It is by prayer that we test the genuineness of our faith, when we turn to our God and call upon His name, and when we do not think only about ourselves and our concerns but generally include all who are joined to us and who are, in one way or another, close to us. God has established the bond of unity between all men, so that they should acknowledge each other as brothers, or else as neighbors. So, in our prayers, this is the practice we should follow: our prayers should not be concentrated only on ourselves or on our acquaintances. Our love and concern should extend to everyone, whether great or small, whether intimate friends or strangers. Of course, nothing stops us respecting those relationships which Scripture itself commends to us. If we want to pray to God for all men, we must begin with those who are united with us in faith and in obedience to the gospel, for they are members, so to speak, of God’s household. Nevertheless, in our prayers for the faithful, we should feel compassion and pity for helpless unbelievers who continue to walk in error and ignorance. We should entreat God to draw them to us so that, together, we may be of the same mind. – John Calvin (1509-1564) on 1 Timothy 2.1-2.
from a forthcoming volume of 54 sermons on 1 Timothy by John Calvin, translated from the French by Robert White, to be published later this year by the Banner of Truth Trust.