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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Dearest Philemon … I am Praying for You

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints.
Philemon 4-5

Ladies, whatever happened to the fine art of letter writing? You know; I know; the culprit of course is technology, which I love as much as the next gal. Well, maybe not as much. I still have a flip phone, texting is foreign to me, and Facebook is in my bad books. But email has become my choice of written communication. It is fast. It is easy. And I do it. Even though I loved to write letters, I took forever getting around to it.

You also know how much the apostle Paul would have enjoyed the computer. Like the USPS, “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” got in his way. Think if he had email. Thirteen of his letters survived; others, hinted at, were lost. This, his brief note to Philemon, has pertinent lessons for us today. 

Although there is no evidence to suggest that Paul and Philemon ever met, Paul calls him our dear friend and fellow worker (vs1). Think along the lines of a friendship, Paul’s and Timothy’s and Philemon’s, rooted in God’s agape love and common purpose. 

Think, too, how that love has transported Philemon’s faith in the Lord Jesus and his love for all the saints (vs5) into Paul’s prayers. I can only imagine how much it would mean to him to know that Paul was thanking God for him on a regular basis.

Added to that thankfulness were Paul’s entreaties—that Philemon would continue to be active in sharing his faith (vs6) and in refreshing the hearts of the saints (vs7). Not only would those who heard about Jesus for the first time benefit. The folks in his home church would thrive under his loving care. And, Philemon’s understanding of every good thing we have in Christ (vs6) would motivate him to further share about Jesus. 

Yes, and Paul, too, was being showered with great joy and encouragement (vs7) by Philemon’s carrying the message of Jesus to Colosse when he, himself, was stuck in Rome under house arrest.  

What a great example, ladies. Think of a friend who needs to know you are praying for her regularly. Send her an email, maybe even a letter. Do it today. Tell her how it blesses you to see her share her faith and refresh the hearts of her friends. Tell her how much joy you get from seeing her love on God’s people.       

Nancy P

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