But for some reason I do a good job of praying for a while and then I slip into "quick prayers" for "those closest and who have asked for prayer recently" and it just gets less regular from there. Yet I am very aware of St. Paul's advice in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 -- Pray regularly.
Part of it is my changing perspective on prayer. I no longer think of prayer as a wheedling, whining demand that God fix things according to my idea of what would be better. I'm torn because I have no problem laying the deepest longings of my heart before God, Who I believe already knows them better than I do myself. And I believe that God is always committed to the highest good for each and all of God's children. My limited human perspective is always going to be incomplete and may even be so far off base as to be pleading for the exactly WRONG thing from God for the well-being of my loved one. Even when I pray for healing for someone I love, I struggle with the selfish desire to have them healed for MY benefit: because I don't want to loose them from my earthly life, because I don't want to watch people I love deal with the challenges that life on earth without them will bring.
So this is where I am today: Today I thank God for all the people on my prayer list, and I thank God for the blessings God pours into their lives and the blessing they are in mine. I ask God to woo them and whisper God's Love in their ears and break their hearts only enough to give them hearts of love and power and hope and joy and peace that they might tingle with love of and for God. I ask that God keep me from causing any damage to their spiritual journey and to give me words of mercy and love according to God's Will.
Today I ask God to give me eyes to see and ears to hear so I can discern where and how to can use my hands and feet (and sometimes voice) to reflect God's trustworthiness and power and constancy and love and joy and hope and peace into the lives of folks at the drive through and the gas station and the grocery store and next door and down the street and in my family of birth and family of choice, and work family and church family and community family.
Today I love praising God for all the forgiveness, healing, renewal, rehabilitation, redemption and forgiveness that GOD has poured into my life and continues to pour into my life. I thank God that Christ was Love and Truth and Light to a broken world so I am now free to turn my face to God with hope rather than fear, anticipation rather than trepidation, trust rather than trembling, confidence rather than dis-ease. I thank God that the Spirit of God informs my life in every space where God has helped me pry out selfishness, ego, fear and indifference.
So if you ask me to pray for you I will be so grateful for the opportunity to do so. But I won't be praying to a Vending Machine God who I direct to make things miraculously without challenge; rather I will be thanking God for the healing God has for you, the hope God has for you, the presence of God by your side and I will be lifting you up that you might be filled with the light and love and discernment that is your just inheritance by the blood of Christ through the power of the Spirit of God.