Sunday, October 14, 2018

Called to Pray

by Sarah Van Diest @SarahVanDiest

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” Ephesians 6:18.
 “I feel a great disturbance in the Force.” 

Ha! I know I’m quoting fiction, Star Wars to be exact, but it makes me think. There are days, in fact specific moments within days, where out of the blue a deep sense of sorrow fills my soul. It is as if, like in Star Wars, a great catastrophe hit and my heart felt the blow. Have you ever felt that? 

From my egocentric, Western perspective on life and the universe, I assume this sensation has to do with me, myself alone. I assume there is something happening in my personal world that needs my personal attention. Maybe I have an undiscovered trauma from a forgotten past that was triggered by a conversation or a smell. Maybe I’m being prompted by the Holy Spirit to confess a sin, or possibly to pick up the phone and call a friend in pain and encourage them. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m hungry. *Snort.*

But what if there is another, larger, more expansive option. What if the sudden overflow of grief comes from a more cosmic connection than my pragmatically educated mind is willing to entertain? What if I really am more joined with the earth and its inhabitants than I believe, and the cries of the masses and of creation are what I feel in those out-of-the-blue blues? 

What do you say? Are you thinking I’ve lost my mind or am dancing with the occult, or at least with George Lucas? Perhaps both of those are true, but what if that’s not the case? What if our Father made us this way and he created our innermost parts to be in communion and in concert with one another and all he created? 

I suppose I’ve always believed this in some sense and wanted it to be true. I’ve seen the way the Father made his creation and how it all works in chorus to lift praise to him. The heavens cry out his glory. The earth groans under the curse, eager to be free of it and at full liberty to bring him praise. Can’t we enter in with their worship? Are we so very different that we would be excluded from their congregational praise? I believe we can and do join in. And if we can join together with the whole of creation to praise him, could there not also be a sense of communal sorrow which we may experience? 

This thought has teeth for me because it causes me to rethink how I interpret those sudden moments of grief. This thought calls me to look outward to the many who live and breathe on this planet and lift them up in prayer, and to allow their sorrow to penetrate, so my participation might lessen their burden, if such a thing is possible. Instead of turning inward, introspectively digging to see what personal issue I might have, though there are times that is needed, this thought calls me to forget myself in the best possible sense, and to intercede for others, even for creation itself. 

There is no doubt the earth suffers for now under the governance of malevolent forces. Blessedly, we also know Satan’s power is limited and finite. We do not side with the underdog when we align ourselves with Jesus, but with the victor. This does not mean, though, that there is not pain and great misery now. Perhaps our hearts were made in such a way as to have a sensitivity to and a receptivity for those sorrows erupting from the vastness that is creation so that we might bear the burden together. 

We are part of creation, after all.  

The next time you feel suddenly overwhelmed with angst or sadness, and you don’t know for whom your heart aches, think on this idea. Perhaps our spirits can join together in prayer and lessen the weight those hearts are carrying. Perhaps this is what the Father intended. Perhaps this is Christ in us working to make all things new and to be hope in the darkness. The next time this happens…

“…I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men”
 1 Timothy 2:1.


Sarah Van Diestis a writer and editor. She’s the mother of two boys, stepmother to three more, and wife to David. Sarah wrote this book as letters to a dear friend whose life was turning upside down. She’s done this for years for numerous friends and will continue to, Lord willing. It’s her gift to them. It’s hope written down.


  1. Of course we are all connected, and all Called to Pray my dear friend. The majority of us are all a part of one body; the body of Christ. I too believe the Holy Spirit somehow connects us with others members in our family. Why else do our hearts cry out for others when no physical relationship exists. I hurt when you hurt Ms. Sarah. I fear when you fear. Not because of any human relationship we share, but because we share a common heart, for God. God's blessings for this beautiful reminder to pray.

    1. Thank you, Jim! I love how you phrase things!! So well said.

      Blessings and hope,