COVID-19 has made all of our lives more complicated. Some of us are learning how to work and study remotely. Others have experienced complications in their employment due to quarantines and shutdowns.
But while most of us can shelter at home and avoid crowds, those who work in healthcare don’t have this option. Healthcare professionals such as nurses, doctors, first responders and more must face this virus head-on. They’re already exhausted and weary from working long hours, and things may still get worse in the coming days.
I recently reached out to some healthcare professionals I know and asked how we could pray for them. Here’s what I learned:
1. Pray for healthcare workers’ endurance.
For many healthcare workers the past few weeks have been overwhelming. Patient numbers have increased, resources are stretched thin and information and best practices change by the minute. Such will be the case for even more healthcare workers in the coming days. “We will be overwhelmed and overworked,” said Shannon P., a nurse.
So pray for healthcare workers’ endurance. Pray for their “physical health and mental clarity,” in the words of nurse Deborah L., and for patience. “Information is changing minute by minute and everyone is overwhelmed,” said nurse Tammy W.
Nancy H. has needed this endurance. The ICU of her small-town hospital has been filled with COVID-19 patients. She asks us to pray in this way:
Pray for the strength, courage and stamina to do the job we’ve been called to do. It’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed as so many lives will hang in the balance…. Pray for discernment and wise counsel for those making decisions in our organization and all hospitals. Pray for my staff who are just as worried as everyone else but they still show up every day giving care to our patients.
While most of us can shelter at home and avoid crowds, those who work in healthcare don’t have this option.
2. Pray for healthcare workers’ safety.
Most of us can shelter at home during this pandemic; healthcare workers and first responders do not have that luxury. Instead, they must serve those who are sick and suffering — including those diagnosed with COVID-19.
This reality led Brenda J. to ask that we pray for her and her coworkers at her health department “that [they] can stay safe during this difficult time.” I’m sure those who work in hospitals, pharmacies, doctors’ offices and more would agree.
So pray for their own health and safety as they care for others in a time of need. And, as pharmacist Julie L. asks, “Pray for our selflessness [because] it’s easy to want to be selfish ourselves during this time.”
3. Pray for healthcare workers’ families.
This theme came up again and again in healthcare workers’ prayer requests. “Definitely [pray] for our families as we have no choice but to be exposed to this virus [and] we will then expose our families,” said Rebecca H.
Some healthcare workers have young children at home. Others care for aging family members. And one of their greatest concerns is unknowingly bringing the virus back home and infecting others. Gabrielle P.’s husband is a law enforcement officer, and she expressed this concern. “You can be asymptomatic for so long [that] we worry about getting those germs in and passing them to our children [and] spouses,” she said.
In fact, I know of one family in which both the husband and wife work in healthcare — one of them at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site. The couple made the difficult decision to have their kids stay with grandparents for the next few weeks. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to make this decision.
The stress healthcare workers face also affects their families. So let’s pray for them.
Perhaps one of the best ways we can serve those in healthcare is to listen to them, heed their warnings and practice social distancing.
A Final Word
In addition to these prayer requests, the people I talked to also wished that we pray for the immunocompromised and the elderly, two groups of people who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. One healthcare professional, Lisa B., also expressed concern about “people still not practicing social distancing because they still believe it’s a hoax.”
As a result, perhaps one of the best ways we can serve those in healthcare is to listen to them, heed their warnings and practice social distancing. They’re risking their own health and life so others can live. The more we throw caution to the wind, the worse it gets for them. Let’s love them well by heeding their advice.
How else would you recommend we pray for healthcare workers?