…Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. -Joshua 1:9 (NLT)
The words of this verse are filled with hope and encouragement – something we are all in desperate need of these days. It’s a source of hundreds of different memes found on social media. But this verse in and of itself only tells part of the story. When you read the full chapter of Joshua 1, you’ll find there is so much more.
Understand the context of this chapter. Moses, Israel’s great leader and Joshua’s mentor, has died. Joshua is now in charge of all the people of Israel. The Lord tells Joshua, “The time has come for you to lead these people” (Joshua 1:2a, NLT).
Joshua has been a part of this journey since he was a slave in Egypt. He was there when the nation of Israel crossed the Red Sea on dry land. He was one of the spies sent into the land of Canaan who believed the Lord’s promise that this would be their land. And Joshua wandered for 40 years in the wilderness when ten of the other spies chose not to believe God’s promise. He has watched his generation die off one by one.
Joshua surely experienced times of weariness. He experienced the consequences of the poor decisions of others. He knew disappointment and loss – the delay of plans and dreams as well as the loss of his friend and mentor. Many of the same feelings we have in the work we do and in what we continue to face through this pandemic.
Joshua also had a deep, abiding trust in the Lord. I believe Joshua was open with God about what he was feeling. The words to “be strong and courageous” are spoken not once, but four times. God knew what Joshua needed to hear. It gives me encouragement to be open about where I am today. Life is messy. And the Lord can handle that messiness.
This passage also provides important instruction for each of us. God promises to be with Joshua, but also reminds Joshua that his success is dependent upon his ability to obey the laws of Moses. Laws meant to provide protection, guidance, and wisdom. God tells Joshua to study the Book of Instruction and to meditate on its precepts day and night.
Reading this, I am reminded of my very independent nature. I know my tendency to find a work-around in order to keep moving forward. I know how difficult it is for me to be still. How dependent am I, or are we, on the Word of God? Do I, do we, spend the time needed to deepen our relationship with him? Life moves so quickly around us. Do I…do we…take time to listen to him in prayer?
We can be strong and courageous. We can know God is with us. It begins with acknowledging and living our lives in complete dependence upon him. Giving up the control we seek creates the space and freedom to follow him and to allow his work to be done. There’s a new land ahead of us.
Christy Secor RN, DNP, CDWF, NCF Professional Ministries Director
You can download the September Prayer Calendar here.
September Prayer Calendar
September 1 - Pray for those facing significant loss due to the COVID pandemic. Pray for our national, state, and community leaders to be wise as they set policies for the public, schools, and healthcare in response to COVID and for those working in healthcare. Pray for the families who have lost over 183,000 fathers, mothers, grandparents, children, sisters, and brothers to this illness. Pray for protection.
September 2 - Ask God to use a marketing campaign in the September Christianity Today magazine and website to make more nurses, students, and the public aware of NCF and InterVarsity. We ask God to bring at least 50 new members to NCF professional membership!
September 3 – Praise God for the men and women who lead NCF’s professional nurse groups. Their wisdom, encouragement, and prayers are such a tremendous blessing to students, nurses, and their communities. Pray for them as they lead and for these groups to grow. Pray for rich opportunities to connect nurses with their faith and their practice.
September 4 - The October/December issue of the Journal of Christian Nursing will be released online today and the print issue will be mailed September 11. Ask God to use this JCN to bring glory to Himself and support students, nurses, and educators with biblical, Christian content.
September 5 - Praise God for the healing of our hearts in the journeys of life. Continue to pray for Christy Secor, NCF’s Professional Ministries Director, after the death of her precious Daddy. Pray for healing within her heart and the memories of his struggle. Pray for the family as they bring closure to the family home and belongings in North Carolina.
September 6 - Praise God for his faithfulness in providing 40% of the funding for Katharine Provost’s, our Student Ministries Campus Staff Minister, ministry budget. We are so thankful for those who are partnering with Katharine through prayer and giving. Please continue to pray for God to move in hearts that would be willing to be new financial partners as she continues her support raising so that she can begin working with nursing students.
September 7 - Ask God to closely guide NCF Director Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner as she leads NCF. Pray that Kathy will quickly respond to the Holy Spirit in all things and have godly sorrow for sin and walk closely with Jesus. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NIV)
September 8 – Pray for those with children who are going back to school in a much different world than normal. Pray especially for families struggling to find care for their children or who have to do school virtually.
September 9 - Intercede for those working on new Bible studies for nursing students and nurses that will be made available on the NCF website. Ask God to guide every thought and question so that he can make himself known in nursing.
September 10 – Pray for student ministries this year. The start of the semester is always hectic, but this year with campuses in flux student ministry now more than ever needs the Holy Spirit. Pray for ministry to not fall by the wayside amidst the hecticness but to be front and center as a needed part of the student experience.
September 11 – Pray for those who continue to be affected by 9/11. Pray for comfort on this day of sorrow and remembrance.
September 12 – We lift up our faith community nurses for the ongoing work they do and the many ways they serve their communities. Pray for insight, wisdom, and creative ways to care for those in their churches, parishes, and communities. Pray for strength and protection. Pray for good communication with the other members of their ministry teams.
September 13 – We celebrate the beginning of another new NCF professional nurse group. Pray for Lamp Lighters NCF which is dedicated as a virtual group for nurses across the country. Pray for their leaders as they begin their meetings and communicating about their group with other nurses.
September 14 - Praise God for the way he is opening little windows and doors toward discerning a new software system to serve NCF members and constituents. Please keep praying for God’s divine instruction, and that we could finalize a solution quickly. Pray for the resources to be available to install new software once a decision is made.
September 15 - Thank God for all of his servants who faithfully work behind the scenes to aid NCF members, nurses who need prayer, students who are afraid, computers that don’t work correctly—those who make NCF function across the nation: Marlena, Cathy, Jane, Karen, Skip, Brittany, Bethany, John, Mark, and many more.
September 16 – The JCN staff are learning new processes associated with the template and proofing of the journal. Pray for improvement in communication and excellence as they transition with these new systems.
September 17 - Ask God to bring in the needed funding for NCF staff who work faithfully and tirelessly to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to students and educators on campus, nurses in communities, and to the nursing literature.
September 18 - Pray for student leaders who have much on their plate. Pray they would find Jesus and joy in leading on campus with NCF.
September 19 – Pray for discernment, insight, and wisdom as NCF seeks ways to improve their communication and outreach to nurses who are a part of Gen X’ers, Millennials, and Gen Z.
September 20 – Pray that God would continue to provide people who are willing to write Bible studies for the fellowship and authors for the JCN so we can bless our members and friends with spiritual resources.
September 21 - Entreat the Holy Spirit to break our hearts for what breaks God’s heart. Pray that we could continue to learn what is painful to others, especially persons who are different from us. Pray that we could each be a part of racial reconciliation in our spheres of influence.
September 22 - Rejoice with us that God has established and is leading NCF through student ministry, professional ministry, the Journal of Christian Nursing, and marketing teams. Praise God for the NCF Leadership Team of Jen, Christy, Kris, Jessica, and Kathy.
September 23 - Pray for faculty advisors as they balance ALL that is on their plates with moving classes on-line and the many challenges they face this semester. Pray they will continue to say yes and see the eternal value of devoting time to NCF. Pray the Lord would provide and sustain all their needs.
September 24 – Pray for our nurses who live in senior communities around the country. They see families who are unable to visit in person because of COVID restrictions and the impact this in having in the lives of other seniors who are experiencing disorientation, falls, and adverse health outcomes. Please pray families will once again be reunited and able to connect in person with one another.
September 25 – Pray for the regular column authors of the Journal of Christian Nursing who faithfully write the 16 one-page dynamic bursts of inspiration each issue of the JCN: Cathy, Karen, Kris, Kathy, Mary, NCFI, Jan, Marsha, Kristene, Sharon, Beth, and more. Ask God to use their work for His Kingdom.
September 26 - Ask God to work miraculously through virtual outreaches to nurses and nursing students for Bible studies and NCF groups in this age of COVID.
September 27 – Pray for God to provide wisdom and direction for the mentoring of new graduates by Christian nurses. We ask God to weave together the learnings from the Twin Cities NCF group into this larger national work.
September 28 - Pray for blessing and quality time for each NCF staff member as they spend personal time in Bible study on sacred ground with God.
September 29 – Many students and nurses are struggling to care for themselves under the constant stress and changes brought about by COVID. Pray for opportunities for rest and for each individual to be strengthened and renewed in their faith walk. Pray for us to be strong and courageous as we seek the new opportunities God has for us as his followers. Pray we would have a hunger for daily time with the Lord as we meditate on his word.
September 30 - We acknowledge God’s majesty and sovereignty with us for His great faithfulness to NCF since the 1930s. Praise Him for godly leaders in Tressie Myers, Grace Wallace, Mary Thompson, Harriet Coeling, Pat Emery, and Jane Hall who worked tirelessly to direct NCF for over 80 years. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus… Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)