In our text this week we have the testimony of Philemon, the prayer Philemon needed, and the love of Philemon…
Paul says, “I thank God” for you. Imagine having a testimony so strong in the Lord that Paul would thank God for you! That was Philemon. His testimony was so strong that it stirred Paul to pray for him, not just every now and then, but always. His testimony was steeped in love; also his testimony was that he was strong in faith.
Strong in love and faith yet Philemon still needed prayer; no matter how strong we may think we are we need the prayers of the saints. This is actually the prayer that every strong believer needs. Verse 6 is somewhat complex because it has so much packed into one verse. Simply stated, Paul is asking God to help Philemon to share his faith more and more effectively. Notice that “every good thing” is said to be in Philemon. It is those good things that Paul prays for others to acknowledge and desire in their own lives.
What are those good things? They would, no doubt, be the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The good things would also include life, both abundant and eternal life and the glorious hope of living forever in a new heavens and earth with Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore, the great need of every believer is for prayer; prayer that God will help us share the good things and the hope that we have in Christ.
We also need to be a loving people, Philemon was apparently a man who loved everyone and proved it by helping others. He was a man of compassion and grace who was committed to help those who had need. He refreshed them. Do you refresh people or depress people?