I’m in Bali at the moment and one of the things I really hate is the traffic. The roads are narrow, the sidewalk is uneven and there are cars and motorbikes everywhere. Crossing the road is quite an undertaking.
What my friend does is that he steps onto the road with his hand outstretched, palm facing the ongoing traffic. To my surprise, cars, trucks and motorcycles stop in their tracks. I tried it myself too and I can tell you that I felt incredibly powerful.
I remember a long time ago a worship leader in our church telling the congregation to lift their hands in worship. I resented being instructed on how I should worship. I thought to myself that everyone worships differently. Why should I lift my hands if I didn’t feel like it? I now understand that worship on Sunday is a corporate activity under a corporate leadership inspired by the Holy Spirit. I also now understand that we experience a personal benefit too when we lift our hands.
Psalm 141:2 says this:
May my prayer be set before you like incense
May the lifting up of my hands be as the evening sacrifice.
God equates the lifting up of our hands as the evening sacrifice!
In Exodus 29, God institutes the evening burnt offering at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and tells the Israelites that when the sacrifice is made, there is where God will meet His people.
The lifting of our hands invites God’s presence into our present situation.
And where God’s presence is, there is authority and power.
That’s why when Moses lifted up his hands, the enemies were defeated; in our lifted hands we are declaring God as our standard and victory.
And that’s why Paul says in 1 Tim 2:8 that he wants everyone everywhere to lift up their hands in prayer.
So the next time your worship leader encourages you to lift up your hands during worship – just go for it! It does a lot more than stop traffic.
I’ll leave you with this video from Tim Hawkins. In case you haven’t tried lifting up your hands before, Tim catalogues the various hand postures you can deploy. Pick your most comfortable one and lift up your hands in the sanctuary!