Beginning an Uprising



Whatever happens. Whatever
what is is is what I want.
Only that. But that.
~Galway Kinnell “Prayer”


To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.
~Karl Barth


Prayer is easiest for the youngest among us.  It can be amazingly spontaneous for kids — an outright exclamation of joy, a crying plea for help, a word of unprompted gratitude.

I’m not sure at what age I began to silence myself out of self-conscious embarrassment, but I stayed silent for many years, unwilling to put voice to the prayers that rattled in my head.  In my 1960’s childhood, prayer in public schools had been hushed into a mere moment of silence, and intuitively I knew silence has never changed anything.

Nothing can upright this tipped-over disordered world until we are right with God, talking to Him out of our depth of need and fear.  Nothing can upright the world until we submit ourselves wholly, bowed low, hands clasped, eyes closed, articulating the joy, the thanks, and the needs filling our hearts.

An uprising is possible when a voice comes alive, unashamed, un-selfconscious, rising up from within us, uttering words that beseech and thank and praise.  To kneel down is to rise up with hands clasped together, calling upon a power needing no weapons, only words, to overcome and overwhelm the shambles left of our world.

Nothing can be more victorious
than the Amen,
our Amen,
at the end.
So be it and so shall it be.

Amen, and Amen again.


…the room was filled by a presence that in a strange way was both about me and within me like a light or warmth. I was overwhelming possessed by someone who was not myself.  And yet, I felt more myself than ever before.  I was filled with intense happiness and almost unbearable joy as I had never known before or never known since.  And overall, there was a deep sense of peace and security and certainty.
~C. S. Lewis

portrait of Dan’s mom, Emma Gibson, praying, by granddaughter Sara Lenssen

7 thoughts on “Beginning an Uprising

  1. Breathtaking.
    Thank you.
    Indeed: “Nothing can be more victorious than the Amen.”

    A question:
    From what source/book/essay
    was the Lewis quote derived?
    Was it “Surprised by Joy”?
    Thank you again.



  2. Amen. Disgusting as I often am, I remind myself to honestly praise Him, in case my others forget to. We can always at least do that.


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