How to not sing with your hands raised and still love Jesus.

There are two things I don’t prefer to do with my hands at church.

I know you’re probably thinking that “throat chop” is one of them, but that’s not really in my control. If I run into a cat burglar stealing the offering, I can’t tell a killer whale not to be a killer whale. Nature tends to run its course.

And it’s not that I don’t like shaking hands with people. Our church doesn’t do the “turn to say hi to the person next to you,” but if they did, I would be pretty amazing at it. My greatest skill in those kind of moments is trying to shake someone’s hand who is trying to hug me. I am so awesome at that.

No, what I don’t particularly like doing at church is clapping my hands and raising them during worship.

I don’t judge people who do. (Except if you brought your own tambourine.)

I am glad you like to clap and happy you feel called to sing with your hands raised. I don’t and for years have felt what doctors call “lazy hand shame.” Have you ever felt that too? It’s the feeling you get when you find yourself sitting in a flock of hand raisers or aggressive clappers. You look at your dumb mitts and think, “Why do you hate Jesus so much?” But deep down you know you don’t have faithless digits. You know your hands are full of hope, but they don’t want to get down like everyone else.

For years, I suffered in silence, alone in my own Creed like prison. But no longer.

I have the solution my hand challenged friend. I have the cure to all your appendage woes. And it is so simple. Ready?

A coffee cup.

That’s it. That’s all you have to do. Next Sunday, bring a cup of coffee into church. You can’t clap with coffee in your hand, that’d be crazy! You can’t raise your hands when God is roaring like a lion, or raining down love like water or doing whatever like fire or something, it’s pretty early and I’m kind of tired.

I would love to, but look at my hand! It’s full of hot liquid that I would prefer not to spill on you or God’s carpet.

And if you attend a church that doesn’t allow coffee, all the better. People will be so offended that you are breaking the rules they won’t even notice you are not clapping. Win to the win.

So grab a cup. Kick lazy hand shame to the curb.

You’re welcome.

Do you sing with your hands raised?

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  1. Sierra says

    I can appreciate satirical writing, but I found this to offensive to those who believe whole hearted, physical worship is authentic worship. That would include raised hands. Your post may be written in the form of humor but presents a very real issue with many church goers. The issue that people are missing the point. It isn’t supposed to be technical or conscious.. One should truly worship letting all things go.. Whether it’s closing your eyes and getting lost in the music, lifting your arms to the ceiling like a child asking their father to pick them up, or sitting with your head bowed as you let the words of the music penetrate your heart.. It’s different for everyone. But I just cannot and will not believe anyone can authentically act out the true meaning of WORSHIP with a coffee cup in their hand. Or even those who just stand and stare blankly, not engaging. And the comments on here… Joking about substituting the coffee with a smartphone?? We should not be encouraging any distractions. (Joking or not, people actually do these things) Worship is a verb, something in which one DOES. If no action is taking place… Then what? I also believe worship is a place. When I worship, I am brought to a place where I have experienced more of the Holy Spirit than I ever did just standing in plain conscious awareness. We need to realize that the devil doesn’t want us to get to this place! He wants us to feel timid and awkward with our hands at our side, afraid of the stares we may get if we lift our hands to celebrate The Lord. We need to demolish this behavior and encourage our brothers and sisters to worship with our entire selves. God gave us His whole heart in the form of His Son… The least we can do is give Him all we are with worship.. with our lives. And to me, that includes raising hands.

  2. Pamela Snyder says

    My hands were too full of my bass today, but yes, I enjoy lifting my hands in praise when they are free!

  3. Kara says

    I just had this exact conversation with a friend yesterday. The most awkward (in my opinion) is when the service leader or worship leader in all their well meaning enthusiasm says “raise your hands and show God you love Him”. So if I don’t raise my hands then I don’t love Jesus? Lol! All I can say is we Christians sure do some weird things. 😉

    Ps: we’re not allowed coffee in our services :( but how I wish we were.

  4. says

    As a musician, I would like to propose that all [white] people who insist on clapping on the 1 and 3 instead of 2 and 4, should never clap at anything, ever.

    No arena concerts, Superbowl halftime shows, no campfire singalongs, and no church worship services.

    That is all.

  5. Kari says

    I used to raise my hands, clap my hands, and have even brought tambourines to services. I also have held coffee cups during worship.

    Then I broke my neck in a car accident and am now a quadriplegic.

    I still worship with as much physical ability as I am able. God is worth it.

    Satire can be funny… but don’t make fun of the way people worship. And don’t take for granted any physical ability that you do have.

  6. Kate McKita says

    I loved this so much that I am clapping on the inside. I will go to church telling myself I will not cry, or wave and clap and make love comments under my breath today. Why, cause I know that I am the one out of fifty who do and I don’t want to be noticed that day. But I get there and praise is praise and God is good. My but apparently also gets to shaking and the works just happen, tears and all every week.

    I have simply come to understand and accept that this is how God and I groove together. Embrace whatever you feel like embracing! Who knows there may be a closet clapper in your midst and they would not come out if they didn’t see someone else lost in abandon for God. I am utterly and totally a fool and would pull a David if I thought I could get away with it.

  7. Courtney C says

    I actually resolved this a different way. I have no sense of rhythm, as in can’t tell a down beat from an up, so I don’t clap, but I also can’t stay still with my hands raised. Worship music makes me want to dance, and I dance with the same grace with which I clap (none). So I took the sign language I knew (I have hearing loss, and early in my life no one was sure how bad it would ultimately be- in reality, it’s not obvious unless you know me well), and started adding common words used in praise songs. It turned out to be a great form of expression for me, and has become “that thing” that I’m known for in my church. I’ve had elderly women come up to me spontaneously after a service to say how encourage they were to see praise in a new way- although it can be awkward if they assume that I’m fully deaf or more hard of hearing than I actually am.

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  10. Robert says

    if the Spirit Moves you to lift your hand in Worship/Prayer “Do it” as it says lift your hands in Praise to the Lord (Psalm 134:2). Its a sign of complete surrender to the Lord, as is being on your knees in Prayer….When your in the presence of the Lord it’s between you and Him …with respect of course…..The Scary thing is ….when I see people lifting there hands at a Rock or Rap concert or even at the Club –What they are really doing is a form of complete surrender to anything but the Lord..I only lift my hands in Worship/Prayer to One Christ Jesus ……just a thought….think about it