Back in March when I began my bout with acute arthritis, I gained a new appreciation for what it means to praise Him with my strength. For the first time in my life, it actually took A LOT of strength to simply stand and not fall over, to hold the microphone and not drop it, and to lift my hands much past my waist.
Yesterday, we explored the theme of activating our faith. To go along with that theme, I decided we should activate our worship time as well.
To that end, we celebrated the act of worshipping with our whole bodies. We stood, we spoke, we shouted, we whispered, we sat, we stood again, we clapped, we lifted our hands in prayer (sorry, we stopped before the liturgical dance, Whit...).
Some may have grown tired. Some may have broken a sweat. But we praised Him with our strength yesterday.
Perhaps most meaningful was when we lifted our hands together in prayer. Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, wrote, "I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing." What is ironic is that in many places, if you asked people to lift holy hands in prayer as Paul did, it would lead to anger or disputing...
But yesterday, I invited them to lift their hands, and we prayed:
Father, we stand before You this morning with our hands raised to You. It represents our desire to lift You up in the world as well as in our lives. We truly praise You this morning with all our strength and with our whole being. From the top of our heads to the tip of our toes, You are exalted!
As Paul reminded us, we lift up to You those in places of human authority. May they recognize that they are still in submission to You. May they be wise in their decisions and act with mercy. May they use their power to help lift the burdens from the poor and oppressed.
Father, we thank You for Your Son, Jesus, who was lifted up on the cross, and who was lifted up in resurrection and victory. Thank You that one day You will take us by the hand and lift us up to be with You forever.
To You be praise and glory and honor through the name of Jesus. Amen.
Lord, I lift Your name on high
Lord, I love to sing Your praises
I'm so glad You're in my life
I'm so glad You came to save us!
You came from heaven to earth to show the way
From the earth to the cross my debt to pay
From the cross to the grave
From the grave to the sky
Lord, I lift Your name on high!