I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers. Philemon 1:4 (NKJV)
Prayer is a supernatural tool for developing genuine compassion and a burden for the needs of others. If we are honest, most of our time spent in prayer is for our personal requirements, sprinkled in with a pinch of worship and a neighborly request or two for others for good measure.
Laboring in prayer for the welfare of those mentioned does not come naturally, does it? That is why when you begin earnestly and systematically to intercede for others, you find a strange release from your selfish bent. Less time is spent on yourself, but spend significantly more time praying for the needs of others.
In so doing, prayer becomes the spiritual scalpel that lifts off the stifling layers of self-preoccupation. You are freed to heed Jesus’ great command: “Love one another, just as I have loved you” (John 15:12 NASB).