Monday, September 25, 2006

Prayer Posture #2

Sorry for not being to post regularly. Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time and so please be patient. So I would like to continue with the prayer postures and today look at the raising of hands. People singing, raising hands, kneeling, clapping, or even weeping during the music can be new to some, especially in a church setting. But if we think about it, it happens in the music world as well. Remember the British Invasion with the Beatles? It is interesting to see people singing and raising their hands. We see it at concerts and in church gatherings, but what does it mean?

In the context of a church gathering together for worship and prayer these and other activities are simply the natural reaction to God's presence, and are documented throughout the scriptures.

Nehemiah 8 describes the reading of the Law before the Israelites upon rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem. “And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen,’ lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground.” (Verse 6) Such was a show of humility before God.

Standing with hands uplifted and open, head up, and eyes open is one of the oldest postures for prayer. It is called the ‘orans’ position, from the Latin word for praying. By praying this way, the worshiper acknowledges God as external and transcendent. This posture is for thanksgiving, praises, blessings, benedictions, and general prayers. This is still the normal position for prayers in eastern churches and in Jewish synagogues, and it is still used in the western church, particularly when the ministers/priests bless the bread and wine prior to the sharing of the Lord’s Supper.

As one either worships or enters into prayer and the Holy Spirit moves upon our hearts, thankfulness and surrender sometimes cause us to lift our hands. The Hebrew word which is translated ‘praise’ in many areas of the scripture is ‘Yadah.’
‘Yadah’ is a verb and it means to “extend the hand, to revere/worship. It implies the concept of an open hand in/ or to throw out the hand.
2 Chronicles 20:21
After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: "Give thanks (Yadah) to the LORD, for his love endures forever."

Psalm 9:1 I will praise (Yadah) you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.
As one begins to worship or prayer, and the Holy Spirit touches hearts, thankfulness and surrender sometimes cause us to lift our hands. So, as you go into prayer today extend your hands. Lift your eyes toward heaven and begin to pray.

GOD, we are your children. If only the rest of the world could know what an amazing idea that is! We are the creations of the ultimate Creator! We are the loved ones of a power so far beyond our comprehension that we can’t begin to understand it ourselves. But we have faith. We have the faith that if we live by the light of your Word, then we will see Jesus. It is easy to get confused, GOD, it is easy to get it all backwards. It is not enough to know the way that You want us to live. We must be able to live that way. GOD, help us not to be lead astray by people with more toys than us. Help us to live right and in that right living, we shall be right with You. Amen

1 comment:

kenny said...

Man...I appreciate you. Lifting hands. What really spoke to me and touched me today was this comment in your prayer:

"It is not enough to know the way that You want us to live. We must be able to live that way."

I am challenged to live the way God wants me to live...out of the love He showers on me and my return love toward him. It is not any means, I keep getting things wrong, don't step out when I really sense that I should, but am learning. Submitting everything over to God, allowing him to move in and take over the reigns.

Thank you for challenging me, for speaking words of encouragement to me. I thank God for you!