I remember the first time I attended a church at which, during times of singing and worship, people lifted up their hands. Having been raised in a very conservatively liturgical church, I wasn't sure what to make of it.
It was about the same time in my life I began to read the Bible consistently. As I did, I discovered a number of examples where the Psalmist wrote about "lifting up his hands to the Lord." (Psalms 63:4, 119:48)
Not only that, I discovered, in both the Old and New Testaments, Scripture that directed and actually encouraged people to lift their hands to the Lord.
A couple of examples are:
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord (Psalms 134:2).
Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven (Lam. 3:41).
I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting (1 Timothy 2:8).
Think about this with me for a moment: what is the natural response for people at a sporting event when their team scores a goal or the winning point?
Many naturally lift up their hands as they cheer for their team. Lifting hands in praise is a natural response; it's actually the way that we were created by God to respond.
Lifting of hands is certainly acceptable at the football or soccer game. How much more appropriate is it in times of worship or thanks as we simply respond biblically to our loving Father in ways that He created and directed us to respond?
• Louie Locke Sr. is pastor of Fountainhead Foursquare Church in Carson City. Visit www.fountainheadcc.org.