Why We Should Pray: part 2

October 8, 2015

David's PrayerAs Christians, we all know that prayer is important. Sometimes we pray; sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we pray fervently; sometimes we pray half-heartedly. We all need help.

This series on prayer begins with a core question, Why Should We Pray?

Short answer: God expects us to pray, to offer him praises and to let him know our needs. The Bible includes countless examples of God’s people offering prayers of all kinds.

One of my favorite examples is King David’s prayer of praise when the people of Israel brought all the supplies needed to build the temple in Jerusalem. David had a long history of talking to God, and he knew that God expected him to offer praise, confession, and to ask for what he needed.

God’s word commands us to pray. And if we don’t pray we are neglecting God’s expectation and his command. A prominent Bible teacher and author wrote that when we do not pray, we sin. Ouch! That seems like a rather harsh judgment to make about a failure on our part to do what God asks.

But isn’t that what sin is: missing the mark and falling short of what God expects of us?

Knowing that not praying is hurting our relationship with God can even make it harder for us to pray. Thankfully, the Lord knows what we are thinking and feeling about our reluctance or failure to pray consistently for all things!

When we start piling up the reasons why we do not pray and how we have disappointed God, we can do a quick review of God’s attributes to remind ourselves of who God is. Remember, he is omniscient, all-loving, and all-forgiving. When we place our faith in Christ for forgiveness of our sins, he forgives us of all our sin and gives us the gift of eternity with him.

God is just waiting for us to start a conversation with him. Why not start now?

Jane Hall, NCF National Director

Special Announcement from Jane Hall

October 5, 2015

Jane HallFriends, the time has come to plan for my retirement as the NCF National Director in June 2016 at the close of this ministry year.

It has been a joy to serve in the Director’s role. Be assured that my passion for the purposes and people of NCF remain unchanged as I anticipate continuing to serve in a volunteer capacity.

Please pray for us in the search for the next NCF Director! Pass the word along to those who may be interested in the position and contact NCF if you know of a good candidate to lead NCF forward.

We are also searching for a Student Ministries Director to lead staff and students in planting and growing NCF ministry on campus. And additional nurse scholars are needed to assist the Journal of Christian Nursing editorial team in producing every issue.

These are critical roles that require spiritual maturity and a passion for ministry that brings the Good News of Jesus to students, nurses, and the profession. We covet your prayers for God to provide the right people for these positions and for the prayer and financial support that they will need to fulfill these roles.

We know that NCF is in God’s hands, now and always, we look forward to how he will provide for all that we need to see students and nurses transformed as they follow Jesus.

To God be the glory!

Students Today, Nurses Tomorrow

October 1, 2015

HollyI love meeting nursing students with courageous faith, leadership skills, and a big vision for what God can do in their school of nursing—students like Holly. NCF students graduate with more than a nursing degree. Through their NCF experiences, they are strengthened in their faith and equipped to give compassionate, holistic care, and to help others know that Jesus can meet their deepest spiritual needs.

Holly inspires me. Last year Holly was a nursing student who was eager to start a small group Bible study for nursing majors. She shared her vision in a YouTube video and won a grant from Nurses Christian Fellowship to help start a new NCF group at Longwood University (VA).

“God gave me a vision to empower student nurses to have personal experiences with Jesus, so that when we take care of our patients, families, and communities, we’re doing it for God’s glory,” Holly said. She started a Bible study and invited other nursing students, including the whole freshman class, to explore how faith and nursing intersect.

Holly longs for her peers in school to intimately know God’s love for them so they are prepared to give compassionate spiritual care as nurses. “Nurses enter into brokenness every shift they work. Every physical, psychological, and emotional ailment has a spiritual component that God wants to enter into,” Holly states. “It’s my vision for patients to experience God’s love, his healing, and his grace through nurses.”

Holly graduated in spring 2015 and started her first job as a nurse, but her bold commitment to God is still having an effect on her school’s nursing students. This year’s leaders are growing in their faith and inviting other nursing students to be a part of their caring community.

We are praying for more students like Holly who have a big, bold vision for what God can do. It’s an exciting season!

Jane Hall, MS, RN, is the National Director of Nurses Christian Fellowship.

Please partner with NCF to equip today’s nursing students for God’s work as nurses tomorrow!

Rejoicing in God’s Work on Campus

September 29, 2015

I have a front row seat to see what God is doing on campus among nursing students—and it’s so exciting! These are just a few of the stories I’ve heard since the beginning of the semester:

  • Katrina FountainThe NCF Faculty Advisor at Southeastern Louisiana University led students in a prayer walk around campus that ended in silent prayer and reflection at the Hurricane Katrina memorial fountain honoring those who died. It was August 29th, the 10th anniversary of the natural disaster that affected their area so deeply. Students were very moved by the prayer experience.
  • There were 65 nursing students who came to the first NCF meeting at the University of Missouri (Mizzou).
  • A new nursing student with no faith background attended an NCF outreach event and said one of her goals in college is to learn what Christianity is about. She then came to the NCF Bible study and was excited to see how scripture relates to nursing practice.
  • A faculty member, a nurse in the community, and an RN to BSN student all contacted NCF independently about starting NCF ministry at the Medical University of South Carolina. There were 24 nursing students who signed up for a Bible study and 10 came to the first meeting.
  • A new graduate wrote on a Facebook page for nursing students about a time she failed a class needed to graduate and went to God with her anguish and disappointment. After retaking the class and passing, she could look back and see God’s plan in it all. We commented on her post, letting student nurses know about NCF resources that can strengthen their faith when discouraged.
  • An InterVarsity staff team did a prayer walk to start a new chapter at Western Nevada College. A week later I was contacted by a nursing student about how to start an NCF Bible study there, and I put her in touch with the campus ministers who had been praying for mission-minded students at that school.

Rejoice with us in God’s healing love and power in the lives of nursing students so far this year. Please pray that new NCF groups will take root and flourish as vibrant communities that witness to the grace and truth of Jesus.

Bonnie Hann, RN, BSN, BS-Missionary Nursing
NCF Campus Liaison

I Am A Nurse

September 18, 2015

StethoscopeThis is my stethoscope. It was a surprise gift from my children and husband soon after I was accepted into nursing school. They bought me a top of the line with great ratings and a stiff price tag. At the time it seemed too much to me, a soon-to-be nursing student. Now I wear it every shift I work.

This new weight of responsibility reminded me of that feeling when I brought my first baby home. Am I ready for this? Can I do this and do it well? That first night, I awoke in the quiet darkness just before I heard my baby girl’s newborn voice just starting to let her need be known. I was instinctively alert to her need. That night, I felt like a mother for the first time.

Now, as a new nurse, I was asking the same questions. Am I ready for this? Can I do this and do it well?

I clearly remember a night soon after I came off orientation when I was taking a team of patients alone. I was so nervous. My patient was a tiny little lady admitted for kidney issues and dehydration. She was receiving IV fluids and was scheduled for tests to find out what was going on inside her delicate body. Around 2:00 am, I noticed she was more restless. Her heart rate was slightly elevated. I checked her pulse and listened to her lungs.

Instantly, I knew what was happening. I could hear the change in her lungs from my assessment at the beginning of the shift. Her weak heart could not handle the fluids that had been ordered and her lungs were beginning to back up with fluid. I heard the tiny crackling sound with my stethoscope.

I immediately turned off the IV pump, sat her upright, and encouraged her to cough. I monitored her closely, documenting the changes and validating my decision in the chart.

If I had simply followed orders, my patient could have been in respiratory distress or developed pneumonia by the time her doctor did rounds the next day.

Despite my totally new, totally scared, totally intimidated brand-new nurse status, I knew then that my training had prepared me to not only assess and advocate for my patients, but to potentially save their life.

That night, I know that I was a nurse.

I still have so much to learn. An experienced cardiac nurse colleague of mine recently told me that she learns something new every single day. Part of why I love nursing is the opportunity to never stop learning and getting better.

Why? Because I love my patients. There is something incredibly intimate and vulnerable about each person who is my patient. The responsibility and privilege is something I take very seriously.

I am a nurse. I wear a stethoscope. I will be listening.

~Lisa Johnson

Why should we pray?

September 11, 2015

PrayIf God is sovereign, immeasurably powerful and controls everything, why should we pray?

If you’ve struggled with this, you’re not alone. Many godly Christians wrestle with prayer and question prayer’s effectiveness in their lives. Where do we turn when we need help?

Scripture tells us that nothing is too hard for God (Jeremiah 32:27). He sees everything (Matthew 10:29) and he is working all the time to make all things work for his good, according to his plans (Romans 8:28). As the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians, it is God’s sovereignty itself that gives us the boldness to pray because we have “access with confidence through faith in him” (3:12).

Christian literature is full of information about prayer: why pray, how to pray, the benefits or prayer, etc. But actually making prayer one of our regular spiritual practices takes more than information; it takes motivation, effort, and discipline!

Perhaps the first thing we should consider about why we should pray is that God has commanded us to pray. Prayer is not optional for those who want to walk with him throughout their lives.

It is not a mere suggestion that we pray; it is spelled out very clearly in God’s Word. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18).

God clearly tells us to pray even though we cannot fathom why and how our prayers fit into his plans, his eternal rule and his Kingdom-building work.

Take a moment to reflect on your prayer life. Is prayer like an after-thought, or do you engage in prayer regularly or often? Do you really enjoy praying or is it a tiresome ritual? What is the focus of your prayers: praise and gratitude, your needs, the needs of others, or something else?

Let us embrace the truth that not only do we want to enjoy God’s company through our prayers, but he has told us to pray for all things at all times because he cares for us!

Jane Hall, NCF National Director

Shut In and Roaming Free

August 31, 2015

GateWe often think of the stages of grief as only applicable to a death. However, often patients who have been given a potentially disabling or terminal diagnosis go through the same stages of grief as they come to terms with the changes they will face in life.

Recently InterVarsity president Alec Hill was diagnosed with myelodysplasia and is currently undergoing a bone marrow transplant. As he prepared for this debilitating procedure, he wrote, “In the third century, Tertullian penned the following words from prison. Little did he realize the impact they would have on this cancer patient nearly 1800 years later:

Call it not prison but the place of retirement.
The body is shut in, but all is open to the spirit;
it may roam abroad on the way to God…
The leg does not feel the chain if the mind is in heaven.”

Changing our perspective and coming to a place of healthy acceptance can be quite a journey. How can we assist patients through the spiritual angst of this process? What types of spiritual assessment and interventions can you use to assist your patients as they adapt to new diagnoses?

Please join us in praying for Alec Hill’s complete healing.

Partnering with Nursing Faculty

August 28, 2015

Nurse educators have limitless opportunities to influence the knowledge base and character of future leaders in nursing.

In many nursing schools, Faculty Advisors play a crucial role in providing spiritual mentoring, campus recognition, and stability for NCF student chapters across the country.

Nurses Christian Fellowship partners with faculty members who are God’s “salt and light” in many schools of nursing. NCF provides networking with other faculty, encourages the pursuit of Christian scholarship, and offers support and spiritual inspiration for educators in their significant work with nursing students.

If you’re a nurse educator, thank you for investing in the next generation of Christian nurses. Learn more about what NCF offers to encourage you in your vital role in academia.

Last Words from Hospice

August 21, 2015

Last Words

A wise man once said, “The best education in the world is at the bedside of the dying.” As hospice nurses, we are blessed, indeed, to observe such miracles from those who have one foot through heaven’s gate!

Spirituality is an important component for all members of the hospice interdisciplinary team, as we each visit the patient and family at different intervals. In this respect, our roles often overlap due to timing and the situation. A chaplain may note the need for more pain control, just as the nurse may be privy to the most intimate responses from those souls who are knocking at death’s door.

End-of-life care is the one specialty where the staff universally believes in a hereafter, and a creator. We offer honesty and authenticity, without proselytizing. We respect, without judgement, the belief of the patient and the family. Witnessing people’s transitions is so faith-affirming that most hospice nurses find the work more of a calling than a career.

Here are a few last words that we have either heard ourselves, or were told to us from reliable sources:

  • “There is a long line. It isn’t my turn yet. My angel will wait with me. Her name….Gloria. She says her name is Gloria.”
  • “God has such beautiful flowers in Heaven.”
  • “Gertrude has grown into the most beautiful young woman.” Gertrude was a daughter who had died as a toddler.
  • “When they were resuscitating me, I saw everyone from above, like I was a fly on the ceiling. The music in heaven is like none that you have ever heard. Soooo beautiful!”
  • “When I was so deeply asleep, I met a little four-year-old girl there. She was also in a coma.”
  • “Do you know why I am still here? God’s waiting room is full. But I saw Harvey Miller! I didn’t know he had died!”
  • “Peaches is back. (The dog had died.) He is running around my recliner, like old times.”
  • “I am going to be OK! I’m going to LOVE it! The girl across the hall, the one like me, says I’m going to love it in heaven.” (The girl who had occupied that room had died two years earlier.)

What a privilege it is to hear these thrilling statements from our diverse, home-going souls. It is confirmation that the Scriptures are true:

“God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

“However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived, the things God has prepared for those who love him’” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2)

These remarkable transitions through Heaven’s Gate are a welcome reminder of what is on the other side.

–by Lorna Bell RN, CHPN, in collaboration with Barbara Cliff, RN, PhD, CHPCA

Excerpts and stories used with permission. For more uplifting end-of-life stories, see Even More Happy Endings, by Barbara Cliff & Lorna Bell.

Our Nursing Uniform

August 20, 2015

Paul, the writer of Ephesians, was imprisoned in Rome and surrounded by Roman soldiers. He used the constant presence of a soldier’s uniform as a metaphor for a Christian soldier’s battle armor (Ephesians 6:11-17). Like a soldier, a Christian’s armor contains a belt, breastplate, sandals, shield, helmet and sword. As we put on our nursing uniform and prepare to fight disease, so we also need to ready ourselves for spiritual warfare and understand each article of armor God gives us.

The Belt of Truth

The first piece of our outfit is the belt of truth which holds our armor together and is foundational to our faith (Ephesians 6:14). Jesus prayed in John 17:17, “Set them apart in truth, for you are truth.” This simple, yet profound, statement was included in Jesus’ prayer for the disciples and us. For not only is the Bible true, but God and scripture is Truth, meaning without error and never changing. Truth is what God says, and we have what God says (accurately, but not exhaustively) in the Bible.

In contrast, Satan would have us believe his lies and the lies of the world (John 8:44; Revelation 12:9). Whether it is incorrect facts about the character of God, the divinity of Christ, or the workings of the Holy Spirit, Satan would have us doubt, be misinformed or, worse, uninformed of Truth! Don’t forget, Satan can also twist scripture to deceive and confuse us (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Jesus’ temptation found in Luke 4:1-13 is an excellent example of Satan’s misuse of scripture.

We fasten our belt of truth to our nursing uniform by memorizing scripture and Bible study (Psalm 119:105). Thus we are equipped to discern the storms of mistruths found in the world.

Here is my prayer for you from 2 Thessalonians 3:3-5: Our Lord is faithful to strengthen you and protect you from the evil one while directing your heart toward his love and the endurance of Christ.

Breastplate of Righteousness

A breastplate covers and protects our vital internal organs and is a necessary component to our nursing uniform. This breastplate isn’t just a metal or physical protection, for our breastplate is righteousness. Satan loves to taunt us with our shortcomings, human desires, and anything that causes us to look at the depravity of our soul. This is true—we are depraved human beings—. But we are righteous through Christ’s payment (Hebrews 9:11-14). Our true shield of righteousness is the blood of the cross that has cleansed us (Ephesians 6:14; Hebrews 9:22).

Satan wants us cower in fear and shame. In contrast, we stand holy and pure before God, for he sees us through the blood lens of Christ. When we beat ourselves up because of sin, or try to “work” to be holy, we are playing into Satan’s hand. When we judge others for their sin, then we have forgotten the basic truth of righteousness that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (John 3:17; Romans 3:23).

Our breastplate is a shining, holy assurance radiating from Christ which permeates through us, bringing a warm welcoming grace to patients, families, and colleagues (Revelation 1:13-15; Exodus 34:29).

Gospel Sandals

After we fasten the belt of truth and attach the breastplate of righteousness, we are now ready to secure the gospel of peace to our feet (Ephesians 6:15). These unique shoes or sandals are strong, sturdy and fortified with the message of Christ (Matthew 10:5-13).  Jesus did not come to judge or cause war or conflict (John 12:47). Instead, he brought healing, peace and forgiveness. This is the peaceful message we fasten to our feet (Acts 10:36).

One way to change shoes is by not allowing our minds and hearts to be absorbed by stress, anxiety, or fear. All of these emotions and responses come from a spirit of fear and not the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7). These are also emotions and thoughts that Satan capitalizes on.

I am reminded of the children’s story, “Chicken Little,” who has something fall on her head, then runs in a panic yelling, “The sky is falling!” She runs to all her animal friends, Henny Penny, Turkey Lurkey, Goosey Loosey and others. Together they go to warn the King. Depending on the version, the animals either hide in a cave, never warning the King, or they warn the King who explains to Chicken Little and her friends about the large acorns falling from the trees.

Obviously, Chicken Little and her friends forgot their “sandals of peace” and the promises of Christ (Philippians 4:7).

Here is my prayer for you from 1 Thessalonians 3:3-5: Our Lord is faithful to strengthen you and protect you from the evil one while directing your hearts toward his love and the endurance of Christ. Amen.

–By Carrie Dameron, etc.

Carrie will continue her devotional series with more blog posts on “Our Nursing Uniform.”


Carrie Dameron, MSN, RNBC, who is a regular contributor for Nurses Christian Fellowship International and Journal of Christian Nursing. She provides resources for Christian nursing on her blog http://blog.carriedameron.com/.


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