“Is the Practice of “Lifting Up Holy Hands In Prayer” Merely a “Pentecostal” Phenomenon?
Examining the Context of 1 Timothy 2:8. • The subject of prayer is introduced: 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NASB) First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
Why Christians should pray for all people: 1 Timothy 2:3-7 (NASB) 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time. 7 And for this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
Examining the Context of 1 Timothy 2:8. • The subject of prayer is reintroduced: 1 Tim 2:8 (NASB) Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.
Examining the Meaning of 1 Timothy 2:8. • An instruction for men. • “Men” (1 Tim. 2:8), from Greek word aner - specific to men only. • Since all Christians must pray (1 Thes. 5:17), this must refer to men’s role to lead public prayer.
Christian men have the responsibility to lead prayer in the public worship assembly (1 Tim. 2:8).
1 Timothy 2:12 (NASB) “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.”– cf. 1 Cor. 14:34
Women are not inferior to men (Gal. 3:28), but have a different role than men in the divine order of God (1 Cor. 11:2-3).
Examining the Meaning of 1 Timothy 2:8. • It is the will (or desire / want) of God (expressed through Paul) for all men to pray: This must be obeyed! 1 Timothy 2:8 (KJV) I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
Examining the Meaning of 1 Timothy 2:8. • “The men in every place” are to pray.(1 Tim. 2:8; cf. 1 Cor. 1:2) • Leading prayer in the public worship assemblywithoutanger & dissension (discord/ quarreling). • Wherever prayer is done (e.g., Jerusalem, the temple), the right attitude of holiness must be evident (John 4:23-24).
Examining the Meaning of 1 Timothy 2:8. • “Lifting up holy hands” -- The posture in prayer in which one’s attitude is expressed, in part, by the hands. 1 Kings 8:22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven. Ezra 9:5 But at the evening offering I arose from my humiliation, even with my garment and my robe torn, and I fell on my knees and stretched out my hands to the LORD my God;
Examining the Meaning of 1 Timothy 2:8. • “Holyhands” • Holiness in heart & action • Holy (hosios) “Undefiled by sin, free from wickedness, religiously observing every moral obligation, pure holy, pious”(Thayer). • Prayer with holy hands specificallyinvolves without “wrath” (i.e., anger, indignation, vengeance, violent emotion) or dissension (i.e., discord or quarreling).
“Without Wrath & Dissension” • Those who lead prayer must not pray angry words against a brother nor with ill will in his heart toward others (e.g., Mat. 5:22-24, 44; 6:14-15). • All praying should be holy (set apart) from wrath and doubting and all sinful thoughts, attitudes, and motives.
What Spiritual Value May “Lifting Up Holy Hands In Prayer” Have? • It is an outward expression of our praising or blessing God. Psalm 134:2 Lift up your hands to the sanctuary, And bless the LORD. Psalm 63:4 So I will bless Thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Thy name.
What Spiritual Value May “Lifting Up Holy Hands In Prayer” Have? • It is an expression of our approval of God and reverence toward Him. Neh 8:5-7 (NASB) 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. 6 Then Ezra blessed the LORD the great God. And all the people answered, "Amen, Amen!" while lifting up their hands; then they bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
What Spiritual Value May “Lifting Up Holy Hands In Prayer” Have? • It is an outward expression of our desire that our prayers would be accepted or received by God. Ps 141:2 May my prayer be counted as incense before Thee; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering. • Compare to Rev. 5:8; 1 Peter 2:5; Hebrews 13:15-16.
Hebrews 13:15-16 (NASB) 15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
What Spiritual Value May “Lifting Up Holy Hands In Prayer” Have? • It is an outward expression of our acknowledgment of our dependency on Him and the serious attitude we bring in the requests we make of God.
Lamentations 2:19 (NASB) "Arise, cry aloud in the night at the beginning of the night watches; Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord; Lift up your hands to Him for the life of your little ones who are faint because of hunger at the head of every street."
What Spiritual Value May “Lifting Up Holy Hands In Prayer” Have? • It is an outward expression of our hearts devoted to God; A symbol of elevated hearts toward God.
Lamentations 3:41 (NASB) We lift up our heart and hands toward God in heaven;
What Spiritual Value May “Lifting Up Holy Hands In Prayer” Have? • It may possibly aid us in keeping the right attitude of holiness as we pray (1 Tim. 2:8) which is critical to praying prayers that are acceptable to God (1 Pet. 3:12).
Lifting Up the Hands Is Only Oneof the Methods of Expression in Praying Unto God. • Prostration: Falling upon the knees, then gradually inclining the body, until the forehead touches the ground (an expression of reverence and humility before a superior).
Examples of Prostration Gen 17:3 And Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him… Matt 26:39 And He [Jesus] went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt." • In showing respect to a superior (e.g., 1 Sam. 25:23; 2 Kings 4:37).
Kneeling: A very common posture to show respect in worship in Old and New Testament times.
1 Kings 8:54 (NASB) And it came about that when Solomon had finished praying this entire prayer and supplication to the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread toward heaven.
Luke 22:41 (NASB) And He [Jesus] withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and began to pray,
“Sitting” is a possible form of kneeling; e.g., 2 Sam. 7:18); yet not a common posture found in the Scriptures.
Standing: Erect or with a slightly bowed head. The most common posture in prayer (in the Scriptures) to show respect or pay homage to God.
Genesis 18:22 (NASB) Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the LORD.
Luke 18:11, 13 (NASB) 11 "The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, 'God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer… 13 "But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!
Kiss of Adoration:The practice of kissing hands toward object of adoration (i.e., of great affection) or kissing the object itself.
Psalms 2:12 (NKJV) Kiss the Son, (do homage – NASB) lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
1 Samuel 10:1 (NASB) Then Samuel took the flask of oil, poured it on his head, kissed him (i.e., paid homage - ML) and said, "Has not the LORD anointed you a ruler over His inheritance?
1 Kings 19:18 (NASB) "Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him."
Lifting Up Holy Hands:The posture in prayer in which one’s attitude is expressed by the hands (e.g. 1 Kings 8:22; Ezra 9:5).
What method a person chooses may depend on what is personally necessary and on his or her circumstances: • There is no single method that God requires we must follow every time!
Whatever Posture In Prayer We Choose, Let Us Be Sure to Obey the Lord’s Command to Pray As We Should!
We should always pray according to God’s will(in harmony with the Word of God) (1 John 5:14).
Whatever posture or method of expression in prayer that a person chooses should always be done in sincerity and truth (John 4:23-24).
Christian men should step up to the duty of leading prayer in all holiness (1 Tim. 2:8).
No Matter What Posture We Use In Prayer, Let Us Be Certain to Always Offer Prayers That Are Acceptable to God!