Well, I'd been there for 9 years, and the choir started singing a few more contemporary songs. There was one song in particular, and the youth pastor's (at the time) wife was in the choir. She was singing and raising her hand. I was watching this thinking, "You go girl. Get your praise on." I'd later heard that she "got in trouble" for raising her hand.
Not long after that, another more up beat song was being sung or played, and I had my hand tapping it to the music on the back of the pew. Someone touched me, basically asking me to stop. This was my last straw. I had to leave. My praise was being strangled!
I have not been much of a raising hand praise person, until these last 3 years at my current church. One of the staff members there, whom I have much admiration, is a worship woman. She speaks about it regularly. She's done a lot of research on the topic. And I've recently heard her speak on this topic twice this past week. It really got me thinking.
Our praise, no matter where we are, is so powerful. It breaks chains from people, it fights battles in the Spiritual realm, and it shows God our love.
Psalm 67: 5 says, "May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you."
Psalm 100:2, "Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!"
Colossians 3:16, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God."
John 4:24, "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
There are so many more Scriptures, both in the Old and New Testaments.
God inhabits the praise of His people. So, when you praise, He is there. Lift your hands, don't listen to satan's lies about how people will think you are weird or whatever. Think of God and how He deserves your praise and how you could be helping someone else through that praise!