What is the usefulness and relevance of movement and posture in corporate worship? This is the 10th in a series on this topic inspired by a chapter in “Participating in Worship” by Craig Douglas Erickson.

Today we look at the issue of Laying on hands.

The most common example of laying on of hands in my fellowships is for the commissioning of elders. It is moving, reverent and meaningful. But do we restrict this acts unnecessarily? Could it have other applications in our times of corporate worship?

What are some Biblical instances of the significance of hands?

  1. Hands are very expressive (Psalm 46:1; 97:8; Isaiah 55:12).
  2. Hands are meant to be pure (Exodus 30:19-21; Psalm 23:4; James 4:8; Matthew 15:2, 20; 27:24; Mark 7:2, 5).
  3. Hands are involved with sacrifice (Exodus 29:10-25).
  4. They are laid upon people to confer power and authority (Deuteronomy 34:9; Acts 6:6; 8:17-19; 19:6; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6).
  5. Jesus himself lays hands on children (Matthew 19:15) and on people who needed healing (Mark 6:5; 8:23; 16:18; Luke 4:40).
  6. The apostles laid hands on people (Acts 28:8).
  7. The early church laid hands on missionaries (Acts 13:3).

Is there a place for laying on of hands in the following circumstances in our services?

  1. Sending out a mission team
  2. Commissioning someone for a special work of service (teaching children; deacons; elders; taking up a leadership role; involvement in corporate worship leadership).
  3. Praying over someone with a significant illness.
  4. Someone leaving the congregation and moving to another church in another city or even country.
  5. Helping people with times of crisis in their lives.
  6. Restoring people to the faith and/or the fellowship.
  7. Praying over people about to be baptised.
  8. Welcoming a new baby into the congregation.
  9. Praying over a couple about to be married, or having just arrived back from honeymoon.

Perhaps there are other circumstances in which laying on of hands in prayer would be appropriate. Can you think of any?

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John