What Do I Do With My Hands?

Allison Clarke —  July 5, 2013

What Do I Do With My Hands?

Whether you’re on stage, in the congregation or running the sound, you’re always doing something with your hands.  While many worshippers can’t wait take their place in the congregation to “lift up holy hands and sing,” there are also those who’d rather stuff them in their pockets or pump one in the air. But for those who have no idea what to do with your hands, this one’s for you.  We’ve put together a few different options for you to try out during your next worship service.

Hands to the Side

Maybe you’re new to this whole worship thing and, to be honest, the fist-pumper and free bird (see below) in the row ahead are kind of freaking you out. You may bob your head from time to time or fidget with the string hanging from the bottom of your sharply pressed shirt, but chances are, your hands will never leave the one-foot radius by your khaki pockets.


This is a great technique for those who would like to transition from “hands to the side” to more involved styles. With your elbows bent at ninety degrees and your hands open, you may not feel comfortable enough to praise Jesus from the wide open space above your shoulders, but you’ll be sure to praise Him from waist-level. And when you’re ready to venture out a little more you can add…

The Clap

High above the head or at waist-level, this technique keeps your hands occupied while attempting to keep the rhythm. Heck, you may even be a clap-starter (note: starting a clap should be left to those able to keep a basic rhythm). This technique is also great for beginners who are full of enthusiasm but lack the experience to venture into the more complex techniques, which brings us to…

The Instrument

Now you’re getting brave! If you’re on stage leading, you don’t even have to worry about what to do with your hands because you’re busy strumming, picking or hitting a cowbell. But if you’re not on stage, you may still feel the urge play a sweet riff or pull a Neil Peart during the bridge of “Our God.” Thankfully, you can strap on your air guitar or pull out your invisible drum sticks without missing a beat and get to rocking.


You’re bold, you love Jesus and you may or may not wear a thick silver chain with a cross on it. With one strong punch in the air, you proclaim the love for your Savior as well as your well-defined triceps.

Hands in the Air

The drummer just came in, and you’re really feeling it when BAM, your hands shoot in the air as your fingers reach for the ceiling. As the bridge builds you’re reaching, reaching, reaching, until the chorus repeats quietly with only the acoustic guitar and vocals, and you bring your hands a little closer to your body and sway to a slow rhythm.

Free Bird

If you’ve gotten to this point you’re quickly becoming a pro. For those who are less restricted in worship style, your hands and arms may communicate a sort of worship sign language much to the confusion of those around you. For the free bird, worship is one big expression of the songs you sing brought to life by your swaying arms and hand motions.


At this point you’ve been at this for a few years, so long that you’ve earned yourself the right to sit back and take it all in. When walking into church, it’s vital that your phone is fully charged and you’re mentally prepared to tweet and pray at the same time. You struggle with the age-old question: If a Christian goes to a worship service and doesn’t Instagram a picture of the worship, does the Christian actually go to church at all? Probably not, and that’s why your hands are occupied throughout the service choosing filters and quoting song lyrics. #amiright?

In the end, it’s up to you to choose what you do with your hands during worship, but I don’t think God is as much concerned about the position of our hands as much as he is concerned about the position of our hearts. We can praise Him by pumping our fists in the air and shouting his name or by folding our arms and silently thanking Him for what He has done in our life.

Did we fail to mention how you worship with your hands? Do you have an option we left off our list? Join the conversation and let us know how you best express yourself.

Allison Clarke

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Allison interned for Capitol CMG Publishing in the summer of 2013. As an intern she helped write, edit, and contribute ideas for the Worship Together blog. She is graduating from Florida State University with a Creative Writing major in December of 2013. In her spare time, she enjoys running, writing songs, and trying to convince people that dogs are better than cats.

One response to What Do I Do With My Hands?

  1. Suellen Jennings July 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    LOL! Thanks for this! I was raised baptist and lifting hands and dancing were not allowed. There was no clapping. SO I am a hands at my side kind of girl, but on the inside, my hands are raised as high as they can go! I love seeing my sons learn to worship with abandon.