Now I would first say that when praying for others we need to know if that person is a believer or an unbeliever. If the person is an unbeliever, there really is only one prayer for them. It is to pray for the salvation of this unconverted person. So if an unbeliever is sick, I will pray that this sickness would be used by God to show this person the disease of sin in their hearts and the healing that is found in the great Physician Jesus Christ. It is best not to pray that God would comfort them or heal, unless this situation would lead to their salvation. For what good is it if a person lived to 100 years old and then died and entered the fires of hell?
One of Paul's prayers for the church is found in Colossians 1:9-14. While Paul did not plant this church he deeply cared for this church. He prayed regularly for those whom he never met. Lets look at a few aspects of what Paul prayed for this church.
1) Knowledge and wisdom
Paul prayed that God would fill them with the knowledge of His will. Paul wanted God to teach the Colossians the great truths of the Word of God. God's word reveals His will for us. But we need Him to teach us these truth for we cannot understand them apart from His Spirit. There are many hard truths to understand. It is easy to mistreat or misunderstand God's word. One doesn't became wise and discerning over night. Being able to correctly handle the word of God doesn't come in an instant. We need to pray desperately that God would make us and others understand His word as He intended. But more than praying that the Colossians would understand God's word, Paul prays that they would have the wisdom to apply it to the many and varied situations that they would come into. Knowledge or understanding of truth is not enough. We need the skill to bring the truth to bear on the situation at hand. All this teaches us the importance of the scriptures in our sanctification. God uses His word by His Spirit to conform us into the image of Christ. We need to read, study and meditate on His word if we hope to grow as Christians.
2) A fruitful life of holiness
This request flows out of the last two. A right theology and a right understanding of how to apply it should lead to us living a life that pleases God. We need to put our theology to work. Paul desires that they should live a godly life; a life filled with the fruit of the Spirit. A life in which we serve others with our spiritual gifts. Evangelizing the lost, giving our money to the cause of Christ, and praising and thanking God are all ways in which we can bear much fruit. All Christians will bear some fruit, but our desire should be that we and others should bear much fruit.
3) Knowledge of God
As we know God's word better we will learn more about Him. As we walk with Him in holiness, we will come to know Him in a more practical and experiential way. Knowing facts about God is not enough, we must have a deeper relationship with our God. According to 1 John 1;13, a mature Christian is one who knows "him who is from the beginning."
Paul knows that a fruitful and godly life lived with God is more than we can manage on our own. We need God's power to help us to live this way. So Paul prays that God would strengthen them with His almighty power. This power is infinite and never diminishing. That power is always there for His people. Paul asks God that He would strengthen His people with this power so that they can live in a manner worthy of the Lord and so that they may continue to live in this way till their earthly life is done. We persevere because God ,with His almighty power, holds us in His hands and will not let us go. We should always be praying for God's power to help us live for His glory.
We should always be thankful. We have been taken out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. God has redeemed us from slavery to sin and the devil. God has forgiven us all our sins through Christ. He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings. We have a glorious and never ending inheritance that can never be taken away which is in heaven for us. Besides this, every moment and situation of our life God is using for our good. Even the most terrible situations are for our good. We can indeed always rejoice and be thankful to God.
I hope and pray that this will help you to beef up your gaunt prayers for the glory of our King and His kingdom.