“I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers…”
The first three verses comprise the introduction to Philemon, and verse four begins the body of the epistle.
I thank my God,
All of Paul’s epistles begin with a thanksgiving except one where it is conspicuous by its absence — Galatians contains no thanksgiving. He did not give thanks for the Galatians because of their serious doctrinal error.
Co 4:2, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving…”
God was personal to Paul, so he uses the term “my,” “my God.” He had a God he could call his own.
Ps 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want [lack].”
Ps 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?”
making mention of you always in my prayers
Paul talked to God about Philemon on his knees. He does not simply offer a prayer or two for Philemon, but he “always” prays for him. Philemon was in Paul’s regular prayers.
1 Sa 12:23, “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.”
Ps 55:17, “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.”
Ac 6:4, “…but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
Ro 12:12, “…rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer…”
Ep 6:18, “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…”
Philemon was on Paul’s prayer list. Paul bathed his leaders in prayer. The word “mention” implies intercession. The occasion for intercession is in Paul’s practice of his regular prayer life.
Continual thanksgiving and intercession is God’s standard for every believer.
Extend your prayer for other people. It is advisable to have a written prayer list. We need to bring the situations and circumstances of others before God in intercessory prayer. Thanksgiving should always be part of intercessory prayer.
Jas 5:16, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
Every Christian should have stated times for prayer, but he should also have an attitude of prayer.
He should keep the receiver off the hook.
1 Th 5:17, “…pray without ceasing…”
We must make time for prayer to have a dynamic spiritual life. We will never have perfect conditions for prayer, so we have to learn to pray under unfavorable conditions.