The Power of Prayer

It’s common, when called upon to pray, to respond by saying, “Let’s bow our heads and close our eyes,” but in one particular instance, the deacon I had asked to pray inadvertently said, “Let’s bow our eyes and close our heads.” He doesn’t remember saying the reversed phrase, and neither did anyone else, but I have always remembered it as a commentary on how we approach the greatest privilege of our lives. Our minds are so often closed to the power and effectiveness of talking directly to God. Fortunately it is not that way throughout the BCFS System. We believe in prayer.

Dr. Dearing Garner
Dr. Dearing Garner

It is a privilege for me to serve as the Director of Pastoral Care for the BCFS System where one of my tasks is to invoke and encourage prayer. It is not always the first option that comes to mind in a crisis, admittedly even for myself.

Once I was leading a medical mission in the Central African Republic when we depleted our inventory of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Our physicians were fiercely writing prescriptions, trying to keep up with seemingly unending lines of sick and hurting people.

When one of the pharmacy volunteers told me, “No more Tylenol,” I could not believe it and was frustrated that we now had fewer options to treat the hundreds of patients waiting to see an American doctor.

Then, a young team member who was a college student at the time (she has since become a physician) said to me, “We can pray for them.” I thought, “Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?” because, after all, this was our mission.

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

We immediately started another line for prayer. Friends, let’s not forget the importance of prayer! I am honored to come alongside each of you in this regard to pray with and encourage you, both in your professional capacities at BCFS System locations and programs, and in personal or family situations, as well.

Here is a wonderful verse about prayer with a promise from the Lord: And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13 (King James Version).

Dearing Garner is the Director of Pastoral Care for the BCFS System, providing spiritual guidance and prayer for staff throughout the agency. He can be reached at