Welcome to SoM!
A good place to start on site is Newbie Central (Home > Newbie Central). Outside of that before getting involved in spells and casting I would recommend reading up a general knowledge on what magic is and what it can and can't do. Follow that with learning "the basics", or more so the fundamental aspects underpinning practice, and you'll be well on your way.
When it comes to intent that is a personal choice, there aren't any rules written in stone about what you should and shouldn't use magic for. Magic can work in with religious spirituality depending on your perception and understanding of it.