We are told in scripture, and by our Christian leaders that we should raise our hands in praise.
Psalm 134:2 (NLT) Lift up holy hands in prayer, and praise the LORD.
Psalm 63:4 (NLT) I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
I agree that it is a wonderful way of expressing our thanksgiving to our sovereign Creator and God. It is also a gesture, when our palms are turned up to heaven, or our request and acceptance of God’s grace and blessings.
Uplifted hands with our palms up can be both, a gesture of receiving and an indication a of releasing. Receiving God's love, grace, and salvation, releasing things like greed, doubt, anger, guilt, and fear.
So while uplifted hands are an outward expression of praise and thanksgiving it is also an opportunity to release the thing that hamper that praise and thanksgiving.
This devotion is an excerpt from Palms Up: Receiving the Blessing- .Daily Guideposts: 40 Devotions for Lent, copyright Guideposts. Published by Zondervan.
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. — Numbers 6:24-26 KJV
In the closing moments of the Sunday morning service, our pastor raises his arms toward Heaven and calls down the blessing of the Lord upon all of us in the congregation. I bow my head in the contemplative prayer that has become for me a pre-blessing ritual.
I am a greedy child of God — I want every blessing, every gift the Lord has for me; I want nothing within me to hinder His giving or my receiving.
All too frequently, as I put down my hymnal and turn my hands palms-up to receive the blessing, I wince; I find my hands already full. Sometimes my fists are clenched, white knuckled, in unresolved anger, as they were the week a hit-and-run driver fatally injured our small calico cat. Sometimes I find myself holding on to brooding resentments over words spoken to me in the heat of an argument; or worse, I may be holding on to the guilt of harsh words I’ve spoken to others. Sometimes I’m clutching habitual worries I thought I’d let go the previous Sunday, only to find that through the days that followed I’ve picked them up again.
So I begin my weekly ritual of letting go:
Bless me and keep me, Lord.
Let Your face shine upon me, uphold me, and give me peace. —Fay Angus
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.