The following thoughts are from a chapter about a Puritan named Anthony Burgess in Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer by Joel Beeke and Brian Najapfour. There are many helpful points in the chapter, which focuses largely on Burgess’s teaching about Christ’s prayer in John 17. I found the following summary of Burgess’s teaching on praying for one another to be helpful:
“1) God has made you part of the body of Christ. If a part of your own body is injured, how does it affect you? You should have the same empathy for the body of Christ as for your own body.
2) God instituted prayer as a means to help others. Instead, we are quick to criticize each other. Rather than finding fault, we should pray for fellow believers. That is our duty.
3) Praying for one another will ease differences, jealousies, and suspicions. It will make the godly of one heart and one mind. If you find yourself thinking how poorly a brother has treated you, pray for that man. It will immediately ‘quiet those winds and waves.'” (Beeke and Najapfour, 103-104)
B. M. Palmer has a great thought in his first chapter of his Theology of Prayer. He writes, ““Upon this soul is stamped the seal of divine attributes. In his intelligence man dimly reflects the divine wisdom; in his affections, the divine benevolence; in his conscience, the divine rectitude; in his will, the divine power. Such a being can find his true sphere only in God. All these endowments point to that august source from which they are derived, as the only goal to which they aspire; and the comprehensive act in which they all embark is the homage of an intelligent and eternal worship. To this end was man invested with ‘dominion over the works of God’s hands,’ that, as the priest of nature, he might walk through the aisles of her vast cathedral, and lead the whole choir of earth in chants of thanksgiving and joy. It is his office to gather the inarticulate praises of this dumb world into his censer, investing them with his own intelligence and thought, and lighting them at the fire of his own devotion; and then, as the voice of nature, to pour the flood of praise forever upon Him who has created all for His glory.”
May we continually look for more incense to put in our censers to offer to the One who made us for His glory.