28 July 2014

Ebola in West Africa: Five Ways to Pray

This weekend, we in the SIM family received word that a doctor and another SIM employee at ELWA Hospital in Liberia tested positive for Ebola.  ELWA is one of the west African hospitals also operated by SIM.  ELWA has been combating the virus since the outbreak reached Liberia, and has taken the precautions necessary . . . but the heartbreaking reality is, Ebola doesn't discriminate between who is the patient and who is the caregiver.

As the news is being spread around the world (you can read more hereherehere and here), the need for prayer is great.  SIM's motto is By Prayer . . . because we believe that our own efforts can only go so far.

We need you to pray.  Here's how:

  1. Pray for the patients in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone who are currently fighting for their lives.  According to the WHO's Ebola factsheet, the disease has a case fatality rate of 90%.  There is no cure or vaccine, only the treatment of symptoms.  These patients require intense levels of care . . . and may be treated at centers that do not have the resources or staffing that are standard in other parts of the world.  Pray for miraculous healing.  Pray that the pain of these patients would be eased and their symptoms managed.  
  2. Pray for their family members. Each patient infected with the virus has a family holding on to hope, waiting in agony, or grieving the loss of someone they love.  Pray that these family members will know peace during this time.  Pray that they will know comfort while they mourn.  Pray also that family members will not remove the patient from treatment AMA (against medical advise) or before treatment is completed.
  3. Pray for the medical team caring for the sick.  Being a doctor, nurse or other health care professional does not make one immune to infection.  Despite taking every precaution possible, there are still risks.  Pray for the wisdom and endurance of these medical teams.  Pray for their safety and protection.  Pray for clarity of thinking during heightened periods of stress . . . as well as emotional processing and coping as they deal with great suffering and death.  Pray for those caring for colleagues and friends who have fallen ill.  Pray also for those responsible for waste management, keeping the facilities hygienic, and those working in the lab.
  4. Pray for their family members.  The family members of the health care team need our support, care and love as much as those in direct contact with the disease.  Pray against overwhelming fear.  Pray that they will be able to support their family member who is a part of a medical team caring for those with the Ebola virus.  Pray that they will have peace during this time.
  5. Pray for the governments in west Africa and the international organizations working to control this epidemic. Great wisdom is needed when setting policies, controlling borders and managing epidemics.  Pray that God will give these men and women the insight and understanding necessary to care for as many people as possible, while protecting others from exposure.  

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