A friend posted the link above on Facebook the other day and asked if people are discouraged from raising their hands in our church during worship.
There are people who raise their hands in our church and it certainly is not a distraction. In other churches, I have seen things taken to a level of being a distraction, such as a woman turning in circles and doing a chicken dance, which touches on a different topic. When lifting hands in a manner that is not distracting, I believe it is a matter of choice in that it might be for one person and not another. It doesn’t make either one any more or less surrendered to God as this is a matter of the heart. There could be someone who raises their hands, but is going through the motions and not saved, for example, while someone who appears to be somewhat stoic is completely devout and surrendered to God.
As far as the article goes, there are some issues. “When you lift your hands to God in prayer or song you are releasing the Holy Spirit, showing Him you adore Him and you are saying, ‘God, I am open to you and a touch of Your presence.’ “ Why does the Holy Spirit need to be released? He is not bound, therefore does not need the person’s permission to be released. We are not in charge. The Holy Spirit is in charge. He leads us to repentance, leads us to pray for people, is grieved when we sin, leads us on the right path. He takes charge and does not need lifting of the hands or any physical action on our part to release him. We also show God we adore Him by obeying, repenting, praying, reading and studying His Word, fellowship with other believers, etc.
“Our fingers are a symbol of strength and power in our prayer, praise and worship.” The article goes on in an attempt to support this by citing God writing on the stone tablets with His fingers and Jesus writing in the dirt with His finger. He also spoke the world into existence with His tongue. That doesn’t mean we have creative powers with our tongue and can speak things into existence. “God gave us commandments through His fingers. What are you releasing into the spiritual atmosphere by raising your hands and extending your fingers?” Absolutely nothing. We are not releasing anything into the “spiritual atmosphere” with raising our hands. God gave commands through His fingers (and tongue), but this does not mean we have creative powers in our fingers or tongue. This reflects the little god theory of the prosperity charismatics and is quite dangerous. We are not in charge and do not have god like powers.
“What if by raising our hands in praise to the Lord we are binding the enemy and releasing the praise to combat the attacks? What if by raising your hand you could lift those burdens and heaviness and enter into the presence of God Almighty? Well you can! That is what raising our hands does; it lifts burdens, releases His glory into the atmosphere to combat demonic attacks and helps us enter into His presence.” Raising our hands in praise binds the enemy and releases praise to combat the attacks? Job praised the Lord and was still attacked. The reason being is demonic forces cannot do anything to the believer that God does not allow. God is in complete control. He does not need us. We need Him. God combats demonic forces. God binds the enemy. It is not our raising hands or praise. This is extremely dangerous territory. Think about this. If one would attempt to bind a demon and that person is acting in this area outside the will of God, in essence they could be taking on that demon on their own, although God’s perfect will always reigns. This is just not territory we should be engaging in, because we should let God handle this. Our part in spiritual warfare is prayer, reading and studying the Word, submission to God, repentance, obedience, spreading the Gospel, works accompanying our faith.
“As we raise our fingers and hands we are also lifting our arms. God designed everything to work together, and even our arms have significance when we raise them in praise to the Lord. Regarding Samson, Judges 15:14 says, ‘When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting against him. Then the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him; and the ropes that were on his arms became like flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds broke loose from his hands.’ Here the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him.” This borders on narcissistic eisegesis. There is a specific purpose for Samson’s situation. God gave miraculous power to Samson for destruction, but also to show fearful Israelites that God was with them despite their lack of trust. Samson also took a donkey’s jawbone and struck a thousand men after his hands We are not Samson and we are not in those times or situation.
If while making a joyful noise unto the Lord, surrendering to God, and engaging in worship someone desires to raise their hands to worship they should do so, but it is definitely not for releasing the Holy Spirit, releasing power into the atmosphere, or allowing God to do anything. God does what He pleases. He doesn’t need us. We need Him.