Praise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD
who minister by night in the house of the LORD.
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
and praise the LORD.
May the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth,
bless you from Zion. (Psalm 134, NIV)
I grew up going to a fairly dry church. When I came to faith, even though it was in a Gospel-preaching, Bible-believing church, it was also a fairly non-demonstrative one. No one raised their hands when singing. As I met and worshipped with people from other denominations, those we would refer to at the time as, "charismatic," I wondered, from time to time, if I should do the same. Because there were times I sort of wanted to, but, for one reason or another, didn't. What reasons? Perhaps a reluctance to do something different. Perhaps (and this is more likely) out of some kind of sense of embarassment. What would people think? Everybody would look at me. I once mentioned this to Andy, who as I said in my testimony was my spiritual mentor. I can still remember his answer word for word. He said, "In my heart, my hands are raised as high as anyone's."
I didn't give it a lot of thought at the time, but over time it began to weigh on me. What was I saying to God when in my heart I wanted to raise my hands in worship, but for whatever reason, didn't? What attitude was I displaying to God when I felt prompted by His Spirit to lift my hands, but didn't because I was too embarassed or self-conscious. Basically, I think, I was putting Him in second place. I was saying that certain other things were more important than Him. Things like what people would think of me. Things like stepping out of my comfort zone.
Now I am not saying here that everyone should raise their hands when they worship. Some people may genuinely, because of their tradition, or the practise of their particular church, not feel the desire at all. And I must admit that I didn't really feel free to begin to lift my hands openly until I was at an Alpha conference in another city where no one knew me. So I am certainly not judging anyone who feels the same as I once did. But I am saying to anyone who really, deep down wants to, "Go ahead."
"Just do it."