By: Dr. Fred Van Gorkom
“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” – Oswald Chambers
The Bible enjoins us to pray with persistence and faith, with worship and adoration, petition and thanksgiving. Jesus often went out alone to commune with the Father—even in Gethsemane while the disciples couldn’t stay awake. When the test came, He passed while the disciples fled.
What might a life of intentional prayer look like for a veterinarian in private practice?
Start each morning with prayer. My wife, Vicki, and I are intentional to pray together every morning before we get up. Years ago I was visiting long-time CVM advocates Stan and Evelyn Agenbroad. Early one morning during my visit I walked out into the front room and witnessed a special moment. They were facing each other, holding each others hands, heads bowed in earnest prayer and silhouetted by the eastern dawn. It was truly a beautiful and sacred moment.
Take time early in the day for private prayer too—for yourself, your family, church, community, nation, for missions, other nations and people groups, and the persecuted. I choose to wear a wrist band in order to remind myself to pray; each morning when I put it on, and each evening when I take it off, I pray, and put a specific emphasis on praying for those facing persecution.
Heading off to work? Consider praying (with your eyes open!) while you commute. It’s a great way to spend your time traveling. Pray for your clients you will be seeing that day, your coworkers, friends, and for His leading and blessing throughout the day.
Depending on your work environment, it may be appropriate to start the work day by praying with your staff. It’s a beautiful way to lift up each others burdens to the Lord and build a sense of family community among staff.
Another way to intentionally incorporate prayer into your life is to pray silently throughout the day for each client as you enter the exam room. When appropriate, ask them if they would like for you to pray with them. Do the same with phone calls and emails, and be intentional. If they have specific requests and your memory slips then perhaps consider keeping a list. You can then pray through the list and follow up later. What a way to show the love of Jesus, demonstrate you care, and build relationships for a witness (as well as for business)!
In recent years, I’ve started memorizing prayers recorded in Scripture—so much richer than my run-of-the-mill prayer for protection when traveling from point A to point B. For example, in Philippians 1: 9-11 Paul prays that:
- our love will abound more and more with knowledge and depth of insight,
- that we’ll discern what’s best,
- that we’ll be pure and blameless, and
- that we’ll be filled with the fruit of righteousness.
In this country we are very blessed. Things often go pretty smoothly—the spiritual battle is more hidden here. By contrast in international missions, even if you pray as hard as you can—things often still blow up around you. God keeps you hanging on to Him, and your faith grows.
What a privilege we have to take our burdens to Christ! He cares. While His ways and thoughts are as high above ours as the heavens are above the earth, He answers when it’s best. Watch and pray—it’s so exciting to see the living God at work!