I'm the one who made the original posting about the prayer list. Thanks to those who have already made use of it!
Just so I'm clear...
1) The list, as someone already pointed out, asks only for first names. I'm sure there's not just one, but a few hundred if not thousand Chris's and other such names on that list that are currently living, were baptized Orthodox, but have fallen away from Orthodoxy. If I ever find someone included a last name or other inappropriate information I will erase it as soon as I see it.
2)ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š If you have a son or daughter who has fallen away from faith, what weapons do you have to help them from falling into the abyss? We all know how seriously the Church views those who fall away. All too often our words and deeds fail, we cannot do anything else but PRAY. Your private prayers are certainly being heard, but we also read in the Gospel of St. Matthew (18:20): "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." This is clearly a call to communal prayer, for us to be involved in each other's salvation, not just to be secluded monads. That's why we have a Church!
The Internet gives us a marvellous opportunity to practice communal prayer. I think it is a mistake not to take such an opportunity, especially if someone's soul is in jeopardy. Don't we all know the price of a soul's loss? We're all ready to call an ambulance when we see someone's life in danger and involve as many people as it takes to save their life, how is this any different?
I'm sure if any of us were ever in spiritual chaos, we would appreciate as many people as possible petitioning the Lord on our behalf. Also, not all people are comfortable asking people they know to pray for someone in such a situation. We also know that we're often asked to pray for someone, but we usually don't take the time to do so, or do it laggardly, or we simply forget. With a system like this, where every person adds a name of someone they care about, they are asked to remember the names of the others on that list as well. Thus we are helping ensure that we are not alone in our prayers, that every time a new person visits the list and adds a name, that person is praying with us.
3) I've included some guidelines on how to use the list, and how NOT to use the list. I do certainly hope that people are obeying these guidelines, that is something I leave up to their conscience. I for one feel the Lord will always put our prayer to the right use, regardless of how the list is used. But this does not excuse people from ignoring the guidelines, if the list is full of the names of people who for one or another reason don't belong there, it would be a shame to tax the energy of a prayerful person in a way outside of what is intended. Those who wish to make their own lists are welcome to do so, if you sign up at http://www.wikispaces.org
you can get your own space.
I also would like to point out that one should not discuss whether or not to put someone's name up in a public forum like this, that already goes against the spirit of the list.