I have a friend who is very ill and has been for quite some time. There is a prayer I pray for my friend. I don't use the same words every time, but I find myself expressing the same sentiments. It pops into my mind to pray, so I do. I've prayed the prayer out loud in my Sunday school class. I thought I'd share what I pray (more or less) when I speak with my Father.

Father, my friend is sick, so sick that death seems close. My friend is one of Yours, a firm believer even during this worst of times.

I wonder, Father, if You would send healing, if it is not out of Your will. I can't help but think of all the times You saved people in the Bible. A vast army bears down on tiny Israel, and You sweep that army away. A starving mother fixes herself and her son a last meal before laying down to die, and You come and save her. A woman caught in adultery faces a menacing mob of men, and You turn them away with a word. A woman bleeds for many years and bankrupts herself on quacks, and You heal her with a touch. Always there seems to be no hope, nowhere to turn. Death bares its fangs and leaps to strike, but You snatch its prey away, and they are safe in Your hands.

My friend is in the same predicament. There is no escape. The door is slammed shut and double-locked from the other side. No man can save, earthly options are futile, and the doctors look on, thwarted in every effort. There is only pain, discomfort, and exhaustion. Will You heal?

Isn't this just the type of situation You like? There is no man or thing that can steal Your glory should You heal. They're all helpless against the disease. They just paw at the air. There is no drug or machine that will cure. All are powerless and nod in acknowledgement of that fact. They pronounce the sentence and offer palliation. Only You can help now, and everyone knows it. Won't You help?

When my children were young, from time to time I would throw them in the air or perform some trick, and they would beg "Do it again!" I find myself in the same position when I read of all the wonders you did in the Bible. I think of my friend, and I say "Do it again!" Be that God again, right now! Humble those arrogant doctors who are so sure of their prognosis. Confound them with astonishment! Let all know You are God! You tell us to call You abba father or "Daddy". You tell us to become like children in our love and faith in You. Does it please You when I plead for You to "Do it again!", like a child?

You are all-powerful and healing is such a simple, small thing to You, but I don't know if it is a good and wise thing to ask. I don't know Your plans for my friend, and we all know You have incredible things prepared for us after death, unimaginable things, indescribable joy. I confess I don't know whether it's not better to ask for death, quick and merciful, when our futures are that bright.

So often, it seems I speak the same words to You. I've prayed this prayer so many times, it seems it might bore You. But often, You remind me of the parable of the woman who constantly begged the judge for justice in her case. Over and over she pleaded, and You said, that even though the judge might normally never give her a second glance, yet he will give her case personal attention just to be rid of her. And then You said how much more will God answer the fervent prayers of His own children! So I continue to pray.

You are the Great Physician. Help my friend. Heal my friend. If it is good and fits Your will, "Do it again!" But if it is my friend's time, if there is no other outcome to be considered, then I pray for a quick and glorious entrance into Your presence, my friend's coronation day, and bring strength and comfort to friends and family, a confidence that their loved one reigns with Christ.