I came across this tweet from Sen Rob Portman from Ohio, referring to the death of Otto Warmbier,

His passing today is a loss for Ohio and for all of us. Jane and I are lifting up the Warmbier family in our prayers at this difficult time.

I have tried both the Dictionary.com and Collins dictionary, but the closest meaning of this phrase I could find is 'raise up, hoist'. But I think it's somehow off the mark in the mentioned context, as we can't literally raise up people in the prayer. Unless it means figuratively to 'hoist' people to heaven, which I can find no source to bear out. Therefore, I was curious about people's take on this question.

  • 2
    The clause you should be looking up is 'lift up in prayer'. So, holding up to God by praying for them. – marcellothearcane Jun 20 '17 at 19:36
  • Part of the liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer is: Priest: Lift up your hearts. People: We lift them up to the Lord. – Xanne Jun 20 '17 at 20:14
  • In Psalms, lift up is originally more like carrying [Psalm 121: I will lift up my eyes to the hills]. We are carrying Otto's family high up in our minds as we pray for them. Thus, we lift the wishes spiritually to the heavens for immediate receipt and consolation, for the unimaginable loss of a child. – Yosef Baskin Jun 20 '17 at 20:34
  • The OED gives a rare or obsolete meaning of 'lift' as ' To bear, support.', it is possible that, what with the King James version etc, ecclesiastical use tends to the old school. – Spagirl Jun 21 '17 at 10:07

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