What Expressions In Worship Are Acceptable?

Have you ever been critical of someone who expresses worship different than you? The answer for many of us is yes! We were all raised in different worship cultures and have different backgrounds.

Depending on the denomination you were, it may be “acceptable” to raise your hands, dance, and shout out to God. Others may find this to feel unnatural and inauthentic.

Is one of these ways more biblical than the other? Let's look at what the Bible says about expression during worship.

Psalm 47:1 says,

“Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!”

1 Timothy 2:8 says,

“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;”

Psalm 100:1-2 says,

 “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!”

Psalm 150:4-5 says,

“Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!”


The posture of God’s people during worship includes clapping, shouting, playing instruments, lifting hands, bowing down, dancing, and singing joyfully.

These things are good! These things are God given!

When we sing to our great God, we should be excited! When you think of the work that was done by God the Father (His plan for salvation), God the Son (fulfilling the plan through the cross), and God the Spirit (sealing and securing our salvation) how can we not express joyfully in worship?

If this reality makes you shout, clap, and lift your hands, then praise God! If the heaviness of the substitutionary work on the cross makes you close your eyes and bow down, then praise God! You are free in Christ to worship in the way the Spirit leads you! (Just make sure it’s biblical)

Remember church, worship comes from the heart not from the action of raising your hands and clapping. If your worship is genuine, biblical, and heartfelt, then it is acceptable to God.

For any of you who struggle with this, I am praying for you. I pray that you will show much grace and love to your brothers and sisters in Christ. For those who might feel stupid or embarrassed when lifting hands or clapping, I pray that you will be freed from worrying about what others think of you.

For those who feel the total freedom to loudly and joyfully express yourself during worship, I pray that you will be genuine and not a distraction to others.

I love you all and desire for us all to have a rich heartfelt time of corporate worship on Sundays!

What are we singing?:

Last week:

  • Redeemed to Redeem (Austin Stone Worship)
  • No Longer Slaves (Brian Johnson)
  • One Thing (Housefires)
  • Faithful to the End (Hannah McClure)

This Week:

  • Here is Love (Matt Redman)
  • It Is Finished (Tim Dillon)
  • This Is Amazing Grace (Jeremy Riddle)
  • The Stand (Hillsong)