Ps.47:1 – Clap your hands, all you peoples;
Shout to God with a voice of joy.
I love the connection I feel to the outpourings of the Spirit that took place over the last one hundred and twenty years. One of the ministers who helped form me into the minister I am today was Dick Mills. Brother Mills was the connection for me to the revivals going back all the way to Azusa Street. His grandmother started a mission in a former bar that was connected to Azusa Street. Dick’s mother was a songwriter and had played piano for Aimee Semple McPherson. Brother Mills also participated in the healing revival, the prophetic movement, the charismatic renewal, and the outpouring in the 1990’s. Brother Mills had an unusual ability to reject the strange stuff and embrace the real. I believe that came from his association with Sister Aimee’s Foursquare Gospel preaching in his youth. One of the characteristics of these Pentecostal outpourings is clapping your hands and shouting for joy. Here is a word study from Dick Mills on clapping.
“clap, taqa‘; To clatter, clang, sound, blow (trumpets), clap, strike. This verb occurs more than 65 times. “Strike” may be the truest one-word definition; “sound” is also a possibility. Taqa‘ describes pitching a tent or fastening a nail, probably due to the striking of the hammer used for both tasks. In other references, taqa‘ describes blowing a trumpet or sounding an alarm. Thus taqa‘ indicates energy and enthusiasm. Here all nations are commanded to clap their hands and shout triumphantly to God. Formalistic religion seeks to discourage this kind of worship, although God has built into the human being an almost instinctive urge to clap and shout when victory is experienced.”
The church my family attended growing up was unfamiliar with clapping and shouting in church. The only display of clapping I remember was when the pastor announced someone had agreed to pay for the broken air conditioner. That was the only clapping I remember in that church. When I was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit in the 1970’s I was suddenly thrown into a whole different atmosphere. There was shouting for joy, playing of tambourines, an occasional dancer, and of course there was plenty of clapping of the hands.
Why do we clap? A beautiful piece of music, an announcement of good news (like that air conditioner), an unusual athletic achievement; all of these things bring spontaneous clapping. When you perceive God’s greatness and His mighty works you will be clapping too.