Making mention of you in my prayers
Philemon 1:4-6 Do you pray for your friends when you think of them?
Photo © 2023, Steven Sande
“I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints; and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.”
Philemon 1:4-6 NASB1995
Do you pray for your friends when you think of them? If someone you know is mentioned on Facebook or on other social media, does your heart reach out to them with a short — or long — conversation with God on their behalf?
Today’s verse is from a very short (1 chapter, 25 verses) letter from Paul to his friend Philemon, a resident of Colosse, home to the early Christians mentioned in Colossians. In many of Paul’s epistles, he sends his greetings and instruction to those he has met in his travels, and at this point Paul is imprisoned in Rome. Philemon’s slave, Onesimus, has escaped and joined with Paul in Rome, and is providing physical and emotional support to Paul. Paul, in return, has converted Onesimus to Christianity. Later in this letter, Paul tells Philemon that he’s sending Onesimus back to him, in hopes that Philemon will set him free from slavery and treat him as a beloved brother in Christ.
In these verses, Paul tells Philemon that he “makes mention” of his friend in his prayers. Although the matter Paul will ask Philemon about shortly is rather serious, he does not say that he’s making long, convoluted prayers to God — instead, he always prays to God and sends prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord on Philemon’s behalf.
Why? Well, it’s because Paul — even in his imprisonment — is hearing nothing but good things about the strength of Philemon’s faith. He is a true, devoted Christian, showing deep faith toward the Lord Jesus and also toward “all the saints”, meaning every true Christian — not just exceptional ones.
In the next verse, Paul prays for Philemon to gain more awareness that every good thing in his life came about as a result of God. Once Philemon acknowledges and understands that fact and shares that news with others, they will also come to Jesus. He’s essentially stating a tenet of evangelism — sharing your faith may not be effective if you don’t know or can’t communicate every good thing God has done for you! Testimony is important!
Back to my original question — do you pray for friends? I do. Years ago I became online buddies with an Orthodox Jewish techie in California who later moved to Israel with his wife and children. He still lives and works in Israel, but recently I noticed several disturbing trends on his Facebook feed. He divorced his wife and it appears that his faith in God has withered as well, as many of his posts now show him and his children meditating… Every time I see one of his posts on Facebook, I pray to God to bring his family and him back to faith — perhaps through Christianity. Maybe it’s time for me to write an epistle to him…
When I see that Heaven On Wheels has signed up a new reader, or that one of our longtime readers has liked a post, I thank God for those people and ask Him to shower them with blessings. If I hear that an acquaintance, new or old, is having troubles, I pray for them. When friends are celebrating something, I thank God that He is blessing folks I know.
As Paul implies here, it doesn’t take a lot of thought to pray for your friends — just thank God for them and “make mention” of them in your prayers.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Father in Heaven, thank You for all of my brothers and sisters in Christ who have unfailing faith in You. May each one of them continue to grow in grace, becoming more like Jesus each day. I thank You for their lives, for putting them in my life, and for their love and faith in You. Provide them — and me — with opportunities to shave the Good News of salvation with the lost. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.