“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.”
Colossians 1:9-12 NASB
I pray often and I pray for those who need it. But when I look at Paul's prayers, I am ashamed. Have you noticed that his prayers rarely consist of requests for temporal matters? Take a look at what Paul prays for for his readers. He prays that they would....
1. Be filled with the knowledge of His will
2. That this knowledge would be in all spiritual wisdom and understanding
3. That they would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord
4. That they would please Him in all respects
5. That they would bear fruit in every good work
6. That they would increase in the knowledge of God
7. That they would be strengthened with all power according to His might
8. That they would attain steadfastness and patience
9. That they would be joyously giving thanks to the Father
That's quite a prayer list! Notice that this list centers around spiritual issues and it is applicable to everyone who you might pray for! There is nothing wrong with praying about temporal issues, but as I read the prayers of Paul I see he puts an emphasis on praying for spiritual things for his readers.
We might pray for Aunt Sally's knee pain to be relieved, but more importantly, perhaps we should pray that God would strengthen her faith in this trial and cause her to develop the qualities listed here as well as give her relief if that is His will.
I would venture to guess that if we prayed like this for our friends that we would begin to see our own trials in a new light.