"God ... is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times." — Romans 1:9-10
Our prayers need a balance of praise, intercession, thanksgiving, and confession. It's important for us to remember that praise cannot really take place until there's a confessing of sins that might be hindering our prayers. We cannot pray effectively if things aren't right between ourselves and God as well as between ourselves and our neighbors. Jesus leaves little doubt about it, teaching us to ask daily, "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" (Matthew 6:12).
Praying for one another is our calling as we journey in faith together. In his book Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, "Intercession is a daily service we owe to God and our brother. It's a gift of God's grace." It can happen in worship as well as while driving to work. Praying Christians pray anytime and anywhere—and they truly make a difference.
While we pray for others, we must not be afraid to ask others to pray for us. Life is complicated for everyone. When praying for others or asking for prayer, our bond of unity is strengthened. Our attitude toward those for whom we pray often changes us. After all, Jesus calls us to love even our enemies, and he says, "Pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).
As a follow-up to praying for someone, consider sending a note of encouragement: "I'm remembering you in my prayers." And you might also add, "Please pray for me too."