A couple of thoughts from the article.
"For some of his critics, it might be satisfying to see a man who has made a career of skewering organized religion switch sides near the end of his life and pray silently for help fighting a ravaging disease."
Satisfying? Well, maybe, but not for the reasons that the world might think. As Christians, we know there is no hope apart from Jesus Christ, and that there is still hope through Him, even for an outspoken atheist. Hitchens will probably never come to faith - it becomes a pride issue now, how would that look to all of his loyal atheist fans? But then again, nothing is impossible with God. A Christian should not see a change of heart as a "win" for our side, but rather, the salvation of a man who deserves eternal punishment just like the rest of us, to the glory of the Lord who saves.
Hitchens may not know it or want to believe it, but he will glorify God at the end of his life in one way or another. Either as a demonstration of God's holy righteousness as justice is done through eternal punishment, or as a demonstration of God's holy grace and mercy in salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Those are the only two options, and God is glorified either way.
"The way the English-born Hitchens sees it, the people praying for him break down into three basic groups: those who seem genuinely glad he's suffering and dying from cancer; those who want him to become a believer in their religious faith; and those who are asking God to heal him."
His first group couldn't be Christians. Any group that is held together by their hatred of another group simply cannot have the love of Christ in them. If these are professed believers, they are hypocrites, false teachers and deceivers.
The last group, asking God to heal him, would buy him more time but that in itself would not change his eternal fate. Paul asked to be healed from the thorn in his flesh and the Lord told him no. All the disciples, and many others faced martyrdom for their beliefs. This is part of living under the curse of sin. I wouldn't be a part of this group.
The middle group, those who "want him to become a believer in their religious faith" could probably be better defined. Why do they want him to become a believer? Is it because they want a big hit against the other side, that when it really comes down to it, even atheists will turn? The "no atheists in foxholes" sort of argument? That would only strengthen the stubbornness of the rest of them.
Or is it because they know his fate without Jesus Christ in his life, and know that we all deserve eternal punishment in hell because we've all sinned against an eternal God? Is it because God has provided a way out of this fate that we deserve and it is available to any who would call on His name? Is it for this man's salvation and the glory of God alone that we'd like to see him come to faith? That's the group I would fit into.