NCFI Cares: S for Skill


Using the PRAYERWORKS acrostic we have explored simple ways to enrich our practice and our profession through prayer, as well as a reminders to pray for and with our colleagues. For this devotion we use the final S to remind us to approach praying with our patients with Skill. Originally when I created the acrostic, I used the word Sensitivity, which is important. At the same time, the more I teach, share and discuss spiritual care, I believe Skill is a better term and encompasses sensitivity.

Myself and other nurses on the teaching team for The Art and Science of Spiritual Care through NCFI include the many steps of implementing prayer as part of our nursing care: a complete assessment that includes whether or not our patient’s use prayer as part of their spiritual life; a discussion/teaching on intercessory prayer; exploring the nurse’s comfort with praying various Christian prayers; and then practice praying with a peer using our simple model. As you can see these many steps require skill and sensitivity to explore prior to praying with a patient.

We can rest assured that Jesus, our High Priest intercedes for our patients and that the great Advocate assists our patients in praying (Hebrews 7:25, Romans 8:26). There are times when prayer is the best nursing action. When it is isn’t, we can reach out with kindness, caring, humility and grace to be the hands and heart of our Lord (Colossians 3:12).

Explore all the devotions in PRAYERWORKS


NCFI CARES: K is for Kingdom


K is for Kingdom

Jesus’ final prayer with his disciples included all Christian’s throughout the ages. He says, “I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me…” (John 17:20). These eternal words remind us that we are part of the larger body of believers. We are not just individual Christians who attend a church, belong to a denomination, nor connect through an international ministry, like NCFI. Instead all Christians throughout time are connected through Christ for the purpose of building the Kingdom. Verse 21 & 23 of John 17, says “I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me.” In other words, the world looks to the unity of Christianity as a testimony of God’s purpose in sending Christ. This gives me pause for thought. For the unity of Christianity is not very cohesive. Thus, I agree with E.M. Bounds response to Jesus prayer in John 17 and wrote the following edict:

Pray for God’s people, for their unity, sanctification, and glorification. How the subject of their unity pressed upon Jesus! Today’s walls of separation, EMbounds prayeralienations, riven circles of God’s family, warring tribes of ecclesiastics—how He is torn, bleeds, and suffers anew at the sight of these divisions! Unity—that is the great burden of that remarkable high priestly prayer. “That they may be one, even as we are one.” The spiritual oneness of God’s people –that is the heritage of God’s glory to them, transmitted by Christ to the Church.”

May the Lord open our hearts to pray for unification of the Holy Spirit throughout the global Christian Church and open our hands to extend across denominations to demonstrate the redemptive work of Christ.

(EM Bounds in The Reality of Prayer, p. 305)

NCFI Cares: R is for Rejoice



R is for Rejoice. The definition for rejoice is to be glad, joyful, or to celebrate. Do we celebrate the works of God in nursing? When was the last time you enjoyed the perfectly timed answer to prayer? Maybe it was that much needed staff person or piece of equipment. Have you been delighted by the basic pleasures of life? An enjoyable meal with a colleague and/or a simple gift from a student or patient. What about the rewards of patient care? Listening as an older adult shares a childhood memory, laughing with a five year old’s cute story, or celebrating with a toddler who masters a new toy or activity, are enjoyable moments in nursing.

The idea of rejoicing in prayer is to remind us to recognize all the blessed moments of our work. While at the same time, take time to celebrate with our Heavenly Father who provided them. We are also reminded that celebratory prayers don’t just occur with worship and during our designated times of prayer. We can have a heart of gladness that permeates our life and spills over into multiple moments of the day.


Rejoice in the Lord, always. I say it again, rejoice. Philippians 4:4

Serve the LORD with gladness! Psalm 100:2

NCFI Cares: O is for Others

O for Others reminds us to pray for our colleagues, managers, and students regularly.  We can create a list and commit to pray for them daily or weekly. In the previous devotion, W is for Word, we discussed filling our prayers with scripture, so let’s continue with using the word with Colossians 3:12-17 (italics is the scripture):

We pray for our brothers and sisters in nursing, the elect of God, who are holy and dearly loved. We ask the Lord to clothe them with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. For those who work in units with conflict, anger or unkindness, that they would bear with one another and forgive one another, remembering, the Lord has forgiven each of us, so we must also forgive others. Lord, we ask for your help in keeping in mind love, which is the perfect bond and the peace of Christ. We pray for the word of Christ to dwell in each of them richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in their hearts. So that, whatever they do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus. We give thanks you, God the Father through Christ Jesus.

As we live out our calling in nursing to care for our patients and families, let’s not forget our colleagues who have not come to know the mercy of God through Christ. As we honor God with our words and deeds and our love pours out, we pray for their eyes to see and their ears to hear the gospel of Christ (Matthew 13:10-14/Isaiah 6:9-10).



NCFI Cares: W is for Word

W is for Word reminds us to fill our prayers with scripture. Even though the Bible contains many prayers, like “Our Father” in Matthew 6 and the “Lord is my Shepherd” from Psalm 23, there are great prayers in the Epistles. Paul’s prayer to the church is Colossae found in Colossians 1:9-12 is one, as is Ephesians 1:17-20.

We can also use specific verses and teachings to fill our prayers with truth and God’s will.  Many of us are familiar with New Testament passages, so here are a few from the Old Testament. Guidance: Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21). Faithfulness: “So realize that the Lord your God is the true God, the faithful God who keeps covenant faithfully with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:9).

We can also use scripture to praise and worship God! “The Lord is my strength and my song he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him.” (Exodus 15:2). The richness of God’s word fills both our work and our conversations with God.

EM Bound motivates our prayer to take on a new meaning with God’s word with the following bold teaching:

Unless the living forces of prayer are supplied by God’s Word, even earnest prayer, though it may even be strong and noisy in its urgency, is, in reality, flabby, lifeless, and empty. The absence of living force in praying can be traced to the absence of a constant supply of God’s word to repair the waste and renew the life. Those who would learn to pray well must first study God’s Word, and store it in their memory and thoughts. (The Necessity of Prayer, p. 79)cf2e1-ncficares_3bloglogo


NCFI Cares: R is for Record


As we return to our acrostic PRAYERWORKS, we discuss R for Record. Many years ago, I started keeping a prayer journal. The small notebook is more akin to a prayer list. I write out a date with a simple phrase sentence. For example: 1/15 Karen—diagnosed with breast cancer. This brief statement, reminds me to pray for my friend on a regular basis. As time goes by, I would add 2/15 successful surgery/starting chemo/radiation to update the event. The best part is when I am able to cross out the prayer: 1/15 Karen—diagnosed with breast cancer 2/15 successful surgery/starting chemo/radiation and write PTL (Praise the Lord) through the prayer! Since I use the book for multiple years I can go back and see a prayer and then many times see an answer or resolution. Many are basic concerns that range from personal concerns, a time I had surgery and professional prayers for colleagues and projects.

Recording our prayers doesn’t have to be complicated, nor time consuming. It is a great way to remember how the Lord has worked in our lives. Recording both the prayers and the praises, allows me to reflect on how the Lord works in my life. Psalms 143:5 states, “I recall the old days; I meditate on all you have done; I reflect on your accomplishment.” Seeing answered prayers, keeps me steadfast in hope for the unanswered ones.


My prayer journal 

NCFI Cares: E is for Earnest


E is for Earnest— is a reminder to be earnest with our prayers for nursing. Luke shares Jesus’ timeless teaching about praying with persistence through the story of night time visitor knocking on the door of a friend. Even though the friend is resting comfortably and doesn’t want to get out of bed to answer the door, the persistent banging on the door provokes the friend to answer the door. Jesus summarizes the story with the following lesson:

So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened (Luke 11:5-10).

The persistent and probably annoying visitor reminds us to pray earnestly (Romans 12:12). One way is to pray weekly for our institutions/ministry/schools. We can also commit to intercede for our colleagues and staff. Our earnest knocking on the prayer door is not for our needs. Instead it is for the Lord’s will in our workplace, in our profession and within our community of nurses (1 Timothy 2:1). As many of us are well acquainted with, earnest prayers doesn’t guarantee results. Instead, it is more likely to open our hearts to the work of the Holy Spirit in our workplace.


“A persistent spirit brings a Christian to the place where faith takes hold, claims and appropriates the blessing.” (EM Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer p. 49)

NCFI Cares: Y is for Yield


Y for Yield guides us in opening ourselves up to how God will speak to us through prayer. Prayer, like eating and sleeping, can become habitual and repetitive. A potential boring activity where we say the same prayers, at the same time, for the same things. We need a jolt to our prayer lives, an openness to God communicating with us in new and unique ways. Here are some Biblical examples:

Remember Moses and the burning bush—through a miraculous bush Moses heart and passion was moved to free the Israelites (Exodus 3).  Isaiah was ushered into the throne room of God. Where Isaiah heard the edict to confront the Israelites regarding their disobedience (Isaiah 6). And my favorite one, is the Lord speaking to a stubborn Balaam through his donkey (Numbers 22:28-33). Let’s not forget Peter, whose daily prayers were interrupted by a vision for the New Testament church (Acts 10).

The Lord can and will use miraculous ways to grab our attention and communicate his word. We can open to these interruptions by simple changes in our prayer routine.  Reading a new liturgy, attending a prayer service, or just sitting quietly and listening more and talking less;  these and other changes can open our hearts and spirits to a unique yielding.

Even if you are a prayer warrior and have a disciplined prayer life, jolt it out of the ordinary and yield to a new way and new passion for intercession with the Lord (Romans 8:27-29)


“There is not only a sad and ruinous neglect of any attempt to pray, but there is an immense waste in the false praying that is done, as official praying, state praying, mere habit praying. People cleave to the form and semblance of a thing after the heart and reality have gone out of it.” (EM Bounds in The Reality of Prayer)


NCFI Cares: A is for Alert


A for Alert reminds us to be alert to opportunities to pray with our colleagues. Many times our compassion and concern is focused on our patients and the holy interventions they need. We can also be alert to our colleagues, managers, and administrators. Whether it is a colleague worried about their marriage or stressed about their children. Or maybe it is a manager/administrator facing a newly diagnosed illness or disease. We can listen and support their tough life journey through compassionate prayer.

Alert also reminds us not to forget to stop immediately and pray with them. Personally, I get busy listening, consoling, and supporting that I forget to stop and ask them if I can pray with them. If the situation or work environment is not conducive to an immediate, quick prayer. Then, be sure to follow up with a text, email, or quick word letting them know you are praying for them and would welcome a moment to pray WITH them.


As we seek to be alert to the needs of our colleagues, let’s respond compassionately with prayer:

“There is a certain compassion that belongs to the natural person, which expends its force in simple gifts to those in need, and is not to be despised. But spiritual compassion, the kind born in a renewed heart, is Christlike in its nature, deeper, broader, and more prayer-like. Christlike compassion always moves to prayer.” (E.M.Bounds in The Essentials of Prayer)

Ephesians 6:18 With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints.

NCFI Cares: R is for Request


How many times to do we seek God’s specific insight into a situation BEFORE we pray for a solution? Most of the time we pray for the solution—healing, relationship, peace, and/or hope. R for Request prompts us seek God’s wisdom and heart before we pray for our colleagues, patients and students.

Isaiah 55:9 says, “Just as the sky is higher than the earth, so my deeds are superior to your deeds and my plans superior to your plans.” In other words, God has a plan for every situation that is probably better than our own plan. Whether it is a complicated patient or challenging work environment, God is already at work. This doesn’t mean we just pray “God’s will” for everything. Instead, we embrace Romans 8:26-27:

The same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes on behalf of the saints according to God’s will.

Whether you are praying for a patient, colleague, or your leadership team, request the Lord’s Spirit to guide your prayerful heart. He will open our heart and eyes to the situation and filling our spirit with his wisdom. Then our prayers can be in conjunction with the Lord’s perfect plan.


“Praying men and women have been God’s representatives on earthy, but prayerless men and women have never been used by Him.” E M Bounds in The Necessity of Prayer