One of the best things about the discipline of praying for organized lists of people is that God impresses me with difficult people to pray for. It strains my prayer life to pray for people I do not necessarily like. It stretches my faith to pray for people whom I can hardly imagine changing.
I pray daily for family members who have ruined their lives and the lives of others I love. And I find myself asking, "How could God straighten out the mess they have made?" I also pray for people with whom I fiercely disagree. I know I could not change their minds. Can God change their hearts or mine? I am often doubtful when I come to the names of some of these people. I have begun saying, "I am taking this person to You, Father. You can do anything."
This seems to be enough to ease the anxiety of my unbelief. The key to strengthening our faith is in recognizing the greatness and nearness of God. This prayer not only rests in His great power, but also on His ability to understand the complex problems people are facing. I do not necessarily believe this is strong faith, but focusing on God is certainly the step of faith I need in praying for difficult people and circumstances.