Virtue #2 in the Ways of a Peacemaker
Helping others resolving conflict requires a number of skills and responsibilities. None matters more than intercessory prayer.
The bigger the conflict, the greater the need for intercession.
Recently I introduced a series of posts called The Ways of a Peacemaker: Five Practices of Effective Peacemakers who Excel at Mending Relationships.
In Paul’s letter to Philemon, the apostle prepares to return run-away-slave-turned-Christian Onesimus to his owner. Here we see a biblical model of assisted peacemaking worthy of imitation.
My last post focused on the first of five practices skillful peacemakers employ in helping repair broken relationships–leading with specific affirmation.
This post explores the second–praying with singular aim.
Not only does Paul praise God for Philemon (v. 4-5); he also prays strategically for him (v. 6).
And I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.
I’ve scratched my head a good bit about this verse. It’s tough to interpret.
When he talks about the sharing of your faith, I don’t think we should take it evangelistically like we often use the phrase.
I think he means sharing (koinoinia) as in generosity or liberality—the kind of lovingkindess and big-heartedness Paul himself has greatly profited by, even refreshed to use his word in v. 7.
In this whole deal, Paul aims to challenge Philemon to kick up a notch his reputation for being loving.
He wants it to become effective—see that word in v. 6―in the way he responds to Paul’s agenda later in the letter.
Effective in what respect? Full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.
Paul prays that Philemon’s stretching in love in dealing with Onesimus when he eventually shows up at the front door will deepen his understanding and heighten his treasuring of all the blessings we have in Christ Jesus.
Man, what a way to pray as a mediator attempting to help others with their relational meltdowns!
Paul believed in the efficacy of prayer—not just in peacemaking. Watch how he comes back to the priority of prayer at the end in v. 22. I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you (emphasis added).
There is no effective peacemaking without prayer—lots of prayer—with the singularly strategic aim of growth in love.
Question: What texts of Scripture help you to remember to pray for others to grow in love as they relate to others–especially in conflict?