I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
We should pray for others a lot. Paul says EVERY time, in ALL my prayers for ALL of you I ALWAYS pray with joy. You get the feeling that Paul frequently remembers his friends. And you get the idea that when Paul remembers his friends, which is very often, that he prays for them.
That challenges me. How often do I think of someone and don’t think to pray for them? Part of being a Christian and caring for people, I think, is that we will pray for others whenever we think of them. I’m not suggesting that we should make sure we pray a solid chunk of however many hours a day for people. If you’r schedule and if your mind works that way, great. (Some of us would certainly benefit from carving out a block of time to spend with God. But I hear Paul saying that he prays for the Philippians… ALL THE TIME! He says that whenever he thinks of them, he prays for them.
This is the way Paul lived. I’m not just pulling htis idea out of these verses only. In Romans 1:9 he says to the Christians in Rome: "God, whom I serve with my whole heart, is my witness to how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times." In his letter to the church in Ephesus he says in Ephesians 1:16: "I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in all my prayers." To the church in Thesselonica, Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 1:2: "We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers." In his second letter to Timothy, verse 1:3, Paul says: "I thank God, whom I serve… as day and night I constantly remember you in my prayers."
Praying for others was real to Paul. It’s how he lived. Paul would remember others before God, asking God to grow them, to pour out his love and his knowledge on them, to sustain them through difficulty, to care for them, to heal them, to give thanks for them. And he did this all the time for all of them. Whenever he thought of others in fact, he prayed for them. That’s a good challenge for us today… to pray for people whenever we think of them.