Raise Your Hand If You’re Sure!

In the church I grew up in there was a lady named Judy. I loved to hear her sing, but she sorta freaked me out. You see… she often closed her eyes while she was singing… AND… she occasionally… {gasp}…RAISED HER HAND! Crazy, right?!? At our church no one ever raised their hands except to admit that they were a sinner in need of a Savior (and then only if every head was bowed and EVERY eye was closed).

I remember the first time I ever raised my hands in worship. It was a special day of prayer at my Bible college and I was alone in my dorm room. I had spent the morning in prayer and corporate worship with my fellow students and had just finished a really personal time of reflection on the greatness of God. I turned on some Jars of Clay music and as I sang something began to happen. My eyes began to close and my hands began to lift themselves to heaven with no thought to the stigma that comes with such actions! After that, I was hooked! My hand-raising experience began to invade my corporate worship during chapel as well as during church services! AND NO ONE KICKED ME OUT FOR BEING CRAZY!!!

At this time in my life & ministry, God has allowed me to be a part of our praise team that helps to lead worship at our church. When I first started singing on stage I was afraid to move or anything, for fear of offending someone. Then it dawned on me: God calls us to worship Him wholeheartedly! Sometimes worship means being still, but sometimes it means shouting, dancing, or (heaven-forbid) raising our hands! (Check out this script I wrote to bring attention to this variety in worship) So, why is there such a stigma or hesitation when it comes to expressing our worship in this way? (btw…if you have never experienced any of this then WOOHOO! Keep reading, though, these next thoughts might give you a new perspective) ๐Ÿ™‚

So, I’ve been thinking: In regular (non-church) life, when do we raise our hands? And how does this translate into why we raise our hands in worship?

  1. As children we lift our hands up when we want someone to hold us. One of my daughters as a toddler would raise her hands to any adult around and say “Hold you?” Often, when I worship I find myself hurting or afraid and in need of Someone to hold me.
  2. Last week I was chosen to serve on a jury. Before the trial I had to raise my hand and promise to tell the truth. The whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me, God. Sometimes in worship I raise my hand as if to say “This is the truth! I know it. I believe it. I have experienced it. Believe me! This. Is. The. TRUTH!”
  3. In school we raise our hands when we know the answer. In worship I raise my hands because I know The Answer, too! ย “Jesus is the answer for the world today…” Sorry. Early CCM flashback…:)
  4. Sometimes, though, we raise our hands just simply to get someone’s attention. I don’t want that to ever be the reason I raise my hands in worship…
There are lots of other thoughts I have floating around in my head about this, but I haven’t gotten them all figured out yet. If you have thoughts on this subject I would love to hear them! Do you lift your hands in worship? Why? or Why not? While you’re thinking about it, check out this video of Christ Tomlin’s song “I Lift My Hands.” We are singing this one on Sunday during our worship service, and I’m praying I won’t be the only one lifting my hands. ๐Ÿ™‚
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7 thoughts on “Raise Your Hand If You’re Sure!

  1. At this point in my life I only raise my right hand because my left shoulder is stuck. But I guess if I raised that arm too, then there could also be shouting.

    One of our current favs during worship has this line:
    “So I’ll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned!
    In awe of the One Who gave it all!
    So I’ll stand, my soul now to You surrendered
    All I am is Yours. All I am is YOURS!”

    I Love this sooo much! And I LOVE your post!

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    • That song sounds perfectly awesome! I don’t know that anyone could POSSIBLY stand still during such a song! Sorry about your shoulder…I guess that puts an end to your dreams of becoming an NFL referee. But I’m sure there are other options for you…I hear you’re a pretty amazing blogger! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  2. The thing that gets me is watching our church people fist pumping at high school football games and you couldn’t beg an amen from them at church…hahaha!

    Love your blog!

    btw – you really should come to mine tomorrow. there might be a little surprise for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I agree! So many church people say things like “I’m just not an expressive person…I’m quiet or a ‘reserved worshiper’…” but they will do a whole lot of yelling and cheering for their Wildcats- even when they’re just watching them on TV! ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s so funny!
      Thanks for reading, Lisa! I’ll be sure to check out your blog today~ I love surprises! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. I actually have no problem raising my hands, either straight up or both hands cupped up toward Him. I sing a lot of times with my eyes closed, helps to focus more on Him and the words, so they go straight to Him. I love this post, seeing this from a pastor’s wife perspective. We now feel free to raise our hands in our church, with our former pastor it would not have gone over well. We are much freer in our worship now and I love it. Felt the need to raise them long before it was “okay” to do it in church. I try to only do it as the Lord leads, so that it is not a “show” thing but simply to praise Him and let others know that I truly feel that way about Him and am giving Him all of the praise and glory and not holding back. This was a great post. I am visiting over from Lisa’s blog.

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    • Thanks for visiting, Mary Lou! So glad you are able to worship freely. So often we let our own upbringing, traditions, or fears keep us from worshiping our great God the way He deserves. One day we’ll all worship together in heaven! Won’t that be fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. I hopped over to your blog from my friend Lisa the PW’s blog. Loved your post – you’re a good writer. I’ve been a pastor’s wife for 34 years. My husband is a worship pastor…the title back in the day was “minister of music.” ๐Ÿ™‚ God has surely blessed us. Yes, I’m a hand-raiser and we have a very large choir (150), so I don’t feel like I’m sticking out – but I admit I used to fret over that. I didn’t want to offend or draw any attention to myself, but when I get to thinking about how good God has been to me and the words of the song get in my soul – I can’t help it. I sure look forward to worshipping with my Granny in heaven because she was a “shouting Baptist” way before I was even born and she loved Jesus so much no one even questioned her. God bless you.

    Jan

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