Philemon 1:4

Monday, 9 July 2018

I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, Philemon 1:4

The words of this verse are rather similar in content to Romans 1:9, Ephesians 1:16, Philippians 1:3,4, Colossians 1:3, 4 & 1 Thessalonians 1:2. In other words, it is a greeting which, even if slightly amended for the occasion, is common to Paul’s letters. In some letters, the stress is on the thanks, in others it is on the prayers. For example, it is rather close to the words of Colossians 1:3 –

“We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,”

However, when he wrote his letter to the Colossians, he noticeably mentions “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here in Philemon, he has already carefully placed Christ Jesus within the Godhead in the previous verse, and so the thanks are obviously to Him as much as they are to the Father. Therefore, Paul combines the two into the simpler term “God.”

Here he notes that he is “making mention of you always in my prayers.” Paul’s idea of “praying without ceasing,” which he states in 1 Thessalonians 5, is evident in words such as these. Whenever the thought of one of his beloved brethren or churches came to mind, he would utter forth a prayer to God on their behalf. To him, praying was certainly a normal extension of his regular life and conversation with others.

Life application: God already knows the end from the beginning. His plan is also complete in His mind. Despite this, we should not have a fatalistic view of life where we ignore prayers. Instead, God figures our prayers into the plan, just as our free-will calling on Jesus is figured into the plan. If we don’t receive Jesus, we will not be saved. Likewise, prayers that are not uttered are not heard. God’s foreknowledge of all things outside of time factors in our actions within the stream of time. Pray!

Heavenly Father, You have granted to us is the opportunity and honor to pray. When we open our hearts to You, You hear and respond according to Your great wisdom. With Jesus as our Mediator between us, we can know that those prayers which are offered through Him are acceptable to You. We have no need to worry if what our lips have prayed out to You are heard or not. They are! Thank You for our Mediator! Our prayers are heard because of Him. Amen.

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