“Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.” - (Nehemiah 8:6)
Throughout history and across cultures, people have worshiped God in many different ways. Although they looked very different from each other, the focus was the same. As I read Scripture, as I sing through hymns and songs, and from my own personal experience, I can see two distinct phases in which we can and should worship God.
The lifting of hands. We praise God for who He is and for all He has done, looking toward heaven with admiration, joy, and thankfulness. When we see Him for who He truly is, our natural response leads us to the second phase of worship.
Bowing down. Seeing God as He is reminds us of how unworthy we are, and we bow down before Him in complete humility. We acknowledge Him as our Lord and King, giving ourselves completely to Him, just as Jesus gave himself completely to us on the cross.
We may not all physically raise our hands when we praise God, nor do we always bow our heads to the ground in worship. But our hearts should take these positions in relation to God as we pray, sing, read Scripture, and worship our God and our King!
In Christ, Amy Smith