Scripture teaches that we must worship God with our whole heart, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). When speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus said that true worshipers are those who worship in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23). We worship with music as well as with our lives. We were created to worship God. But is there a posture of worship? Should we lift our hands? Bow our heads? Should we bow our knees, kneeling before the Lord? Should we clap our hands or dance? What is the correct posture of praise, the physical expression of our worship?
The answer is, all of the above. A study of God’s Word will give examples of all of them, and all of them are acceptable ways in which to express our worship and praise. Worship can be expressed with our hands. Psalm 63:4 says, “So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.” And Psalm 141:2 says, “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!” Lifting our hands to the Lord says that we not only worship and praise God, but also that we surrender our lives to Him. Another way to use our hands in worship is by clapping. Psalm 47:1 says, “Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!” Clapping can be an expression of joy, something that we should feel in our hearts as we worship the Lord.
Worship can be expressed in ways that reflect not just our worship of God but also the submission of our hearts and our lives to God as we humble ourselves before Him. We do that when we bow our heads in worship or when we kneel before the Lord. In Exodus 4:27, after the people of Israel heard the words that God had spoken to Moses and saw the signs that God had commanded Moses to do, the people believed and bowed their heads as the worshiped the Lord. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (Philippians 2:10).” Bowing and kneeling can be an expression of reverence, the fear of the Lord that we should always have.
Finally, worship can be expressed through dancing. When we dance before the Lord as we worship Him and give Him praise, we are worshipping Him with our entire being. Our whole body is used in a joyful expression of praise. One of the greatest worshipers found in Scripture is David. When David brought the Ark back to Jerusalem, he was so overjoyed that, as he worshiped the Lord, he danced. 1 Samuel 6:14 tells us that “David danced before the LORD with all his might.” And after God used Moses to part the Red Sea so that the Israelites could escape Pharaoh and his army, Miriam and all of the Israelite women took tambourines and danced as they praised God for what He had done (Exodus 15:20).
As we worship the Lord, we can use any or even all of these physical expressions of worship and praise to express to Him our love, our joy, our submission to Him, and our reverence for Him. He is worthy of all of our praise!
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.