Paul had this to say in 1 Timothy 2:1-10,
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.
Paul wanted men everywhere to pray this way. That means that above all this pose is prayerful. It is one that speaks to God with and without our words. In addition, this position is often a public one which communicates a oneness with people sharing in that time of supplication, prayer, intercession, and thanksgiving. Finally, according this passage just as it conveys unity, it suggests respect, unpretentiousness, and self-control. It is an external display of our mind toward God.
In Psalm 28:2 the psalmist says,
Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy,
when I cry to you for help,
when I lift up my hands
toward your most holy sanctuary.
Here, lifting up our hands is an entreaty to God and a recognition that He is our Holy Sanctuary. Mercy and help come from the LORD. He is our Salvation. When we lift our hands toward Him, we are ready to receive all He gives. We implore Him with the confidence that He gives, and in that assurance we thank Him before we receive.
Lifting our hands in public prayer is also a way of bestowing the Lord’s blessings on the hearers and attendees. It is how we multiply and extend our personal worship and prayer to spread to others who are seeking to know God and walk in His awesome love. When it was time for Jesus to return home, He lifted His hands in prayer. It is recorded in Luke:24-50-53.
And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
I personally want to praise the Lord with my whole being, I want to bless Him, that is to please Him and cause Him to smile. Lifting up our hands does that. God likes it when we lift up our hands to Him. Lifting up our hands portrays desire for Him, more of Him. Psalm 63:1-4 reads,
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
When we yearn for God so urgently, we know we find Him. Didn’t He say, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8). We look, we study, we see His power and glory, we experience His constant and resolute unswerving love and we just must praise Him with everything we have, our words, our hearts, our minds, our souls, and our body. And it makes God happy to see us lift our hands to Him. Psalm 134 says it this way,
Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
who stand by night in the house of the Lord!
2 Lift up your hands to the holy place
and bless the Lord!
3 May the Lord bless you from Zion,
he who made heaven and earth!
God does not have to bless us. He does not have to respond to our worship by giving us anything, yet so often He does because He is that kind. While I do my utmost to bless God, He pours His joy over me, He washes me in His delight. Lifting up my hands makes Him happy and shows Him I am receptive to the blessings He is giving me. It shows Him I am ready for joyfulness and the power of His glory. His glory is His revelation, His exposure to all around. Lifting up our hands says, “Lord, do your thing, show your power, I have faith that you are about to reveal yourself in greatness.” That is the example Moses gave when he lifted his hands in Exodus 9:27-29
Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28 Plead with the Lord, for there has been enough of God's thunder and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.”29 Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the Lord. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the Lord's.
This posture points to God’s sovereignty, that His power and the absolute right to wield His power and authority as He chooses. Moses gave us this example in Exodus 17:8-11.
Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. 9 So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose for us men, and go out and fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.
I know not everyone is comfortable lifting their hands, some see it as too demonstrative. In a few churches, this position might be considered distracting and overly emotional, extravagant or vociferous. But shouldn’t our worship and prayer be for God and not for the policy makers of an organization? Shouldn’t our worship be based on what the Bible says and not on what the pastor says? Shouldn’t our prayer, worship and life reveal our heart for the Lord? And isn’t that meant to be a passionate pursuit of all He is?
So if you have not lifted your hands to God, or if you rarely do, I encourage you Beloved Child of the Living God to choose to worship Him in this way. If you do practice lifting hands, I encourage you to do so mindfully, understanding the reasons behind it and intentionally using your strength to bless the Lord.