I love the spiritual expression where God continues to love those who know Him and He gives favour and does good things towards those who are in right standing with Him. It is here in this thought that I should know of my need to pray that I can stay in this part of my relationship with Him.
Continue to love those who know you and to do good to those who are righteous. – Psalm 36:10 GNT
Even though I have experienced His love and grace, I need a continuing flow and I need to ask Him for it.
In trouble, I make a decision. Do I let the accuser set the agenda or am I intentional about allowing the Holy Spirit to become involved in the process. It is a decision that requires deliberate, careful, thoughtful, and spiritual insight and action. Especially because I am prone to operate out of my humanity and most unspiritual nature. It is why the world is filled with broken relationships, unhealed hurts and prolonged divisions. Paul tries to tell Philemon that there is a different way, that we can approach God first through prayer, before we accuse and speed up the level of conflict.
Brother Philemon, every time I pray, I mention you and give thanks to my God. For I hear of your love for all of God’s people and the faith you have in the Lord Jesus. My prayer is that our fellowship with you as believers will bring about a deeper understanding of every blessing which we have in our life in union with Christ. Your love, dear brother, has brought me great joy and much encouragement! You have cheered the hearts of all of God’s people. – Philemon 4-7 GNT
What a great example of starting a prayer with thankfulness. Even though there is conflict, and let’s face it, most of his letters were sent to churches where there was conflict, he takes time to thank God for them and their church family. Paul approach to conflict was not to be the accuser but the one who prayed.
In fact, I believe that it is evidence of Paul’s spiritual practices – to pray for others. Paul knew that prayer mattered especially when it came to conflict.
His prayer also give a secret to how hearts are changed – “our fellowship with you as believers will bring about a deeper understanding.” Special things happen among the relationships of believers. Things that were thought to be impossible, are now possible. So Paul prays that God would set the right conditions so that something new and transformative would take place between the two in conflict. Paul recognizes, by prayer, that God is the only one who can make this reconciliation possible. So I have learned that when I pray for those I am in conflict with, I do not only thank God for them, I ask Him to make the conditions right – God working on mine and their soul, so that our faith can see the powerful effect of God in our lives.