Christian Nursing 101: Intercessory Prayer: Differentiating the Source

When I first thought about writing this article, I wanted the title to be “Take Back Prayer in Nursing”. That is because I feel we have let prayer, communication between God and man, become a buzzword for anything spiritual. Once a reverent privilege to enter the throne room of God to speak praises, confession, or petitions to our holy Creator. Prayer has been relegated to an existential experience of sending positive thoughts, connecting with the universe, or random words to the unknown. My concern is not with non-Christian and their spiritual journey.  Instead it is with  Christians who espouse their prayers and petitions to a random receiver, or worse to evil spirits.

Thus, the article guides Christian nurses back to the tenets of our faith and Bible teaching on prayer. Since not all prayers are the same, Christians should be cautious when asked to pray for at least two reasons: who we pray to does matter and prayer is more than just reading a few lines.

Finally, we should strongly resist a compulsion to communicate with other gods, energy force or entities by patients, families, or staff. The Bible clearly teaches the \reality of evil spirits or demon world; which is in contradiction to God and Christ.

I would enjoy hearing more about your experience with non-Christian prayer in nursing.

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Book Review: Spirituality in Nursing: Standing on Holy Ground

 “Perhaps no scriptural theme so well models the spiritual posture of nursing practice ass the Old Testament depiction of Moses and the burning bush. In the biblical narrative God reminded Moses that, when he stood before the Lord, the ground beneath his feet was holy. For it is her, in the act of serving a brother and sister in need, that the nurse truly encounters God.” (p. 1) Mary Elizabeth O’Brien in Spirituality in Nursing:Standing on Holy Ground opening statement sets the stage for the examination of nursing practice in relation to the nurses spirituality in caring for patients, participation in providing holistic care, and the nurse’s role as a healer. O’Brien shares the results of formal and informal observations to provide guidelines for meeting the spiritual needs for the mentally and chronically ill, despair and dying, children and families and others in the diverse practice settings of nursing care.
Quite a few years back, while I reviewing books and articles written by experts, I discovered O’Brien’s Spiritual Assessment Scale (SAS). In my experience there are two-broad categories of spiritual assessment tools: brief and used with patients/clients (FICA, SPIRIT, HOPE, etc); and multidimensional assessments or scales that examine the complex dimensions of spirituality. O’Brien’s SAS captures the multidimensional aspects of spiritual health through the Christian paradigm of a relationship with God: Personal Faith, Religious Practice, and Spiritual Contentment. Since SAS can be used for research and statistical analysis, the scoring is a 5-point Likert scale ranging from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree”. Here is an example of an assessment question for each category:
Personal Faith: “I receive strength and comfort from my spiritual beliefs.”
Religious Practice: “My relationship with God is strengthened by personal prayer.”
Spiritual Contentment: “I feel that I have lost God’s love.”
I also want to mention that O’Brien has given permission for NCFI to use the SAS in The Art and Science of Spiritual Care. The scale is used as a self-assessment for examining the participants own spiritual health. Knowing one’s self and caring for one’s spiritual health is an important part of nursing practice and essential to providing spiritual care. 
Spiritual Care is not an “add on” or “alternative/complementary” to nursing practice. This is especially true for Christians. O’Brien invites nurses welcome nurses to stand on holy ground and encounter God through our acts of service in nursing.

NCFI Cares: S for Skill

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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

 

When Hope Is Lost: Part 2

In the Part 1, we loaded our backpack of hope with a various nursing interventions. In Part 2, we focus on bringing hope to our patients through spiritual care for both Christians and non-Christians. As followers of Christ, we may hesitate to provide spiritual care interventions for those of other faiths. This is where our spiritual care experts can be consulted. Whether it is a hospital chaplain or coordinator, these wonderful men and women are partners in encouraging our patients. They also have the time to sit and chat with a patient, a challenge for the busy aJCN Covercute care nurse.

Also, included with the article is Supplemental Digital Content–listing specific resources for nurses looking for additional books, websites, etc.

I would enjoy discovering other interventions in your backpack of hope–feel free to share other ways you facilitate hope for your patient.

 

Click on the JCN cover to see all the articles in Christian Nursing 101 Collection!

NCFI: Art and Science of Spiritual Care

I have been on a whirlwind journey with NCFI nurses from around the world.

Around Jan, 2011 I joined NCFI to partner with international nurses to create an educational module for spiritual care. Thanks to Skype we were able to work through 4 time zones and busy nurses schedules to create a 4-session educational presentation. The team included myself and Amy from the USA, Tove from Norway, and Swee Eng from Singapore. All of us, except Amy, met and taught the content to international health care providers at the 75th jubilee conference for HCFI in Manila, Philippines in September, 2011. 

We came home and connected with Grace from Colombia and supported Swee Eng’s move to a leadership presentation. Once again, through Skype, we endeavored to create a final presentation with workbook, as well as translation into Spanish. We will be meeting once again in Chile to teach the content at the NCFI conference in Santiago, Chile.

Before we get the idea that the project is completed, Amy, Tove, and myself have submitted an abstract to present a 80 minute symposium at the International Council of Nurses (ICN) conference in May, 2013.


Prayer Room in Taipai airport


The Lord continues to work amazingly, as we endeavor to educate and support nurses around the world in bringing cross-culturally spiritual care to our patients, clients, and residents.

For more pictures, go to      nurses4him facebook link