It's convenient for us to say that Paul had more time that we do—after all, he lived in the age before all our time-saving devices. Wait a minute, we should actually have MORE time at our disposal than Paul, right? But that's a discussion for another moment—when I have time!
Paul was a busy man. I suspect one of the reasons the Lord arranged for Paul to spend some time in prison was so that he could get some letters written, besides giving him the opportunity to witness to jailers, soldiers, prisoners, and high-ranking authorities to whom he was exposed under those circumstances.
In any case, Paul remembered others. And he remembered others specifically in his prayers.
At the beginning of his letter to the Philippian church, Paul writes: "I thank my God every time I remember you" (1:3). When we approach prayer we often come armed with a list of requests to make of God on behalf of the person we are remembering. But how often do we simply remember someone for the purpose of thanking God for them?
Hmmmm, it's been a while.
No doubt Paul had requests to make on behalf of the Philippians but he didn't fail just to be grateful for them.
Of course, there were particular people who came to mind more frequently than others. Timothy was Paul's son in the faith, his protégé. in 2 Timothy 1:3, Paul writes these words: "I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers."
"Night and day"? Wow, not only do I seldom pray for people just to thank God for them, but even the people closest to me don't often get prayer twice a day, except perhaps under the most dire of circumstances.
Which brings us unfortunately back to our earlier "non-discussion." I would quickly respond to Paul's prayer life by saying, "But we live in a different age. Paul had more time that I have."
All our time- and labour-saving devices don't seem to be doing the trick and actually save us time and labour and grant us more time to labour at things like prayer. Odd how that works.
Okay, so I'm being deliberately provocative here. But the bottom line is this: Paul remembered others in prayer, not simply to repeat their prayer request to God (who knew it anyway) but to be grateful for the people God had put in his life. He also prayed seriously (a.k.a. constantly) for those who were closest to him. Even if I did better at these two items, they alone would improve my prayer life.
How about yours?