a woman raising her hands in an field
Worship Devotions

Yadah with Praise: The Power of Lifting Your Hands to God

One of the most used praise and worship postures is the lifting up of hands during times of prayer and singing, but many people don’t know the “why” when it comes to how praise and worship are expressed.

In fact, lifting your hands in praise to the Lord is not only Scriptural as seen throughout the Bible, but it is also part of how God has expressed His design for praise and worship.

In the Old Testament, as part of Hebrew culture, the lifting up of hands was part of the sacrifices offered to the Lord in ministry to Him. God’s people would lifting an offering to the Lord – flesh, grain, bread, oil, and even wine – as a sacrifice of praise and worship in a wave offering to Him.

Lifting your hands in praise to the Lord… part of how God has expressed His design for praise and worship.

~ Alicia Purdy ~

Throughout the Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, the Lord calls these expressions “a perpetual statue”. (Leviticus 10:15)

But the extended hand offering a sacrifice to God is only one part of the “why” believers lift their hands in the presence of God as a sacrifice of thanksgiving. The other reason believers lift their hands as they sing God’s praise is because of the Hebrew word, “Yadah“.

What Does Yadah Praise Mean?

The 7 Hebrew words for “praise” that are given in God’s Word show that there are many different ways in which worshippers can praise the Lord – from songs of praise to dancing to kneeling to shouting “hallelujah” to playing musical instruments in songs of praise and singing testimonies to the name of the Lord, and His mighty acts.

The essence of praise, as seen throughout the Bible is to offer up a willing sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord in ministry to Him. Under the New Covenant, you are the sacrifice – a living sacrifice – that you offer to the Lord through how you express your praise to Him. Paul wrote:

“I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship.” (Romans 12:1, MEV)

Yadah, in the context of “praise” in the Bible, means, “…to throw the hands forward and make a confession about God.” In the Hebrew language, yadah is also used in the context of confessing or making a confession about sin. (Daniel 9:20)

But the point of yadah in praise is this: Using your mouth and your hands together as an outward action of praising the Lord.

The essence of praise, as seen throughout the Bible is to offer up a willing sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord in ministry to Him.

~Alicia Purdy

How Do You Express Yadah Praise to God?

The book of Psalms has a rich array of yadah praise with and without a musical instrument, with a loud voice and shouts of joy, shouts of battle, shouts of celebration for the beauty of holiness of the Lord, or even making a confession of faith quietly in times of personal praise and prayer. 

It is with the spiritual agreement of the confession of the mouth and the spiritual agreement as an outward action with the raising of hands, that yadah praise is expressed to the Lord (Psalm 109:30) and “with your whole heart.” (Psalm 111:1) 

As seen in the Psalms, lifting up your hands in praise is an important part of the giving of thanks to God:

  • “Hear the voice of my supplications. When I cry to You, O Lord, when I lift up my hands toward Your most holy place.” (Psalm 28:2)
  • “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You, O God. Thus will I bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.” (Psalm 63:3-4)
  • “My hands I will lift up unto Your commandments, which I have loved; I will meditate on Your statutes.” (Psalm 119:48)
  • “Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, who by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.” (Psalm 134:1-2)

Remember, your expression of worship isn’t about you. Praise and worship are about ministry to the Lord. God is faithful to bless you as you bless Him (Genesis 22:17), but the point of praise isn’t the “perks” like blessing, abundance, miracles, answered prayer, provision, or anything else you need or desire. You need the presence of the Lord! 

All the other things come from the outflow of His presence, but ministry to the Lord with the sacrifice of thanksgiving is the truth about why believers praise and worship the Lord.

Here are 5 reasons why you should YADAH the Lord!

  1. YADAH Him for His goodness – Psalm 106:1
  2. YADAH the Lord for His faithfulness Psalm 89:5
  3. YADAH the Lord because His mercy endures forever – Psalm 118:1, Psalm 136:2, 1 Chronicles 16:41
  4. YADAH God for He has done wonderful things in faithfulness and truth – Isaiah 25:1
  5. YADAH the Lord who keeps covenant and mercy with those that love Him – Daniel 9:4

Psalm 75:1 says, “We give thanks to You, O God; we give thanks, and Your name is near…”

When you yadah the Lord in your worship His name is nearthat is where the power is! There are hundreds of names of God given in the Word and when you need Him, and you worship Him, that name draws near to you and to your situation and changes things!

  • King of Glory (Ps. 24:8)
  • Safe Refuge (Ps. 61:3)
  • Awesome One (Ps. 76:11)
  • Hope of Israel (Jer. 14:8)
  • Our Light and Protector (Ps. 84:11)
  • The Anointed One (Dan. 9:26)
  • Mighty King (Ps. 99:4)
  • Lover of Justice (Ps. 99:4)
  • The One who calls you by name (Is. 45:3)
  • Word of Life (1 John 1:1)
  • God of the Breakthrough (2 Sam. 5:20)
  • Creator and King (Is. 43:15) – there are so many more!

The power of worship is the nearness of God!

How Does Lifting Up a Sacrifice of Praise Honor God?

When you sing praises to the Lord, or lift up holy hands, or bless the name of God, or testify of His marvelous works with singing and shouting “hallelujah!”, or offer to Him any form of praise that He has designed and defined – God is honored and the glory of the Lord is invited through that sacrifice.

In the book of Exodus, the Lord said to Moses that the purpose of the priesthood would be to minister to Him, and when the tabernacle and the ministers of the priesthood had been prepared according to God’s due order, the glory of the Lord appeared.

“…so that they may minister to Me as priests, for their anointing will surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations… then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle… Moses was not able to enter into the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” (Exodus 40, MEV)

In 1 Peter 2:9, Peter showed that, under the New Covenant, all believers are now in the priesthood, meaning that all believers are called to minister to the Lord in praise and worship:

“…you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may declare the goodness of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (MEV)

When you recall what God has done – lift your hands and let your mouth confess it to Him! You can confess God’s Word and your testimonies in praise with your hands raised at church or among other believers, and lift up your hands and confess your faith in Him in your private praise.

Some people wrestle with physical expressions of praise and worship, but ministry to the Lord is about Him, not them!

  • “The lifting up of my hands is uncomfortable” or “No one else is lifting their hands” – That is a sacrifice!
  • “My denomination doesn’t believe in that” – The Bible clearly does!
  • “I’ll look foolish” or “Everyone will stare at me” – Be the testimony to them – God is watching too!

YADAH praise has always been part of the spiritual expression of confessing God’s greatness – privately and publicly to Christ Jesus. The lifting of your open hands with a song of praise is a sacrifice God desires.

God speaks the language of sacrifice because He gave the ultimate sacrifice when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die for the sins of the world, and then to rise from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.

quote about victory

In light of that powerful act of love, the natural response of believers who are grateful is to express that gratitude in a physical sacrifice of praise and worship to the God who sacrificed everything first!

Here’s something to think about: If faith without works is dead (James 2), and love without action is not love (1 Corinthians 13) – what are praise worship without physical expression?

Lift Up Your Hands, Your Eyes, and Your Soul too!

Throughout the book of Psalms, David’s worship songs and poems show the beautiful, sometimes tragic or mournful, exuberant, passionate, creative, questioning, hopeful, love-filled heart of worship. There really is worship for every season and for every reason that is directed toward our good God! 

Think of it this way: A heart of worship finds the song to sing in every circumstance.

​Praise and worship are spiritual weapons that are part of God’s winning strategy over the enemy!

Even in his sinDavid ran to the Lord to lift up his soul because he knew God’s mercy was would support him through the dark valleys as well as the mountain tops. 

“For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.” (Psalm 86:4-5)

David lifted up his soul to the Lord because he wanted to learn the Lord’s ways. He wanted the Lord to instruct his soul, strengthen his soul, deliver his soul and unite his soul with the Spirit of God.

He never turned his back to God and always turned his face to Him.

  • “To You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, and as the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress so our eyes look upon the Lord our God, until He has mercy upon us.” (Psalm 123:1-2)
  • I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. he will not let your foot slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who guards Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:1-4)

David lifted up his eyes to the Lord when he could have looked down in shame, when he could have looked around at his circumstances and worried; when he could have looked at what others were doing. But David lifted up his eyes to the Lord. It was a choice. It was sacrifice. It was sheer willpower at times. Determination. Commitment.

 “One thing I desire,” David said, is “to see the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.” (Psalm 27:4) 

man with hands raised in front of a rainbow

David lifted his eyes and looked at the Lord whom he loved and nothing else mattered because David refused to allow it to matter. Why? Because he had full confidence of what he’d see when lifting his hands and his soul and his eyes to the Lord.

 “I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:23)

Praise and worship gave David God’s perspective of his life, which was more valuable than anything the world had to offer.

Anytime you have to push past your flesh and your feelings to walk by faith, you can expect a struggle. Even Jesus Christ asked the Father to “take this cup” of suffering and death from Him YET “…not My will, but Yours be done,” Jesus said. (Luke 22:42)

The truth is that there are specific components of praise and worship that are Scriptural, relevant today, pleasing to the Lord, and show a humble obedience that puts God’s will above your own. Faith teachings and traditions that no longer recognize the Biblical processes and principles of praise and worship are out of line with God’s Word.

Learn more about the 7 Hebrew Words for Praise and how each one helps create strength, intimacy, and fresh revelation as you understand more about God’s plan for praise in your life!

The sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving is what God desires. (Psalm 50:14) And, throughout the Bible it is clearly shown that lifting your hands and making confessions about who God is, what God has done, and confessing His Word, in yadah praise, is necessary, desired, and a powerful way to draw closer to God’s presence. 

There is another layer to how yadah praise affects your inward spirit:

  • Yadah praise helps you put down the flesh. (Psalm 43:5)
  • Yadah​ praise expresses gratitude for God’s help. (Psalm 118:21)
  • Yadah praise testifies to others of what God has done. (Psalm 122:4 & Psalm 138:4)
  • Yadah​ praise brings a supernatural strength to your spirit. (Daniel 6:10)
  • Yadah​ praise is a faith action when you praise God before you see Him act with your natural eyes. (Psalm 28:7)

No sacrifice wants to die! That is the essence of a sacrifice! But it should change anything for you as a worshipper. Some times lifting your hands will be the hardest thing you’ll ever do – and that’s why you must be willing to do it. You could never give more than God has given to you through His own sacrifice. 

  • Praise and worship have nothing to do with situations or circumstances. 
  • Praise and worship have nothing to do with feelings. 
  • Praise and worship have nothing to do with any factor other than God’s goodness. 

Of course God is praised for many reasons, but when those are all stripped away, you can still worship God for His goodness, not because LIFE is good, but because GOD is good. This is an important spiritual principle.

Some times lifting your hands will be the hardest thing you’ll ever do – and that’s why you must be willing to do it.

~Alicia Purdy

The enemy wants to disconnect you from the emotional, passionate, vital, electric current of the Spirit of God because he knows it will break the powerful connection you need to keep moving ahead in victory over him. 

Worship is like the umbilical cord that nourishes a growing baby- and the enemy is constantly trying to cut it off. He’ll try to pressure you and attempt to put a choke hold on your life to the point that you stop worshipping the Lord and just try to “survive” – but really, your survival depends on staying connected! 

Take time today to worship Him and lift up your hands in praise and lift up your eyes to see where your help comes from. (Psalm 121:1-4) God has something He wants you to see!