Paul a prisoner, under the most adverse conditions, found opportunity to serve the Lord. And, even though he was about to be put on trial for his life, he never forgot to remember a Christian brother who was far away in distance from him, and to cover him in prayer.
“I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints”. (Philemon 4-5)
Read today’s scripture again … I love this! It shows such compassion for others, something that is much lacking in the Body of Christ today. Everywhere we go, the focus is on “us”! Lord, bless ME. Lord, supply MY needs. Lord, save MY kids. Lord, heal MY body. Me, My, and Mine. It’s everywhere! Yet in Paul’s prayer we see an exhortation that focuses on others. How would you like to have been the first-hand recipient of such a letter from someone who has been imprisoned for his faith and who suffered persecution beyond our ability to comprehend because of his love of the Lord? What an honor Paul pays to Philemon, a co-laborer and brother in the Lord!
Paul’s example to us is one of a man of much prayer. And, the prayer wasn’t selfish in nature in the least. Throughout the epistles, we find many instances where Paul is praying for others while imprisoned or off in some remote place. Today’s society lives by the adage: “Out of sight, out of mind!” Not Paul!
Here’s another example: “[I] cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:16) And, another: “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy” (Phil 1:3-4).
Let’s follow Paul’s example and make a habit of blessing others through prayer, not just occasionally, but regularly, passionately, and fervently. Then, let those for whom you are praying know that you are praying for them. Lift them up, call them up, and build them up using Paul’s pattern … he prayed for them, he contacted them, and he built them up with encouraging words, acknowledging their faith, their fervor, and their zeal. Can you imagine what the Body of Christ would be like if we followed this example daily?
“But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)
Father, I fall so short with so many of my prayers focusing on me, mine, and all that pertains to us while You have plainly given us the example through Paul to lift up our brothers and sisters, to exhort them and to encourage them. Father, forgive me for my selfish ways; put me in remembrance of others daily who need Your touch, who need to hear that they are prayed for, and whose lives are important to me as well as to You. Father, teach us Your ways and help us turn from our self-awareness and give us the gift of Kingdom awareness. In Jesus’ precious name we pray, amen and amen!
© Jan Ross
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