Editors note: The purpose of this series is to help our readers think through what prayer is and how they can improve their prayer lives.

Charles Spurgeon:

Then, again, permit me to say, how are you to prove your love to Christ or to his church if you refuse to pray for men? “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” If we do not love the brethren, we are still dead. I will aver no man loves the brethren who does not pray for them. What! It is the very least thing you can do, and if you do not perform the least, you certainly will fail in the greater. You do not love the brethren unless you pray for them, and then it follows you are dead in trespasses and sins. Let me ask you again how is it that you hope to get your own prayers answered if you never plead for others? Will not the Lord say, “Selfish wretch, thou art always knocking at my door, but it is always to cry for thine own welfare and never for another’s; inasmuch as thou hast never asked for a blessing for one of the least of these my brethren, neither will I give a blessing to thee. Thou lovest not the saints, thou lovest not thy fellow men, how canst thou love me whom thou hast not seen, and how shall I love thee and give thee the blessing which thou askest at my hands?” Brethren, again I say I would earnestly exhort you to intercede for others, for how can you be Christians if you do not? Christians are priests, but how priests if they offer no sacrifice? Christians are lights, but how lights unless they shine for others? Christians are sent into the world, even as Christ was sent into the world, but how sent unless they are sent to pray? Christians are meant not only to be blessed themselves, but in them shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, but how if you refuse to pray? Give up your profession, cast down, I pray you, the ephod of a priest if you will not burn the incense, renounce your Christianity if you will not carry it out, make not a mock and sport of solemn things. And you must do so if you still refuse selfishly to give to your friends a part and a lot in your supplications before the throne. O brethren, let us unite with one heart and with one soul to plead with God for this neighbourhood!

(from a sermon delivered on August 8, 1861, by Charles H. Spurgeon)