Praying for Junior Doctors

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I wrote about how we should think about and respond to the Junior Doctors’ strike on Friday last week.  One crucial thing that I did not mention there is that whenever a particular issue or controversy arises, it should primarily prompt us to pray for those involved.  A key player in the dispute is the Government and we are instructed to pray for those who have authority.  I hope that we do pray regularly for our political leaders, regardless of their party affiliations.

I hope also that the NHS industrial actions has encouraged and reminded us to pray for Christians involved in healthcare.  I write specifically about the UK situation but you can translate this across to other countries and contexts.

As I mentioned in my previous article, there are pressures that come with working in the health service.  Junior Doctors experience long hours, they are expected to make big decisions under pressure.  We know that resources are heavily stretched.  We also should not underestimate the potential and significant emotional toll of witnessing extreme pain and suffering which may well lead to a form of PTSD for some doctors.

Then there are specific challenges for Christian doctors.  There’s the impact of anti-social hours and long shifts on their ability to participate in the life of the church, potentially missing significant numbers church services and small groups. There’s the uncertainty at the end of each rotation as t where they might be next and whether that will require them to move home and church.  These pressures are not of course unique to doctors but they are one particular profession that is significantly affected by them.

Then there have been the substantial changes to thinking in terms of medical ethics especially around abortion, end of life care and the creep towards acceptance of euthanasia.  Whilst doctors may have conscience clauses in areas of disputed ethics, going against the flow will no doubt prove to be career limiting for many just starting out in the profession now. 

So, I would encourage you to:

  • Get to know any doctors/medics in your church that there might be.  Find ways to encourage them and offer fellowship.  Learn about their specific prayer needs.
  • Pray for resilience and protection as they experience the demands of their jobs.
  • Pray that they would enjoy their work and find delight in being able to offer care for others.  That this would be a joy, not a burden.

Pray for courage for them when they have to take a stand on ethical issues and again for protection.

Pray for them to have opportunities to witness for Christ in their work.

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