It is remarkable that in all of his writings Paul’s prayers for his friends contain no appeals for changes in their circumstances. (p.20)

Now, that does not mean that it’s wrong to pray for circumstantial changes. But it surely shows that there is something that is more important for Paul.

What is that? It is-to know him (God) better. (Ephesians 1:15-19)

Paul sees this fuller knowledge of God as a more critical thing to receive than a change of circumstances. Without this powerful sense of God’s reality, good circumstances can lead to overconfidence and spiritual indifference. Who needs God, our hearts would conclude, when matters seem to be so in hand? Then again, without this enlightened heart, bad circumstances can  lead to discouragement and despair, because the love of God would be an abstraction rather than the infinitely consoling presence it should be. (p.20-21)