Read Mark 6:12-13
12 So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. (NRSV)
Some Christians are very thorough when it comes to following Jesus. We must take him seriously. We must not assume the age of miracles is dead. We must believe we have at least a measure of his power.
And yet when it comes to healing the sick, some of those same people can only pray that doctors and nurses do their best. Nothing at all wrong with that, but perhaps we can do more. We can actually pray for healing, believing God does indeed work (usually) through medical means, but can go above and beyond those means if he so chooses. The fact that not all are healed does not mean we don’t pray for healing just as the fact that some are not converted does not mean we cease to pray for conversions.
However, we run into problems when we insist on healing; when we imply that lingering sickness is a result of sin or lack of faith. One practitioner of Christian healing, Francis MacNutt, warns against universalising one method or one past experience of healing. He says this amounts to controlling God, and turns grace into law.
More healing happens today than in Jesus’ time thanks to medical advances. Praying for healing is not in opposition to such means of healing. It is one part of it. Besides, our prayers for healing are to be holistic: encompassing the whole person not just the body. We are not to leave healing entirely up to medical professionals. Nor do we dismiss them out of some super-spiritual condescension.
We pray that a sick person be healed because we love them. We let God decide the means, and let God decide the results.