To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world. ~Karl Barth
Prayer is easier 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. As a child I can remember making up my own songs and monologues to God as I wandered alone in our farm’s woods, enjoying His company in my semi-solitude. I’m not sure when 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 childhood, prayer in public schools had been hushed into a mere moment of silence, and intuitively I knew silence never changed anything. The world became more and more disorderly in the 60’s and 70’s and in my increasingly indoctrinated mind, there was no prayer I could say that would make a difference either.
How wrong could I and my education be. Nothing can right the world until we are right with God through talking to Him out of our depth of need and fear. Nothing can right the world until we submit ourselves wholly, bowed low, hands clasped, eyes closed, articulating the joy, the thanks, and the petitions weighing on 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 rise up with hands clasped together calls 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.
I return to the ground its original music. It will rise out of the horizon of the grass, and over the heads of weeds, and it will rise over the horizon of men’s heads. As I age in the world it will rise and spread, and be for this place horizon and orison, the voice of its winds. I have made myself a dream to dream of its rising, that has gentled my nights. Let me desire and wish well the life these trees may live when I no longer rise in the mornings to be pleased with the green of them shining, and their shadows on the ground, and the sound of the wind in them. ~Wendell Berry from “Planting Trees”
A tree is a prayer that begins
like a small seed
falling from our lips,
tentative with need.
–a word of thanks
a moment of praise
a tear from grief
a plea for grace–
Unsure if it will land
on receptive soil
with sufficient light
to quench its dryness.
An answered prayer, like a tree,
roots burrowed deep
filling to fullness
to grow higher in
that reaches the sky,
awaiting the wind’s touch.
Our prayer, like a tree,
planted on fertile soil,
will someday yield
its gifts and blessings
of fruit and shade,
to rise beyond the horizon
and reach past our last
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. Revelation 22:21
Experiencing grace within the body of Christ is the point of Easter. This is a day to seek out our brothers and sisters as Jesus did on that Resurrection Day.
He did not remain shrouded and dead in the tomb, but rose, breathing the air of earth once again, to seek us out, call our names, walk alongside and eat with us.
Most importantly, he opened wide the hearts that had been closed in fear, confusion, and ignorance.
He makes our hearts burn within us as we contemplate the gift we were given when we deserved only punishment.