clap for Jesus, hand clap of praise, clap offering

Let’s give the Lord a hand clap of praise! Let’s give God a clap offering!

The Bible says in Psalm 98:8 that the rivers (or the oceans, depending on your Bible version) clap their hands to praise God. So why shouldn’t Christians do the same? I mean, we human beings actually have literal hands, so we should be a leg up (and a hand up) on those rivers and oceans who only have metaphorical hands to praise with!

clap for Jesus, clap offeringIt honestly doesn’t surprise me all that much that Christians who are overcome with joy and gratitude might spontaneously start clapping during a worship service or prayer meeting. When you’re filled to the brim with joy or gratitude, then who knows exactly how those feelings will come to the surface? A worshiper might have the biggest, stupidest grin on their face. Or maybe they will suddenly laugh in delight. Or perhaps they will clap their hands or start rocking back and forth on their heels.

When you stop to think about it, perhaps the real question isn’t why some Christians get so animated and energetic at church. Maybe the real question ought to be why the a lot of other Christians don’t clap their hands and put a little sway in their sacred steps! Is this all just a case of the frozen chosen? (See especially senses 1 and 2 of that definition.)

Regardless of whether the practice of hand-clapping counts as “normal” in your personal church experience or not, you might still be unaware of the wide variety of Christianese terms that have been invented to refer to these energetic acts of worship. Christians refer to this religious hand-clapping as “clapping for Jesus,” “a clap offering,” “hand claps of praise,” and even just “hand praise.” Pretty much the common denominator in these terms is the word hand or the word clap. Pretty simple!

See below for the definitions for all these terms. And if you need a break from clapping, maybe try giving God a hug?

 

¹clap for Jesus v. phr. To applaud as an act of worshiping or praising God.
For more information, see *clap offering.
1975 Roper Mother’s World 95 : All around us people leaped to their feet and began clapping for Jesus. They were earnest and sincere. They obviously loved the Lord. And they weren’t just young people either. There were people our age, our parents’ ages, clapping for Jesus. 1978 San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, CA) (7 Apr.) B14 : The National Orange Show’s first Gospel Jubilee Wednesday night was acclaimed a resounding success…. The Crownsmen come off best because they vary their act more, briskly moving about the stage and, when a ramp is available, taking their songs and their exhortations to “praise God” and “clap for Jesus” right to the audience…. The entertainers made it clear they sing and play to the glory of God. 1989 Chambers Letters from Lepers’ Isle: Culion–Philippines, 1984–1987: An Unintended Autobiography 22 : I saw something new here and when I first saw it it really touched me. It was so good I asked the people to clap for Jesus. 1995 Murphy The Ukimwi Road: From Kenya to Zimbabwe 6 : Inexorably our shepherdess drove us towards a semblance of fervour. “Now, all together, let’s clap for Jesus! And now we’ll stamp the feet for Jesus!” 1999 Ifie Coping with Culture 147 : Unlike in the mainline churches, services in the pentecostal circle are mostly informal with sporadic interjections like “Praise God!” “Amen!” “Clap for Jesus!” etc. These to an objective mind are nothing but mere disruptions of worship. But these to the pentecostals are what make services lively and more inspirational. 2000 Layng Letters from James: A High Country Love Story 148 : The hymn ended lustily. Doctor Pierce stretched out his arms and said, “That was mighty good singing. Let’s give ourselves a handclap.” Everyone laughed and started clapping their hands. “Now let’s clap for Jesus,” the preacher shouted. The tent exploded with people clapping and shouting “Amen.” 2002 Salm, Falola Culture and Customs of Ghana 47 : Christian music consumes a substantial part of radio air time, many businesses have religious names, such as the “In God’s Time” hair salon and the “Clap for Jesus” barber shop, and posters frequently advertise Christian crusades soon to be passing through town offering salvation to those willing to commit themselves to Jesus. 2002 Odum The Final Rebellion Against the Church: The Charismatic (Pentecostal) Question and the Holy Spirit Within the Catholic Church 5 : How are you today? Are you happy? If you are happy, clap for Jesus! Say Amen! 2004 Redekop Crime Stories: More of Manitoba’s Most Famous True Crimes 72 : I heard Mr. Valdez say, “I think that you will see the dead raised,” and he asked all assembled to “clap for Jesus.” 2005 Lalisse Stockdale 3 : The newly “called” preacher had shown out, which means he had jumped and shouted, sang and ran down the church aisles commanding Christians and heathens alike to stand up and clap for Jesus. They said he had a wonderful singing voice too, so he was everybody’s kind of preacher. 2006 Gatu Joyfully Christian, Truly African 99 : The influence of Bonke, Dass and other popular preachers seems to be affecting some of our ministers. If, for example, Bonke says: “Let us clap for Jesus!” “Say Hallelujah!” “Come for healing and miracles!” and so on, it does not take long before one or other of our pastors is echoing it in a particular corner of the Church. 2008 Crumbley Spirit, Structure, and Flesh: Gendered Experiences in African Instituted Churches Among the Yoruba of Nigeria 69 : Officiating from the platform, she led a hymn as she took over devotional prayers…. The praise cycle ended with Mama directing us to “clap for Jesus.” 2011 Wright Bedtime Thoughts for the Christian Mom: Devotionals to Challenge and Encourage Mothers 27 : When I go shopping, I frequently nab a front row parking spot, no matter how crowded the parking lot. It is like a little game between Jesus and me, and I will say I am highly favored, then I clap for Jesus just for fun. My friends and family think it is funny and are amazed too. And we laugh and clap for Jesus together. 2012 MacDonald Authentic: Developing the Disciplines of a Sincere Faith 195 : It always amazes me that some people clap every chance they get in a service except when we’re worshiping. “Oh, I’ll clap for good news during the announcements or after someone shares a great testimony, but I’m not clapping for Jesus. I’m not clapping in the songs of praise.”
²clap for Jesus n. See *hand clap for Jesus.
clap offering n. See various senses.
1. As in give God a clap offering (or a hand clap offering). Applause as an act of worshiping or praising God. Such applause can last several minutes.
Synonyms for clap offering and other closely related terms include: *clap offering of praise; *clap of praise; *¹clap for Jesus; *hand clap; *hand clap for Jesus; *hand clap of praise; *hand praise.
See also *shout offering; *wave offering.
1982 Texas Monthly 10/2 (Feb.) 156 : Copeland … began the service by leading us in a brief prayer of thanksgiving and an extended “clap offering.” 1984 Howe God, the Universe, and Hot Fudge Sundaes 126 : “Let’s give the Lord a clap offering!” Tyler leaned forward and touched me on the knee. “A clap offering?” she asked, with an incredulous expression. 1987 Craston, ed. Open to the Spirit: Anglicans and the Experience of Renewal 22 : Charismatics will dance in the Spirit, join hands, sway to the music, shout for joy, and present the Lord with a clap offering, and they will do this for hours on end. 1988 Carey, Stone A Bold New Vision: Personal Enrichment Guide 76 : I remember the time I visited a church in the Northeast where the people gave a thunderous clap offering to the God who had saved their souls. Such an expression was new to me, but I discovered that this was a normal way for these people to honor God. They made a joyful noise to their Lord. 1989 Balmer Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America 71 : He grabs the microphone with a kind of practiced insouciance and exhorts the audience to “give God a clap offering.” The congregation obeys. 1989 Kollins, Grace It’s Only the Beginning: A Journey with Jesus 207 : As we began a spontaneous “clap offering” to the Lord, Fr Sievers told us that in places where he had served in Africa, Christians clapped for God with their hands over their heads. Suddenly, in response, everyone began to clap with hands held over heads, and as I looked out over the throng of four thousand, it looked as if flames of fire were flickering over people’s heads, all over the auditorium. 1990 Hayford, Killinger, Stevenson Mastering Worship 106 : When we finished [the song] with a strong, exciting conclusion, I invited the congregation to give a “clap offering” to God as an expression of joy and praise, and they did with pleasure. 1996 Iheacachor Spirit of the Rebel: African Messianism and Rebirth 84 : The music died out gently. He raised his hands in the air and greeted the audience with three powerful shouts of “Praise the Lord.” The audience responded with frenzied “Alleluyahs,” ending up in an equally frenzied clap offering. I could not help but clap. 1997 West Africa iss. 4157–4179 1406 : In certain churches, he may receive a “clap offering” or a “shout offering” as a sign of their respect for the Man of God and in affirmation of their belief in him. 1999 Bomann Faith in the Barrios: The Pentecostal Poor in Bogotá 99 : We repeated choruses again, and again, waving hands like victory flags, feeling the music move us and lift us…. The electric guitar trilled and the tambourines shook and we gave a clap offering to God for a couple of minutes. 1999 Angolite XXIV. 63 : Inmate Robert Bishop offered the opening prayer, asking the congregation to give a clap offering to the Lord. “Lord, we pray right now,” he said, “that the way we came in here will not be the way we leave.” 1997 The Door no. 153 (May/Jun.) 37 : We’ve all been looking forward to hearing this anointed Man of God and his powerful Holy Ghost message. Can’t you just feel the presence of God here today? Hallelujah! Let’s give God a clap offering as we proudly present… Jesus of Nazareth! 2000 Wheeler Best Seat in the House: Untold Stories of Dimaggio, Mantle, Forman and Other Sports Legends 71 : “Now, you’ve got to give the Lord a clap offering for that one,” Pastor Foreman exhorted as the congregation broke into applause. 2003 Lawson Simply, Joy 142 : When I applaud, I’m applauding first to the Lord, and then for the building up of my brothers and sisters in Christ—to encourage them and show my appreciation of them. Scripture tells us to give clap offerings. Our hands are instruments assigned and designed to praise Him! 2006 Kilpatrick A Field Guide to Evangelicals and Their Habitat 70 : “Give the Lord a clap offering” … It refers to group applause for God. If a worship leader says this, everyone will clap in the direction of the ceiling. 2009 DeYoung, Kluck Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion 173 : When church-leavers make their list of what is superfluous to church they put the sermon alongside such adiaphora (a theological term for actions not sanctioned nor prohibited by Scripture) as pulpits, stages, choirs, organs, information tables, stained glass windows, altar calls, and clap offerings. 2009 Johnson A Call into His Presence 42 : I pray that God would give us something to let us know where we are heading…. There is enough spiritually and naturally to take care of every member of this church and every family which is a part of this church. Will you give the Lord a hand clap offering for your land? 2009 Klassen Strange Fire, Holy Fire: Exploring the Highs and Lows of Your Charismatic Experience 153 : He was lifted out of his wheelchair and carried into the baptistry…. Suddenly the man came shooting out of the tank, jumping up and down and splashing everyone around him. “I’m healed! I can walk!” he cried out. Erupting in applause, the congregation rose to their feet and gave God a clap offering…. After about ten minutes of clapping and praising God, the baptisms continued where they had left off. 2009 Badaki Thanksgiving: More Than Just Turkey 9 : Please let us give our God a standing ovation, a clap offering, a dance offering, a worship offering, and shout of hosanna and hallelujah to His most Holy name, amen. 2010 Vollbrecht Blind Faith 85 : He did not like the fact that I sometimes had the congregation sing along during offertory hymns or that I often told them to give clap offerings of praise to God. He said the music was far too loud. 2010 De La Peña The Contagion (Book Two) 111 : James was louder than ever singing the hymns and even giving clap offerings to the Lord. He wasn’t making a spectacle but was noticeably exuberant about his worship; more than usual. 2011 Lake Worship Is: The Most Awesome Activity in Which a Believer Is Ever Engaged 23 : Our response to God should be a sacred one. Whatever happened to the Hallelujahs, the Praise the Lords, and the Amens (the language of heaven) once heard in our worship? Instead we choose to give God a clap offering, by all appearances, in the same way we respond to athletes, actors and entertainers. Is not worship on a higher plane? 2012 Anderson The Daily Wad 45 : Acclaim means, among other things, to “applaud.” … I’ve even heard of giving the Lord a “clap offering” during a service, which is a step up from the rest. But the psalmist was talking about something more than a courteous clapping of the hands. He was talking about thunderous, enthusiastic applause, a standing ovation. 2013 Johnson, ed. Urban God Talk: Constructing a Hip Hop Spirituality 61 : In many black religious services … worshieprs are encouraged to give God a “clap offering” or “hand praise.” This percussive gesture brings the congregation into what Asante terms a “collective generative experience.” 2013 Wallace-Bruce From Disgrace, Shame, Humiliation and Hopelessness to Leaping to Victory and Celebration 54 : These days, however, praise and worship have moved to new, higher levels. Lots of singing and dancing with modern music and high-velocity musical instruments is the order of the day. The lyrics of praise songs have broken the barriers of old, ushering in innovative and radical ideas and concepts—all for the glory of God Almighty. These can include “clap offerings” and “shouts of praise.”
clap offering of praise n. As in give God a clap offering of praise. Applause as an act of worshiping or praising God.
1995 Cross Training: Praise and Worship 56 : Now let’s hear the wonderful things God is doing in our midst and give Him praise. After each praise report is read, let’s give God a clap offering of praise. At the end of this sharing time, if you feel led, lead the group in a favorite praise song. 2000 Angolite vols. 25–26 55 : St. John inmate Pastor Sidney Deloch asked the congregation to give “a clap offering of praise” to the Lord before leading them in song and prayer.
2. As in give someone a clap offering. Applause as a demonstration of public approval or appreciation of a fellow Christian.
2012 John Believers 45 : After the praise and worship, the senior pastor, also a prophet, came and introduced the guest speaker. We all gave a big clap offering, and the man of God came to the pulpit…. He acknowledged the applause. Then he raised his hands, and we were silent.

hand clap n. See various senses. For more information, see *clap offering.

1. As in give God (or the Lord) a hand clap; have a hand clap for the Lord (or for Jesus). Applause as an act of worshiping or praising God.
1998 Buller, Thornton Awesome Worship Services for Youth 32 : Clapping in American Sign Language means “praise.” In Psalm 98:8 clapping is referred to as one way creation praises God. So our hand clap will be an act of praise following each of our declarations. 1999 Gordon Teardrops from Heaven 74 : As they continued into the sanctuary, every person turned with bright eyes filled with friendliness. They didn’t act like the church folks she had heard people complain about…. The woman in the pulpit, dressed in blue jeans and a white shirt, stated, “Let us all stand and worship our Lord and Savior. Let us welcome the Holy Spirit. Give the Lord of hosts a hand clap. Hallelujah!” 1999 Strong When Praises Go Up, the Blessings Will Come Down 107 : Many times I have seen people clap to work something up, whether it is a desired emotion or an attempt to get God’s attention. Clapping can become trivialized. Maybe it is mentioned only once in the Scriptures to ensure we have some substance to our applause. We praise Him with a hand clap because He is, not because we want Him to be or to do. We praise Him with a hand clap because He is Most High, the great King over all the earth. 2000 Balmer Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey Into the Evangelical Subculture in America 74 : “You don’t need that cane anymore,” Frisby announced. “Jesus has healed you!” Then to the audience: “Give the Lord a hand clap.” 2002 Bond Community, Communitas, and Cosmos: Toward a Phenomenological Interpretation and Theology of Traditional Afro-Christian Worship 50 : Pastor Williams intones: “Give God a hand clap” at the conclusion of the selection. 2006 Marks Love Is 211 : Elder Prost walked to the podium as they sang the last verse of the song. “All right, saints. Let’s give God a hand clap.”
2. Applause as a demonstration of public approval or appreciation of a fellow Christian.
2003 Haley Blind Faith 67,68 : Reverend Tyler … stood in the pulpit wearing his black robe. He didn’t open with a scripture as usual. Today he began with an announcement…. “You know our very own Courtney just graduated from Northwestern University this year, all the way out in Chicago. Stand up, Courtney…. Fifth Baptist, give our young sister a hand-clap. We might be looking at the next CEO of one of those big companies downtown. Amen.” 2005 Lawrence Diving Appointments 184 : When she finally got up, she gave a beautiful testimony…. It was a glorious experience for her and everyone gave her a big hand-clap.
hand clap for Jesus n. As in have (or give) a hand clap (or a clap) for Jesus. Applause as an act of worshiping or praising God.
For more information, see *clap offering.
1970 Allen Born to Lose, Bound to Win: An Autobiography 12 : Brother Don Stewart opens the meeting. “Don’t you feel like you’re in Heaven?” he declares. The congregation roars, “Amen.” “Let’s have a handclap for Jesus.” The answering applause is deafening. 1971 Bach Strangers at the Door 164 : Let’s have a handclap for Jesus!” We had one and the young musicians came in with their guitars and took their places at the xylophone and piano, and we were off on an invocation of song which put the message into our hearts and voices. 1971 Streiker The Jesus Trip 73 : I had picked Hal Lindsey out of the crowd. You can always tell who the leader is. He is ten years older than anybody else, and he wears the wildest shirt. So it was with Hal. He came on strong like a used-car salesman. He was excitedly waving a magazine. “How many of you have read this week’s Time magazine?” he asked. Let’s have a clap for Jesus. This really is a really fair coverage of what really is happening.” 1982 Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA) (19 Sep.) 38 : “Let’s all praise God and love one another…. Let’s have a big handclap for Jesus.” A few respond, and Burroughs says he’s disappointed. “You’d give that big a handclap to Jerry over there when he plays the guitar,” he says. “Now let’s have a real handclap for Jesus.” This time there is more. 1983 Saturday Night XCVIII. (QQQ) 27 : “Let’s give a clap for Jesus!” he shouted, and everyone clapped and sang and spoke in tongues. 2004 Smith Strong Tower: A Daily Devotional Based on Names of the Lord 7 : The televangelist’s wife was showing off some of her fine expensive furs and diamonds for the studio audience and loudly exhorting “let’s Praise the Lord” and “how about a handclap for Jesus!” “God wants his kids to be blessed and have the very best, and we’re his kids!” 2011 New York Times (22 Jan.) C1 : On the surface Higher Ground looks like a religious movie. Characters are shown in Bible study groups, singing folk hymns and preaching (“Let’s give a hot hand clap for Jesus!”). 2011 Parks Tongues of Flame 95 : Kandinsky opened the evening meeting with “a hand-clap for Jesus.”
hand clap of praise n. Also clap of praise. See various senses. For more information, see *clap offering.
1. As in give God a hand clap (or a clap) of praise. Applause as an act of worshiping or praising God.
1982 Denning We Are One in the Lord: Developing Caring Groups in the Church 22 : The worshipers offered a handclap of praise to God. 2003 Gilmore How Would Jesus Invest? 35 : We tend to disobey even the smallest requests. Sometimes when the preacher asks a congregation to merely give God a hand clap of praise or a “yes” to the truths of the Word, some don’t do it. 2005 Carruthers, Haynes, Wright, eds. Blow the Trumpet in Zion! Global Vision and Action for the 21st-century Black Church 50 : Once genuinely devotional but behaviorally reserved congregations are “raising holy hands,” “giving God a hand clap of praise,” and reverberating to music on which one can “cut a step” (some clergy and laity actually doing so) and are deeply engaged in prayer, fasting, and studying the Word. 2005 Rousse Kairos 99 : The audience gasped and broke into a spontaneous handclap of praise for the miracle they had witnessed. 2007 Harris At Last 198 : “Good morning, Church. Give God a hand clap of praise this morning. This morning, Church, will you please turn in your Bibles to the book of Romans, chapter 12, verses 1 and 2.” 2007 Aiken Standard (SC) (18 Nov.) 3 : After emerging from Second Baptist Church and a 24-hour prayer vigil, the Rev. Doug Slaughter glanced at the 83-year-old church behind him. He asked the crowd for a hand clap of praise to God. “God has been moving mightily,” he said. “Second Baptist has a rich, rich history and this is another historic moment. God has been so good to Second Baptist.” 2008 Bolz-Weber Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television 119 : “Can somebody give God a handclap of praise!” … When I’m preaching and I feel like the congregation is not responding to me by saying Amen or laughing at my jokes, when I’m just not feelin’ the love so to speak, I’ll just tell ’em to “give the Lord some applause.” 2008 Corbin From Me to You 77 : Two of my older siblings and I were in teh room with her when she took her last breath. My oldest sister, who is an evangelist, laid the Bible on the bed beside Mama and opened it to Revelation, chapter 21. As Alice began to read, the whole atmosphere in the room began to change. The glory of God truly filled the room with brightness and a peace that is indescribable. Mama opened her eyes, lifted her hands and gave a clap of praise. 2010 Barnes Black Megachurch Culture: Models for Education and Empowerment 40 : These activities are preparation for the focus of the worship service—presentation of the Word of God by the senior pastor. As he or she rises or enters, a cacophony of applause ensues. The senior pastor instructs the congregation to “give God a hand clap of praise.” 2011 Boyce Choices of Life 142 : “I want every member of Everlasting Faith to give God a hand clap of praise.” The clap lasted for ten minutes. 2011 Norman-Bellamy Upon This Rock (Shelton Heights Series, Book 4) ch. 8 : “Let us stand, and give our Lord and Savior a hand clap of praise.” Jackson’s words brought Rocky to his feet and his focus to the pulpit. 2013 Tate The Color of Hope 64 : They launched into the chorus again, “Hold to His hand, God’s unchanging hand; Hold to His hand, God’s unchanging hand. Build your hope on things eternal; Hold to God’s unchanging hand.” Libby hadn’t sung that song in years, but the words were there. And she felt them. On her feet with the rest, she sang the chorus one last time. They ended with a hand clap of praise and took their seats.
2. As in give someone a hand clap (or a clap) of praise. Applause as a demonstration of public approval or appreciation of a fellow Christian.
2007 Harris The City of Rosetown: Sacrifices 97 : “My deacons tell me that you’re not sure what ministry you’d like to serve in yet. Well, given what your gifts and abilities are, I think we have the perfect job for you. But we’ll talk more about that later. Right now, I just want to welcome you to your new church home. Let’s give our newest member a hand clap of praise as she takes her seat.” … Everyone applauded. 2010 Guyton Fell Too Deep 160 : The pastor said, “Did we just have a proposal in church? Let’s give that young couple a hand clap of praise one more time.” 2011 Waithe Second Chance 55 : Bishop Walker turned around and gestured for Pastor Jake to come on out. “Please help me welcome our new assistant pastor, Jake L. Johnson with a hand clap of praise.” The congregation got to their feet in ovations. Assistant Pastor Jake walked over to the Bishop and hugged him before making his way to the altar. 2013 Dawn His Grace, His Mercy ch. 27 : Joining in with the claps and the praising of othe other parishioners, the Jeffries gave their newfound friends, their extended family, a joyous handclap of praise. 2014 Talley The Path After the Storm I. 151 : “Church, get ready. I say, church, get ready and join me in a hand-clap of praise to help me welcome the best pastor on this side of heaven—Reverend Jerry Baylor.” Jerry walked out as everybody stood and clapped. The reverend approached the pulpit and the spirit was high in the church.
hand clap of praise n. As in give God a hand clap of praise. Applause as an act of worshiping or praising God.
For more information, see *clap offering.
1985 Phy, ed. The Bible and Popular Culture in America 114 : Any message of substance is likely to be reduced to a few catchwords and slogans…. At the end of any Gospel musical number, … the host may want to exhort the audience to “give the Lord a hand of praise.” 2005 Carruthers, Haynes Blow the Trumpet in Zion! Global Vision and Action for the 21st-Century Black Church 50 : Once genuinely devotional but behaviorally reserved congregations are … “giving God a hand clap of praise.” 2008 Scott Product of Grace 41 : We grew up in a traditional Baptist church…. Although many of the songs were about joy, neither the choir nor congregation sounded very happy to me. Most of the time there were no smiles, no shouts, no tambourines, or even hand claps of praise. 2010 Barnes Black Megachurch Culture 40 : As [the senior pastor] rises or enters, a cacophany of applause ensues. The senior pastor instructs the congregation to “give God a hand clap of praise.”
hand praise n. Applause as an act of worshiping or praising God.
For more information, see *clap offering.
1992 Spencer Black Hymnody: A Hymnological Hist. African-American Church 157 : Either during or following the singing of such a praise song, … worshipers respond by giving the Lord a “wave offering” by means of the “lifting of hands,” or by giving “hand praise” (applause in gratitude for the Lord’s blessings). 2010 Joy Me, Myself and Him 131 : Locksie sat down and took her her jacket just as a man walked on stage with a microphone in hand and said to the congregation, “Let’s begin to give Him some hand praise.” People stood and clapped their hands. “Hallelujah,” a couple of people shouted. “Thank You, Jesus,” the woman next to Locksie clapped. Not wanting to stick out like a sore thumb, Locksie stood and began to clap. She felt silly because she had no idea why she was clapping. “Come on and stand to your feet and give our God some praise,” the man shouted. 2013 Johnson, ed. Urban God Talk: Constructing a Hip Hop Spirituality 61 : In many black religious services … worshieprs are encouraged to give God a “clap offering” or “hand praise.” This percussive gesture brings the congregation into what Asante terms a “collective generative experience.”

7 thoughts on “clap for Jesus, hand clap of praise, clap offering

  1. “Give God a hand clap of praise” is a common expression in my church circles. I have also seen speakers or vocalists try to redirect praise toward God. As a song ends or a sermon comes to a close, the person on stage suggests we “clap for Jesus” rather than applauding him or her.

    • I appreciate your comment, Clark. Excellent point about how people use this phrase when redirecting applause to the Lord. I think that’s a point that’s well worth adding to the definition I have here. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. God’s Word is clear that God has designed his people and their gatherings to be prepared, participative and responsive. For over 1000+ years the tradition is that our gatherings are mostly performance giving for a few and spectator receiving for the most. These dimensions are set in cement. God is trying to crack the cement in some places so it now allowed for God’s people to respond and participate with their hands in clapping. But what a shallow thing for a body God has designed to “speak to one another”, “spur one another”, “teach and admonish one another” and so much more. These require worshiping God Monday through Saturday. That is hard work for the heart so the leaders pander to the wealthy American ability to hired the preparation done for them. Now They can come with nothing in their heart prepared to offer the Lord and his people and still feel like they are somehow in “corporate worship”. They are a member of a “corporation” so when they are in the same room they must be worshiping. Putting their hands together in a burst of emotion feels really good. It sounds good. They guy up front feels good because the spectator/saints feel good. I it’s slow to start or not loud enough he can call for a second try at it. Does God receive this clap offering when he has designed a verbal expressive offering from each heart? He didn’t accept Cain’s offering and took Able’s. Does the clap offering show that our hearts are “far from Him”? Probably. Who is willing to put their reputation on the block in faith to point to the truth on this? I will.

  3. I do believe that clapping of hands is an act of worship and therefore any clapping directed at humans in entertainment or sport is an act of idolatry.

  4. In much of my personal experience the phrase “Clap Offering” was expressed primarily within Pentecostal and Charismatic circles. I believe that the footnotes clarified that.

    • I would also add the the Clap offering is also evidence of the effort of many Evangelicals (Pentecostals included) to sanctity the secular. The clapping referred to here mirrors the modern form of clapping which is a form of honor, appreciation and approval.

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