“I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” 1 Timothy 2:8
There are conditions that govern the activity called prayer. One condition is that we are to lift up “holy hands.” We are not now concerned about the question of posture in prayer, nor to indicate that the Jews generally stood and held up their hands to God when they prayed. We shall not tarry with the fact that it was a Jewish custom to wash their hands before they took part in an act of worship. That was merely the external symbol used to emphasize the principle that the apostle is anxious to stress.
The clean hands, the “holy hands,” are indicative of and represent a holy character. That must ever be the first question in any approach to God. “Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). “Thou [God] art of purer eyes than to behold evil” and cannot “look on iniquity” (Habakkuk 1:13). There is nothing that is so utterly contrary to the whole teaching of the Bible as the assumption that anyone at any time without any conditions whatsoever may approach God in prayer. Indeed, the first effect of sin, and the main result of the Fall, was to break the communion that obtained between God and man. Man, by sin, has forfeited his right approach to God, and indeed were he left to himself he never would approach God. But God in His wondrous grace has made a way for man to approach Him. That is the explanation of all the teaching concerning offerings and sacrifices in the Old Testament, as it is also the explanation of the ceremony of the Tabernacle and the Temple and the Aaronic priesthood. Without these things men could not approach God. We can commune with Him only in this way and according to His dictates. There is no access otherwise. – Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones