4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,
5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;
6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual
by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
Here Paul was writing to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus who was apparently a runaway servant who Paul met in prison and converted him. He probably heard how things were going with Philemon from Onesimus. Paul says nothing of the reason Onesimus left his master.
Paul was not simply buttering up Philemon before asking him to forgive and release Onesimus. Paul was conveying what both Onesimus and the Holy Spirit were telling him. He had heard good things about Philemon. He operated in love and faith which are two of the most important character traits of a Christian.
When you’re thinking of someone, do you think the worst or the best? In our high-tech culture we have little time for a salutation like this in a text, tweet, or even an email. The Post Office is in trouble because it no longer delivers letters as they did before the technology of cyberspace. Paul told Philemon that he mentioned him in his prayers often. Are you praying for someone? Do you tell them you are praying for them? That’s another problem in our society. We say I’ll be praying for you and never mention a word of prayer about that person. If a person asks you to pray for them and you say okay, then pray for them.
It’s difficult to determine if Paul was saying that others would acknowledge every good then in him in Christ, or whether he is saying through his acknowledging every good thing in Christ he would therefore have effectual communication with others. Regardless, Paul is pointing out that it’s the “every good thing” that he has in Christ. Because of this relationship with Jesus, Philemon has an effectual fellowship of faith and love with the saints in that region. It all comes from Jesus. If you want to have effectual communication, then you must have a real living relationship with Christ.