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The ministry of medicine

in Life Lessons, Nonfiction Writing, Parenting


Photo by TALUDA on

I landed in a new doctor’s office this week to try to get a second opinion of an ongoing medical issue. I am always weary of new doctors because you never know what you might be walking into. Are they pill-happy? Do they need another surgery on the books to afford that second vacation home? I’d read good reviews about this particular doctor though, so I took the chance.

After going thoroughly through all the previous doctors’ notes, she just sat and listened to me. She heard my concerns, theories, and symptoms and then asked if I would be comfortable with a particular line of treatment.

She asked me! She didn’t tell me what I should do, she made a recommendation and then asked my feelings about it.

She then rephrased what she had heard me say so I knew she was actually listening. She respected what I’m dealing with, but she was still able to find a positive note in it. I love the optimism.

Before I left, we scheduled blood work and a physical. She faxed in my prescription so it would be ready when I arrived at the pharmacy, and then she said something I have never in my life heard a doctor say. “Start this medication and I will pray about where we need to go from here. Maybe this will be exactly what you need, but we’ll also pray for insight into what else might be going on with you.”

I was floored. I live in the Bible Belt, but I have never had a doctor say she was going to pray about my treatment. She didn’t know me, and she didn’t know whether I was a Christian or not. She didn’t push the issue or ask questions; she just said she’d be praying about it. And this wasn’t like the typical “I’ll sit on my hands until God shows me which way to go” type of prayer. She chose to both treat me and pray for me. Remarkable.

The idea was interesting to me–this mixture of ministry and medicine. It made me wonder how much better off we’d be as a country if others mixed more prayer into their lives and careers.

  • If our representatives in Washington spent more time praying for guidance for our country rather than giving their colleagues the silent treatment; could we find a solution to the shutdown?
  • If our scientists prayed about finding a cure to illnesses rather than relying on their own limited minds, would we be closer to solutions?
  • If parents prayed for guidance on raising kids, would we be doing a better job?
  • If we prayed about our marriages rather than blaming our spouses, would the divorce rate be as high?
  • If we all spent more time praying than bickering and judging… where would our nation be?

I’m not the kind of person that preaches on the street corner about the end of the world, but I’m not the kind that hides my faith in a dusty Bible on the shelf either. I think there is a happy medium. There is a place where I can pray for others without being overpowering. There is a wide area there that allows me to practice my faith in daily life without requiring everyone else to do the same. This area of open faith practice doesn’t squash other people’s beliefs or religions. I can’t help but think that our country’s lack of respect for that middle ground is what has gotten us so far off track. What if we got back to respecting freedom of religion? What if we started realizing that being in ministry doesn’t require a full-time commitment to the church office? In fact hands-on ministry can easily be in whatever field we are currently working in. Praying doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists, parents, and engineers… imagine!

I’m fascinated by my new doctor’s mixture of medicine and prayer, and I look forward to seeing where it takes me. It not only made me optimistic about my personal health, but it has renewed my faith in the possibilities for the future.

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