When we rang in the new year, I'm not sure any of us imagined what changes to our lives would occur in the months ahead. Perhaps you remember the beginnings of this virus in China, but what began as a cluster of pneumonia in one province, has exploded to impact everyone across the world.
I'm a nurse in an emergency department. Our little area of the world has not been devastatingly been impacted, yet. As we look across the globe, we see that this pandemic is obviously impacting health care systems, in some countries, way past what they are able to provide. These effects break my heart; just to imagine not being able to provide care for all your patients, is an absolutely excruciating thought.
As we ponder what is happening in the world, we do not need to act as those without hope. For, though the life, death and resurrection of Christ, we have hope; a trust that He works for His good in all things, especially when we do not understand. He has not left us, He has not forsaken us.
So what do we do?
We plan, we prepare and we pray.
So here are a few ways you can pray for healthcare:
1. Pray for the sick.
Hospitals here are not allowing visitors. Security sits at the entrance of the hospital ER, screening everyone who wants to enter. The sick are admitted to hospital without a friend or family member by their side; the elderly, the palliative, bide their time alone. It is lonely, and it is not an easy decision to make, but,
These decisions are made for everyone's protection and they absolutely need to happen!
So, pray for an extra measure of grace for the healthcare team, to see more than just the patient, but also their heart. Pray for the hospital chaplains who continue to serve the needs of the sick, and for creative solutions to encourage the hearts of these beautiful souls, who may be longing for human connection. As the sick have this time in solitude and physical healing, pray that the grace of God is given them, to see the gift of God's healing and His presence with them.
(Here's a question: How can we minister to the sick from far away? Calls, pictures, handwritten letters or cards...?)
2. Pray for the staff.
The best of us are spending a lot of time reading COVID updates, checking the map and scrolling through social media. The best of us can get overwhelmed and wrapped up in all of it. Donning and doffing our protective equipment, educating patients, and still treating all the regular things, like heart attacks, strokes and appendicitis. We need to be on our game with the quickly changing atmosphere, and it requires more stamina and courage than what we've needed before.
Pray for those of us working in the hospital, that we would have sound minds; that we would have discernment as we treat patients; those who have the virus, and those who don't. Pray that we will stay healthy and safe, so that we can continue caring well for others.
Our staff have received lots of encouragement from the community around us, who have been providing food and pictures, just to cheer us on. We feel blessed and cared for, so a big thank-you to all of you, for taking the time to bless us and boost our joy.
3. Pray for resources.
Resource allocation. It is the buzzword around work lately. Everything from the actual plastic swab to test for the virus, to the masks, gowns, eye shields and gowns we wear for protection, are items that we are being called to use wisely and cautiously, let we run out and have none.
Pray that as companies begin making more medical equipment, we would continue to steward what we have wisely; that we will continue to have the ability, as healthcare workers, to stay protected, and provide care for the patients as best we can.
4. Pray for leaders.
This is a challenging time for decision making. Regional and provincial leaders are making plans to contain the virus, through mandates to self-isolate, and then for the weeks to come, should transmission start happening and patients begin to flood our hospitals. These plans are in motion. It is encouraging to know that strategic leaders are in place for this season, for this time.
Pray that they would have wisdom to prepare our system. There are so many things that we can't predict, or change; how many will get sick, will the virus mutate, will we get a vaccine. There are so many variables, we may not be able to predict them all, but with insight and wisdom they can make choices to strengthen our preparation, especially as we learn from the countries who are already in the thick of it.
5. Pray for communities.
This is an anxiety provoking situation; jobs are changing, the kids are home, there are multiple stressors and decisions that need to get made. Pray for our communities, that peace will reign over us.
That we would turn our minds to think about "whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is purse, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Philippians 4:8).
Pray for those struggling with their mental health, that they would have people to connect with and check in on them, that they would access resources to help them. Pray also for conviction across communities, to think of others during this season; as they make the sacrifice of self-isolation, they protect those around them and decrease the spread of this virus.
After one week of school closure, we've seen fun, encouraging, "Windows of Joy" throughout the community. Let's continue to be that source of love and joy for each other...it has only been one week, and there will be more weeks to come, we will need, now more than ever to spur each other on!
Thank you for your prayers! We appreciate them so much!