…real prayer brings us closer to our fellow human beings. Prayer is the first and indispensable discipline of compassion precisely because prayer is also the first expression of human solidarity. Why is this so? Because the Spirit who prays in us is the Spirit by whom all human beings are brought together in unity and community. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of peace, unity, and reconciliation, constantly reveals itself to us as the power through whom people from the most diverse social, political, economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds are brought together as sisters and brothers of the same Christ and daughters and sons of the same Father.
To prevent ourselves from slipping into spiritual romanticism or pious sentimentality, we must pay careful attention to the compassionate presence of the Holy Spirit. The intimacy of prayer is the intimacy created by the Holy Spirit who, as the bearer of the new mind and the new time, does not exclude but rather includes our fellow human beings. In the intimacy of prayer, God is revealed to us as the One who loves all members of the human family just as personally and uniquely as God loves us. Therefore, a growing intimacy with God deepens our sense of responsibility for others. It evokes in us an always increasing desire to bring the whole world with all its suffering and pains around the divine fire in our heart and to share the revitalizing heat with all who want to come.
Henri Nouwen from Compassion (Doubleday: 1982) quoted in The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life (Crossroad: 1999, pp.61-62).