But, then life gets busy (as life often does) and I don't ever actually say a prayer. Is the intent to pray the same thing?
I think not, even though the Bible says this in Matthew 6:8....
Don't be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!Yes, God knows what you need. He knows all things. But, He also wants (and commands) us to pray. He wants us to rely fully on Him and go to Him in full trust that He will answer our prayers. If we just assume that He is going to take care of everything without us asking (praying), we are not being faithful servants.
So, the next time I see someone asking for prayer and I automatically reply "I'll be praying for you" I will stop right then and pray for that person. I will continue to be intentional about my prayer time and thanking God for all that He has done in my life and asking that I will do His will and not my own.
I'm terribly guilty of skipping prayer time. I can't do that any longer. The only way for me to grow closer in my relationship to God is to spend time with Him. Time in prayer and time in His word.