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Grace Notes

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"PREPARE ME ALSO A LODGING"
by Philip Owen

              Probably only the most serious (or professional) student of the Bible could be expected to identify the address of the quotation in the title (I certainly could not have done so).  The request is made by Paul at the close of his personal letter to Philemon.  The entire quote reads thus:  “But withal [“at the same time”] prepare me also a lodging:  for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you” (v. 22).  Several precious truths shine from this very personal request from the Apostle Paul to Philemon and the church in his house (cf., v. 2).  Among them are the following.

             Great confidence in those who asked in prayer.  There are some whom, through their intimate relationship with the Lord, their devotion, faithfulness, and importunity, we recognize as being prayer warriors whose prayers are more readily answered than those of many other believers.  Growing up, I had an aunt like that.  When someone in the family had a special need, it was always a source of encouragement to know that Aunt Marie was praying about that need because her prayers got answered!  Apparently Paul knew the character of Philemon and those who worshipped in his house.  If they were praying on his behalf, then he expected a positive answer.  What a wonderful testimony it is to be known as one who has such a personal relationship with the Lord, one who so walks in harmony with Him, one who prays “in the Spirit” to such a degree that to ask is to receive.  God does not limit such an experience to a favored class of believers, nor does He preclude some from approaching.  Neither is He like some parents who shower attention and affection on one child to the detriment of another.  All believers are equal in position before the Lord so that the only impediments hampering our prayers from being answered are to one degree or another self and sin.  All believers have been given a direct line to heaven (Eph. 2:18; 3:12); if it is ever “busy,” the problem is on our end not our Father’s (Psa. 34:15). 

             Great faith in Him who answered in prayer.  Of course, Paul’s confidence ultimately rested in a Heavenly Father who, he was assured, heard and graciously answered the cries of His children.  Not for a moment did Paul question the goodness of the Lord, His willingness to answer the cries of His children, or His ability to do whatsoever they asked according to His will.  Such was Paul’s confidence in the Lord that should the petitioner be a leper, a beggar, or the least important citizen in the world, the Father would, nevertheless, hear and answer his prayer.  Paul had prayed and trusted too long and had experienced the abounding grace of the Lord too much to expect other than a good and gracious response to this petition.  If they would surely ask, then God would surely answer (Psa. 84:11).  His God was not One from whom blessing must be pried.  He did not pass out His answers reluctantly.  There was no limit to His abundant blessing except in accord with His wisdom and righteousness.  To ask expecting nothing was inconceivable to Paul—not because he had received a greater measure of faith than others, but because he had acquired a more perfect knowledge of the Lord through walking closely with Him so that He could not fathom the God he had come to know not answering the prayers of Philemon and his brethren (I John 3:21).

             May we be like Paul, Philemon, Apphia, Archippus, and the other believers in Philemon’s house.  May we ask in accord with God’s will; may we ask not so as to satisfy our lusts, may we ask in confidence that we have a good and gracious God.  And may our answers always serve to glorify the One who has so gracious granted them.

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