If we want to truly love one another, as brothers and sisters in Christ—if we want to truly “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3)—then there is one thing we must do: We must pray for each other.

It is that simple … and that difficult. For while praying is a basic Christian duty, it does require time, effort, intention, and sometimes a great deal of perseverance—all of which make praying for each other a true act of service, a giving of ourselves to another.

It is easy to say, “I am praying for you,” or to comment “praying” on a social media post, but never actually pray. Or, to pray superficially. How much better would it be to pray for others in the manner we want them to pray for us?

There are many ways we can do good for each other, and may we do those things—but never to the neglect of prayer. Sometimes we may do nothing more than call a person’s name out to God, and other times we may be moved to pray intensely, with great understanding and empathy.

It comes down to this: We pray because God commanded it and because we need it. We need others praying for us, and we need to be praying for them. Prayer binds us together and draws us further into the ways of Christ (see John 17).

Who are you praying for today?

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith,
with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
 praying at all times in the Spirit,
with all prayer and supplication.
To that end, keep alert with all perseverance,
making supplication for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:16, 18 ESV)