Archive for the ‘prayer’ Category

Significant Moments

December 1, 2016

11292016oruRecently, I’ve been focusing on how to seek and receive God’s direction, how to find and stay in that place where I hear his voice. What I want is to understand God’s leading and the right actions, words, or decisions for everyday situations. This can feel like instinct or intuition. But as Christians, it can be the leading of the Holy Spirit.

As nurses, we need the leading of the still, small voice of God. A simple responsiveness to God in everyday events can create significant moments.

I remember how God’s whisper created a significant moment in my life the summer after I became a nurse and I traveled from Texas to Iowa to help my grandparents move. Mom and Dad said, “When you drive through Tulsa, Oklahoma, check out the campus of Oral Roberts University. It’s beautiful!” They had wanted me to do my undergraduate work there.

I took their advice, parked the car, and walked around the ORU campus. A thought hit me to find the nursing department and see what it looked like.

I was walking down the hall of the mostly empty office area when a faculty member (the only one there!) asked what I was doing. I think she listened to the still, small voice of God and stopped to talk with me. She heard my passion for nursing and envisioned something great for my life. I had absolutely no inclination toward further education, but an hour later I was applying for the master’s program in nursing.

Two months later, I began an adventure that changed me forever!

Recently I was invited back to ORU as a featured speaker for students, faculty members and community members. I spoke about “Expecting God in Nursing” and used the story in Luke 5 about how the disciples responded to a strange request from Jesus. As they obeyed and let down their nets, they saw Jesus in a new light. It’s a great reminder of what happens when Jesus shows up and calls us to new levels of trust in him.

Hearing and responding to the still, small voice of God can create significant moments.


Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, PhD, RN
NCF National Director
Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Christian Nursing


–Excerpt from Journal of Christian Nursing, Oct/Dec 2016, p.197. Become a member of NCF and receive Journal of Christian Nursing as a member benefit throughout the year.

Childlike Prayers

May 16, 2016

5162016lewisprayerChildren can be so refreshing, open and honest! In Children’s Letters to God, a collection of children’s prayers reveals their beliefs, desires, questions, and doubts. And despite the misspelled words and grammatical mistakes, they all express hope and trust. In just a few words, one boy let God know about his feelings and what he wanted…

Dear God, I wrote you before do you remeber? Well I did what I promised. But you did not send me the horse yet. What about it?  Lewis

Lewis prayed in faith, believing and trusting that God heard his prayer. Matthew 21:22 tells us, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” We are to pray in faith, even though God’s answer may not be exactly what we asked for!

And like Lewis’ prayer, our prayers do not need correct spelling and grammar. In fact, we do not even have to express our prayers with clarity. Sometimes we can’t even find the words to express our heartfelt needs to the Lord. But we can trust that God knows what we need, what is best for us, and he just wants us to come to him.

And when we come, we can know that the Holy Spirit speaks to God for us, constantly interceding for us. And if that were not enough, we have an intercessor in heaven—Jesus!

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27

Because God knows our hearts, he knows what is best for us. But he also wants us to come to him with a pure heart. When we first acknowledge that we need Jesus’ saving grace, and we trust in his death and resurrection as payment for our sin, Christ declares that we are righteous and eternally saved.

However, in our humanness, we STILL SIN, and this sin interferes with our fellowship with Christ. We need to be honest with ourselves about our shortcomings, confess them to God and perhaps to others, if we want to enjoy intimacy with Christ.

Personal holiness is a condition of prayer throughout the Bible. James tells us that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16b). The apostle John wrote that we receive from God anything we ask because “we keep his commands and do what pleases him” (1 John 3:22). And, thankfully, the psalmist reminds us that “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry” (Psalm 34:15).

God will hear and respond to our prayers of praise and petition when we ASK in Christ’s name, ASK in abiding faith, ASK in the Spirit, and ASK from a pure heart!

–by Jane Hall, NCF National Director

What’s in a Name?

April 11, 2016

472016janeMany parents give names to their children that are unique, or “old-fashioned,” or quite common, like my name (Jane) that appeared along with Dick and Spot in my first reading book!  But behind every name is a person who is significant.

For centuries people throughout the world have revered the person and name of Jesus, even nonbelievers.  For Christians, there is more to Jesus’ name than any other name because there is power in his name! He has the immeasurable power to love and act on our behalf and to carry out his purposes.

When Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples, he told them that he would be leaving them—really leaving them. How distressed and frightened they must have felt!  But our dear Lord went on to tell them that they need not worry because they could ask him for anything in prayer. But Jesus included a specific condition for their prayers in John 14:13, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

In the Bible, the name of God is more than a name; it embodies all that God is—his character and all of his attributes. God revealed the fullness of his name to Moses at the burning bush when Moses asked for his name. God responded, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14).

When we pray in Jesus name, we are praying for God’s shalom to bring everything together in harmony. We may not know what God’s will is, but we do know that he is listening and working all of the time to bring about his perfect purposes in the world.

We can follow Jesus’ example in the Garden of Gethsemane, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39 NIV). We must surrender our desires to God’s will.

But before we even begin to pray, we must first consider why we are praying and what we are asking so that our hearts and minds will be aligned with the Father’s intentions.  Our purposes and petitions should reflect our desire to fulfill God’s will and bring him honor and glory. Asking in Jesus’ name helps us pray in ways that are consistent with the person and work of Jesus, and we are less likely to pray for self-focused or unnecessary things.

We can trust in the name of Jesus. There is no other name in the universe that holds so much love and hope for us all.

–by Jane Hall, NCF National Director

How to Pray, part 1

March 15, 2016

3152016prayAs a beginning nursing student, I wanted to know exactly how to perform nursing skills and exactly what to say to patients and to other members of the healthcare team. I was surprised to learn that, in most cases, it was far better for me to first learn why I needed to do or say certain things. First, I needed to know the primary principles to employ to give excellent nursing care.

The same is true for how we learn to live out our faith in Christ. First, we need to know God, the author of true Christian faith, and the guidelines and principles to follow as his obedient children.

Thankfully, God has given us much direction about how we should communicate with him, how we should pray. The Bible is full of examples of people praying in all different ways and at different times with hands raised up, praying out loud, and praying at all times of the day and night.

Paul explains in Ephesians 6:18 that we are to “pray always with all prayer and supplication,” meaning that we need to be flexible, eager, and ready to pray any time and in any way. As followers of Jesus, the most important aspect of our prayers is that they are all about God and our relationship with him.

In Matthew 6:5-13, Jesus gives us his model for true prayer that is not intended as a “prescription” for prayer, but as a way to humble ourselves before God. We are to ask God to meet our most basic needs for our daily health and well-being: bread, forgiveness, and guidance from evil.

The exact words that we say are not as important as the condition of our hearts and minds when we pray. We must always pray in the name of Jesus–believing that his life, death, and resurrection allows us to relate to God as our Heavenly Father, we must pray with faith that the Holy Spirit guides our prayers, and we must pray with a pure heart.

As Holy Week approaches, take some time to consider why Easter is vital to us as Christians and how we can pray and communicate more intimately with our loving Father.

May the Lord guide you into a richer, deeper conversation with Him!

–by Jane Hall, NCF National Director

Asked God for a hug lately?

February 11, 2016

2112016hugWhen my daughter was barely able to talk, she’d stretch her arms above her head, look up into our eyes, and say, “Hold you?” We knew she wanted to be held, and we usually complied. In fact, we tried to meet her every cry at that precious, helpless stage of life because we loved her deeply — and still do!

Just like a parent responds naturally to a child’s cry, the Bible assures us that God responds to our cries and petitions. Our prayers not only give God glory and align our hearts and minds with his sovereign plan, but they are also instrumental in bringing about his plan.

In 2 Kings 20, the prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah that he would die from his illness. The king responded to this news by pleading with God to spare his life, and God gave him fifteen more years.

Did God change his overall purposes for King Hezekiah, the people of Judah or all of his creation when he answered his prayer? No! We can learn from Hezekiah’s example that God can respond to our prayers and control all circumstances and events without changing his sovereign purpose. God not only commands us to pray, he also promises to answer our prayers as part of his holy plan. Our prayers are the means that he has designed to fulfill his ordained ends.

God is calling you and me to offer him our petitions now so that we can share in his great plan!

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-10 NIV)

These Scripture verses are an invitation to confidently approach our heavenly Father who always holds us close to his loving heart. As we grow into his character, we prayerfully seek ways to become more involved in his kingdom-building work in our world.

Jane Hall, NCF National Director

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

Starting the Year with Prayer

August 23, 2013

Sometimes we forget how much we need the prayer support of others.

Praying for campusesLast Monday was InterVarsity’s Day of Prayer.  We prayed by name for the NCF faculty advisors and student leaders of our chapters. Then we sent each one an email, “NCF is praying for you.”  The response was overwhelming.

“More than 50 NCF faculty advisors responded right away, expressing their appreciation,” said Bonnie Hann, NCF Campus Liaison. “Many of them said it was their first day back on campus and they needed a word of encouragement to begin the semester. Some requested additional prayer for their demanding roles as educators and as faculty mentors for NCF students.”

One faculty advisor in Texas replied, “I have felt your prayers today because my first day back was great (unlike other years).  Praise God for your sensitive spirit to us.”

“Today was our first day of faculty workshop week — I felt God’s special hand in my day!” wrote Barb (OR).

Another faculty advisor in Tennessee wrote, “I just had the opportunity to read this email today, after a very hard week, and it meant so much to me! God hears prayers. He is teaching me how to trust him in everything.”

Will you join us in praying for educators and students who are part of God’s work on campus?

Pray for . . .

. . . students to walk more deeply with the Lord and invite others into their NCF community.

. . . new student outreach events which are critical in the weeks ahead.

. . . faculty advisors to embody the fruit of the Spirit in every interaction and relationship.

. . . many new students to hear about how a relationship with Christ can make a difference in their lives and in their careers as nurses.

. . . new leaders with a vision for outreach at schools where seniors have graduated and left a leadership vacuum.

. . . new faculty advisors and students who are starting new leadership roles and want a bigger vision to reach their school of nursing for Christ.

It is exciting to see how God answers our prayers.

Christian Deans Gather for Worship and Prayer

October 17, 2012

Christian Dean FellowshipOn October 28, 2012, many of God’s chosen leaders in nursing education will gather in Washington, DC for the semiannual meeting of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The Christian Deans Fellowship (CDF) creates an opportunity for mutual encouragement through shared worship of Jesus. Though not an official organization, CDF is permitted to distribute meeting invitations because participants have made very positive comments on their evaluations. Membership is defined by those who gather for worship. Over the years the volunteer convener of the CDF has changed, but the focus has remained loving Jesus and seeking His guidance for nursing education. How well I remember the joy of attending the CDF gathering the Fall 2010.

I arrived early for the 7:45am time of worship, prayer and fellowship. The 25 chairs were already full with standing room only. The hotel staff labored to wedge more chairs into the room as eager participants kept coming. The room filled with 40 deans and associates, half of them from secular institutions where they faithfully bear witness to Jesus in their schools of nursing. Nearly half were first-time attenders to this worship gathering of Christian Deans Fellowship.

The 90 minutes of prayer and of singing are indelibly printed on my memory. These academic leaders did not ask prayer for themselves; they specifically requested prayer for faculty with illnesses and students with serious concerns. After each request was lifted in prayer, all affirmed their confidence in one Lord by singing Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus and There’s Just Something About That Name.

What joy filled my heart as I reflected on the hope represented by these forty men and women who are following Jesus in their role as leaders in nursing education. Please pray for at least 30 returning registrants who are eagerly anticipating the upcoming worship gathering. This year, for the first time, invitations were included in the program packet to all registrants so we anticipate that others will join in this God-honoring experience of worship, praise and prayer.

Sandra L. Jamison, Ph.D., RN
NCF Volunteer for Faculty and Graduate Student Ministries

Why Do You Want to Attend Urbana?

October 5, 2012

1042012stlouisAs I processed a scholarship application for Urbana 12 this week, I knew that I had to share what one student wrote in response to the question, “Why do you want to attend Urbana?”.

When I was younger, a missionary came to my church and spoke about helping others in the mission field. I remember thinking at that time how amazing it would be to travel around the world and help others the way Jesus did, by loving and healing them. Over time, that passion I had for a future in missionary work diminished; I was caught up in the world and why it didn’t seem possible because of my family, my lack of money, and  because of doubt in my relationship with God.

Since coming to college and participating in a true Christian community, I have witnessed my life continuously being transformed through my ever-strengthening relationship with God. In the past several months God has begun to ignite the flame that I first had when I heard about missions as a teenager, making me realize that with God, everything is possible!

 Finding NCF has been an answer to my prayers. I have been asking God for quite some time to show me where he wants me to go and what he wants me to do short-term (in college) and long-term. God has put a passion for nursing in my heart for a reason and I think this is it: He wants me to spread His love and His word to the world, while practicing what I love. Urbana will give me the perfect opportunity to begin to understand and continue to grow in my passion for missionary work as well as learn about opportunities to serve God’s Kingdom on earth.

Wow!  This gives me goose bumps!  These kinds of stories reinforce why I love ministry with nursing students.

Please continue to pray that the students God wants to be at the conference will obtain the funds and resources they need to attend. Pray also for the speakers as they prepare their talks, for the worship leaders who set the tone, and for the InterVarsity staff who are diligently working on all of the behind-the-scenes tasks to pull off an event of this magnitude.

NCF scholarships are available to help with Urbana 12 registration costs. Email Bonnie for more information.

–from Bonnie Hann, NCF staff

World Student Day – October 19, 2012

September 18, 2012

IFES World Student Day

19 October 2012
One day.
One world.
One thousand people, praying for
one million students.

Will you join us to pray for students in every nation? Sign up to be part of World Student Day at

Our vision is to see one million students actively involved in IFES* movements by 2020. Students built into communities of disciples, transformed by the gospel and impacting the university, the church and society for the glory of Christ. This  year we want to recruit one thousand people to join us on 19 October, to pray for students in every nation.

Will you join us?

*IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students) is our partner in ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and NCF.