needs to happen before and after the preaching of the Word. It does not function as a spiritual stimulator to check whether a person is ready for the rebuke or encouragement of the pastor’s message. Singing is not intended to “fire up” a person to worship – it is already worship in itself.

The primary role of every music ministry is not to produce music just to enliven the church program. Our music playlist on phone can do that. Their role is to lead us to worship where the focus is not towards themselves but towards the Lord.

More than our hands and our bodies, we worship with our hearts first. What we do on the outside is just an expression of what is inside.

That is why the challenge for them is “to be more pastoral in [their] music ministries, caring more about [their] congregations getting a biblical, scriptural foundation for their lives than simply singing poetic thoughts.”

Are we just singing poetic thoughts flavored with hand gestures? I hope we are not. More than our hands and our bodies, we worship with our hearts first. What we do on the outside is just an expression of what is inside. Baloche adds, “He created us to be loved by Him; it’s that simple and that complex. Our response to such overwhelming good news is to worship Him, now and forevermore.”

How We Handle Money Impacts our Relationship with the Lord

“Am I trustworthy enough to be entrusted with “true riches”?

Whenever I assess my spending habit, I can always say that I am more of the impulsive, emotional spender. I tend to buy things on impulse, most of the time because of a “false need” – things I presume to be important but realizing after a few days that I can go with life without those.

There are also times when my purchases are prompted by emotions attached to it. I buy things because of silly reasons like “I don’t have the luxury to have this thing when I was a kid” or “having this (or paying for this) will make me feel more important to [insert person’s name here]”.

There are instances as well when I spend on things based on presumptions on the future – that in due time, they will be beneficial to me. Yet time flies and the things remain unused, much more untouched.

I have my own spending personality. Everyone has their own spending personality. But however we spend our God-given resources, How We Handle Money Impacts our Relationship with the Lord.

This is the premise of the first session of the Biblical Financial Study, a ten-part series that I am attending as of writing of this note.

“Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of worldly wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?”  Luke 16:11

A question came stirring my mind that night – am I trustworthy enough to be entrusted with “true riches”?

I have this question ringing in my head. I felt guilty. The guilt that does not condemn me, but gives me hope.

It’s His Breath

“It’s Your breath in our lungs.So we pour out our praise to You only”

Take a deep breath and reflect for a moment. Breathing is just a normal thing to us, an involuntary act. In fact, it is so normal that we rarely take time to appreciate breathing in itself.

Breathe In…

As you breathe in, you give your body and all that is within you a favor. You just give every single cell within you the nutrients it needs to survive and function properly. Breathing is not just about technically inhaling oxygen but is literally inhaling life. To cease from breathing is to cease from breathing, and everybody knows that.

Now, breathe out…

As you exhale out air, did you know that you just spit away poison? What comes out of our mouth whenever we breathe out, which is called carbon dioxide by the way, is lethal to our bodies if it is not excreted whenever we breathe out.

human beings, in order to survive, is not dependent on other human being to breath and live (being a social creature is a different topic). Breathing is an involuntary process of our system as long as we are still alive.

 

This process of involuntary exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide will lead you to worship if you’ll just take time and think about it reflectively. I mean, machines will function as intended when supplied with fuel or an electric charge, and to do such requires human intervention. It takes a human to make a machine move. However, human beings, in order to survive, is not dependent on other human being to breath and live (being a social creature is a different topic). Breathing is an involuntary process of our system as long as we are still alive.

The Bible says, 

“The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”Genesis 2:7

The breath that we have is the breath of life that came from God himself! This is no ordinary life form – like plants and animals or any celled organisms – we have in ourselves the breath of God!

The song “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons & Daughters speaks about this truth and our expected response:

“It’s Your breath in our lungs.So we pour out our praise to You only”

Praise should be our response knowing that God’s breath is in us. More than just an involuntary exchange of gases to and from our body, the air that we breathe, our life came from God.