I've uttered those words countless times before, but within the last 1.5 years, Nat and I have earnestly tried to pray for someone or something when we've said we'll pray. We've failed, I'll admit. But it's an encouragement to me at the end of each day when my husband says, "do you have any prayer requests from today?" That reminds me of the people and situations I said I would pray about during the day, and then we do so at night before we go to bed.
I heard a missionary years ago who said one of the biggest encouragements he received on the field was when people would respond to an e-mail he sent saying something like, "praying for you, brother" or "prayed." It takes all of 15-30 seconds to write a quick note back and to hit the send button. What a good habit to get into!
Another tool I have found helpful is to pray as soon as I receive an e-mail asking for prayer. The prayer request is fresh in my mind and again only takes a couple of minutes. Of course then I send a quick reply: "prayed for you!"
Last week I sent an e-mail to my church's e-mail list asking for prayer for my uncle ~ the one who has cancer. What a pleasant surprise it was to open my e-mail the next morning and have ten responses! Most of them were a simple "prayed!" while some told me exactly what they were praying for. All of the responses were a huge blessing to me, because these dear friends expressed (1) they read the e-mail :D (2) they took enough time out of their day to stop and pray.
Just this morning I saw a prayer request on facebook. I don't know the situation (other than what was posted on facebook) but I jotted out a quick note in response and prayed for God's will to be done in the situation, for peace to prevail within the family, and for souls to be brought to Christ as a result of this situation.
Oh believers, we can't afford to drop this weapon of prayer! Let's make it a priority to pray today... and to let people know we're praying for them. Too much is at stake to think we'll have time to pray later. Sometimes later doesn't come.