Health care workers need compassion, grace as they serve during pandemic

Health care workers need compassion, grace as they serve during pandemic

By Scott James
Birmingham pediatric physician

In the midst of a pandemic, medical providers around the world need believers to approach the throne of grace on their behalf.

Here are just a few of the ways you can pray for us.

  1. Wisdom

Many of us are in the position of having to make significant, timely decisions based on incomplete and rapidly evolving data. For medical professionals who are trained to be evidence-based, this can be a nerve-wracking situation leading to uncertainty and fear.

Please pray that we would be wise in how we respond to the evidence at hand and discerning as we move forward to implement best practices for our patients and our communities.

  1. Clarity

With so many incoming streams of information and with the need to adapt to new evidence as it arises, there is a very real danger that muddled and conflicting messages may confuse those we are trying to inform.

Pray that medical providers would seek to be clear, balanced and unified in the guidance we provide.

  1. Compassion

In high-stress situations, compassion and empathy are often the first casualties. Emotional distancing and task-oriented interactions are common coping mechanisms for those of us who are consistently close to grief, distress and crisis. They are also deadly to the soul.

Pray that God would give grace to medical providers; pray that we would extend Christlike compassion as we care for hurting souls, not just broken bodies.

  1. Stamina

We are tired. Even if we are not currently in an epicenter, this is exhausting work — physically, mentally and emotionally. Many of us are working extended hours with skeleton crews.

This pace is difficult to maintain, yet any semblance of a finish line is still a ways off on the horizon.

Please beg the Lord to grant health care workers uncanny stamina for the days ahead. Pray He would help us find new rhythms of work and rest that will sustain us and prevent burnout.

  1. Family

As we press further into this important work, many of us entertain fearful thoughts about how it will affect our family, friends and loved ones. Most acutely, we are worried about infecting them. For those of us who continue to encounter significant exposures, many have proactively self-quarantined for their protection.

Even if we’re not physically isolating ourselves from our families, the stress of the workload itself is pulling many of us away from them.

This separation just adds another level of emotional turmoil to an already difficult situation. Pray for our families.

  1. Dependence

If it is not already abundantly clear, none of us can do this on our own.

As determined and resilient as health care workers are, if we think we’ll be able to roll our sleeves up and muscle through this on our own, we are sorely mistaken. We need you. We need your support, your encouragement and your responsible choices. Pray that we can depend on you.

More importantly, we need God. We need His grace to sustain us and to enable us to share His love as we tend to His people. Pray that we would depend on God.

Thank you for carrying us in prayer as we seek to care for patients with an ability and insight that only He can provide. May He bring this pandemic to a quick end and draw many to Himself.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Scott James serves as an elder at The Church at Brook Hills. He and his wife, Jaime, have four children and live in Birmingham, where he works as a pediatric physician. He is the author of “The Expected One: Anticipating All of Jesus in the Advent” and “Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional.”

This article originally appeared in the ERLC’s Light Magazine titled “Ministry in Uncertain Times: A Special COVID-19 Issue.” To view the free online edition, visit