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Raise My Hands
Copyright 1989 by Tim Palmquist
If your computer has a sound card, you will hear the music for this song as you look at this page. If you don't hear the music, click here to directly access the MIDI music file.

My only God
I give my life
all that lies within this weary body
Take me and transform my darkened soul
into Your light
I stand in worship waiting for Your gift
As You pour Your power

I raise my hands
How could I restrain them?
Though no one understands
I'm so thirsty for Your touch
Your mercy is so wide
I need You as my guide
I sacrifice my will
as I stretch my arms to You

(Musical Bridge interlude)

When we are here
Your house of prayer
Your presence shines so brightly
through Your people
Lord purify this church
as we commit our lives to You
Bind us as one body in Your love
As Your people pray

(Repeat Chorus)

My Lord, My God
You alone are Who my heart desires
My Lord, My God
I surrender all my life
You are my Father, my Creator
To You, to You alone I lift my hands

Just like a child
I chose the wrong
Can You redirect my downward wanderings?
Guide me and I'll go Your way
I'll follow further on
I'll call Your Name and know You will reply
As You plan my paths

(Repeat Chorus Twice)

Tim Palmquist

When I was growing up at First Baptist Church in Delano, raising your hands in worship was not considered appropriate. It's not that it was prohibited, but it just was never done. Nevertheless, services at First Baptist were beautiful and I often sensed the presence of the Lord during worship times.

When I went to college in Fresno, I visited various churches, and was exposed to new styles of worship, including raising hands. While I was (and often still am) reticent to raise my hands (because of my upbringing which rejected hand-raising by saying "we don't want to be too showy"), God's Word eventually challenged me to consider whether or not I was being disobedient by my refusal to raise my hands.

Indeed, Scripture seems to clearly command the lifting of hands as part of a normal worship experience (see for example Psalm 134:2 and 1 Timothy 2:8). However, I am not aware of any passage which tells us why we should lift our hands in worship. I needed a reason!

I'm often accused of over-analyzing matters, so perhaps I did so with this issue as well. Perhaps it would be better to just be obedient, submit to the Spirit, and raise my hands because God wants me to. Nevertheless, in order for me to feel right about raising my hands, I needed to write down some of my motivations for doing so. And so, this song came from my heart, as I asked myself, "why should I raise my hands in worship?"

Perhaps you may raise your hands for different reasons. (Hopefully your reason is not, as my Baptist upbringing assumed, to "show off" and make other people think you're more "spiritual"!) As I've thought more about this, I've come to the conclusion that my reasons for raising my hands in worship cannot be fully expressed by words (like the Spirit's intercession of "groaning" mentioned in Romans 8:26). But as I raise my hands in worship to God, my spirit cries "Abba, Father" (Romans 8:15).

The second verse ("When we are here...") was written during a time of turmoil at First Baptist in Delano. Although there was so much good in this congregation, a difficult division had arisen, and this verse was my prayer that God would purify us and "bind us as one body" in His love. Sadly, this wonderful church I grew up in eventually was shattered in a painful split in 1990. People I had grown up admiring went their separate ways, many refusing to even speak to each other anymore. Terri and I felt like we had been through a divorce. If your local congregation is in the midst of a similar struggle, I pray that these words encourage you to ask God to bind your local congregation together in His love.

Palmquist family - Songs and Poetry page
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