21 August 2014

Ebola in West Africa: Five More Ways to Pray

It's been nearly a month since the world's attention was turned to a little corner of west Africa where the deadliest Ebola outbreak in human history has occurred.  Today the most famous Ebola patients in history were declared 'virus free' and released from the hospital.  But despite the spotlight and the thankfulness we feel for their healing and survival, the spread of Ebola continues.

The good news is, this outbreak continues to be contained within four countries . . . the devastating reality is that new cases are being diagnosed each day and people are dying.

And while most of you reading this won't be able to 'give a helping hand' to help bring this crisis to an end, you can play a very active role . . . keep praying.

Here's how:

  1. Pray for understanding.  It has been reported that the Ebola virus has been spread, and is still being spread, because of the popular belief among certain people where Ebola is already widespread that the disease is actually a hoax.  Despite the 1,000+ people who have died from the virus, there are still those who believe that this is a conspiracy and a lie . . . and when acting on those beliefs, are in fact, further spreading the disease.    Pray that cultural boundaries to understanding will be removed . . . pray that the public will not be stirred but will head warnings and follow precautions . . . pray for good communication and thorough education on the cause, transmission and prevention of Ebola.
  2. Pray against fear.  As was evident through social media, fear is often the first reaction to the unknown.  In this case, it is proving deadly.  Over the past couple of days, we've been hearing reports of rioting surrounding the location of Ebola treatment centres . . . the facilities were broken into and patients were removed.  People in need of extensive treatment in order to survive were "dragged away."  Not only does this kind of act ensure that care will not be given, it increases the risk of transmission.  Pray that those living in the neighborhoods where Ebola treatment centres are located will not react out of fear but out of wisdom . . . pray that peace would reign in their hearts rather than panic.
  3. Pray for the health care professionals.  It doesn't get more 'front line' than this.  Doctors and nurses working with inadequate supplies . . . working long hours . . . wearing space-suits in already miserable heat and humidity.  Risking their own lives to save those who are sick.  And then there are the Community Health workers, racing to educate in order to contain and protect the rest of our world.  Or those charged with the task of collecting and burying the bodies of the deceased.  We have heard report after report of medical workers who have lost their lives to save others.  Pray for their endurance . . . pray for their health . . . pray for their protection, not only from the virus but also from violence by those who are acting against their efforts.
  4. Pray for the people in villages running out of food and supplies.  What happens when a whole village gets quarantined?  No one comes in or goes out . . . that includes delivery trucks.  While certain precautions must be maintained to contain the further spread of Ebola, we must remember those who fall inside those lines . . . rations don't last forever.  Pray for aid to reach these villages . . . pray that those exposed to the virus will not feel desperate enough to sneak out of the quarantined areas . . . pray that this will not become an opportunity for oppression of the poor or for schemers to take advantage of the desperate.
  5. Pray for the other countries in West Africa as they make preparations for 'what if'.  While there have been no reported cases of Ebola in any other west African country beyond the four already documented, many governments and hospitals are already formulating plans for 'what if'. There have been many reports of negative diagnoses in other countries in this region, but regardless, it has made many stop to think ahead.  Pray for the wisdom of government and medical leaders as they formulate contingency plans . . . pray for health care professionals to learn, understand and apply the skills needed to protect against and treat Ebola and other tropical diseases . . . pray that fear will not cripple those who need to step into action.

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