Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Daniel: Prayer to the Great Physician

Daniel 6:10 (NIV), “Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God.”

At the last meeting of our Attending Physician and Dentist Fellowship in New York City, Dr. Meredith Hawkins led a devotional on prayer. This was the second meeting of this newly formed CMDA group of 14 people, designed to encourage and nurture attendings in fellowship over the Word of God. In order to come before the Lord in prayer, Meredith encouraged us to learn from Daniel. When faced with challenges too hard to overcome alone, such as being forced by a new law to bow to an image of the king, or being asked to eat foods unacceptable to his faith, or being confronted with death due to a king's fury over a failure to interpret his dreams, Daniel turned to his true source of help.

Highly trained and educated, gifted with wisdom and intelligence, Daniel, like most doctors today, was equipped with tremendous skills and resources to meet life's challenges. Yet, he always turned to the Lord in prayer, not daring to rely only on his intellect. And he often asked, with honesty and transparency, for his fellow believers to pray with him in his need.

Following this devotional, in the same way, our CMDA fellowship then proceeded to trust each other with our needs, our worries and our confessions - placing them before the Lord together. A great sense of unburdening, a mutual companionship and a strengthening of our faith ensued. It must have been a delight to the Lord for this group of highly educated doctors to humble themselves before an almighty God, ignoring the temptation to rely only on our own resources.

Honesty. Transparency. These qualities are needed in the prayer life of believers if they want to derive the true benefit of prayer. Meredith used the ACTS model of prayer to structure our prayer time. Each element of prayer: adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication - brought our group closer in the bond of trust. How did so much trust come easily to a relatively new group of doctors? Adoration of the Lord unified us in our object of worship. Adoration of the one true God is vital amidst the plethora of "idols" that tempt doctors today - status, success, intelligence and reputation. Humbly coming before God together returns the focus of worship back to the Lord. Confession can only be accomplished when each participant trusts each other to openly reveal their sins, weaknesses and temptations. Thanksgiving for many doctors may be a rare item in light of our many distractions and responsibilities, but listening to each other's praises encourages us to find the special gifts the Lord has given to each of us. Finally supplication and intercession for each other's needs brings us closer as we become attuned to each other's concerns. Certainly the intercessory prayer for the four of us (Meredith, Barry, Iris and I) leaving for Thailand the next day to educate medical missionaries was invaluable and was to be greatly answered.

That which was true for Daniel back then is true for doctors today: mighty acts will surely follow faithful prayers, especially when we pray together.

Elaine Eng, M.D.

Dear Lord,
You have put us in a place where many depend on our knowledge and training to heal their problems. Help us to do so but never let us ignore the truth that You only are the Great Physician. Help us, like Daniel, to humbly be on our knees and pray for the many challenges that confront us. In Jesus name, Amen

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