Be Still Know
Psalm 63:4 NLT
I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
One word can carry a significant number of messages. The word the psalmist uses here for ‘praise’, which some Bible versions translate as ‘bless’, means worship. Worship itself can be expressed in many different ways. The word is associated with bowing the knee, as we would in recognition of someone of high degree in whose presence it is an honour to be invited. This is why historically the Church has knelt before God in acknowledgement of God’s divinity.
Entering God’s presence is not something we are to ever become overly familiar with.
In response to God’s awesome reality, the psalmist records how he will lift up his hands and call upon the Lord’s name. Many claim this is the oldest gesture of prayer within Christianity. It is a posture of non-violence – offering welcome, approaching with open hands. No concealed weapons but empty-handed I approach, knowing of my need for God. I come in peace and to make my peace with him.
Arms outstretched also remind me of the sacrifice of Christ’s arms stretched across a wooden gibbet for my sake. I consider the sacrifices I might endure in serving God and do so as an appeal to God for his grace to be shown. It also demonstrates a willingness to be totally identified with the way of the cross as I navigate my way through life.
Yet, such a gesture also indicates an invitation to an embrace, and we seek to both embrace and be embraced by God. Those arms so wounded, yet also so all-encompassing. We think of the security and affirmation an embrace provides and both receive such comfort from our Lord, while also discovering that our worship actually gives great comfort back to God. We serve God’s deepest desire, friendship with his creation, when we choose to worship.
QUESTION: Will you take some time to consider Christ, arms outstretched upon the cross of shame that became the source of hope?
PRAYER: Jesus, I lift my hands in humility, in peace and in praise to you, my Saviour and my Lord.