Lifting handsIntroduction

When they worship, many people will lift hands.  Some churches encourage this, others accept it, and other churches forbid lifting hands.  What does the Scripture say about this practice?



Scriptural References to Lifting Hands

Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle. (Psalms 28:2)[1]

To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. (Psalms 63:2-4)

(A Song of degrees.) Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD. The LORD that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion. (Psalms 134:1-3)

(A Psalm of David.) LORD, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee. Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. (Psalms 141:1-2)

Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. (1 Timothy 2:7-8)


The above verses do not imply that the Scripture commands the lifting of hands; however, few if any churches treat this practice as a Scriptural command.

The Scriptures do say that churches should not forbid this practice, which unfortunately some churches do. Such churches may want to say that they are not, for example, Charismatic; however, Charismatic churches also teach the Trinity.  Should they abandon this teaching as well?

The conclusion from Scripture is clear:  Command it not; forbid it not.


[1] All scripture references are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Please see my about page for why I chose this translation.↩