Paul prays regularly for Philemon and the church that meets at his house. He has heard of the love and faith of Philemon and his fellow leaders toward the flock they shepherd and toward other believers. What Paul prays for is that their fellowship would be effective for leading the church and expressing every good thing that will lead new people to faith in Jesus. Paul even remarks that he has been comforted by hearing how these three have refreshed other preachers who came into town.
God reminds us that we do not have to know personally the people for whom we pray. If we know their name we can pray specifically for them. One of the great benefits of all this social media is that I can find out the prayer requests of people all over the world and lift up their needs to God. In the same way I can hear their stories and be encouraged. Just as we do not have to know someone personally to empathize with their pain we need not know them personally to pray for them. So let’s widen our circle of prayer.