Pray for the Sick
First, be focused. Pray specifically. Avoid generalizations such as “be with them”—since Jesus promised that “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20), we don’t need to pray for his presence. Don’t ask God merely to “bless them”—what does this mean? How would you know God answered? Instead, tell God precisely what you want him to do. When the crowds brought a blind man to Jesus, our Lord asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51). Jesus asks us the same.
Second, be consistent. Jesus teaches us to “ask, and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7). The Greek syntax is literally, “ask and keep on asking.” Not to inform him—the omniscient Lord of the universe “knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8). Not to persuade him—the God who is love (1 John 4:8) wants to do what is best for you. Rather, because prayer positions us to receive what grace intends to give. As we continue to pray, we continue to submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit so he can mold us into the character of Christ (Romans 8:29). The more we pray, the more we are empowered, led, and matured.
Third, be expectant. When we pray, God always gives us what we ask or whatever is best. In the case of physical illness, he will heal us medically, miraculously, or eternally. Sometimes he uses physicians and medical means, so we should pray for him to guide our doctors and other care providers. Sometimes he intervenes in supernatural ways, so we should pray for such grace (the unearned favor of God.) Sometimes he heals us eternally by taking us from our fallen, diseased bodies into Heaven. Unless Jesus returns first, Christians will all be healed in this way one day.
The only thing God cannot do is violate our free will. He has chosen out of his own sovereignty to limit himself to the freedom he has given us. When we position ourselves to receive his medical, miraculous, or eternal healing, we have done our part. Now we can trust him to do his.