Paul was fully aware of the pain and suffering early Christians were going through, such as being tortured, and losing their home, livelihood, and life. Some were eaten by lions in the Roman Coliseum, as entertainment for the Romans. Some were nailed to death on crosses.
But Paul never asked God to alleviate their difficulties and sufferings. Let’s observe how Paul prayed for them in Ephesians 1:15-23.
In that passage, the people Paul prayed for had two attributes (Ephesians 1:15). First, their faith was in nothing but Christ.
Second, they loved all God’s people, not just those similar to them or those they were attracted to. Though faith in Christ is primary, practice is necessary. If we never forgive others or if we keep cheating them, is our faith genuine? Faith in Christ should lead to a life that is more and more like Christ.
Paul prayed that they would know three things (Ephesians 1:18-23).
First was to know the hope coming from Christ’s calling to be the children of God. They were nobody when God called them (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). It was by pure grace that they could become God’s children, which should have given them immense hope.
Second was to know the wonderful blessings God had promised them—the rich and glorious blessings they inherited as children of the Almighty God.
Third was to know God’s great power for them. It was the power that raised Christ from the dead and put Him far above all things and above all authorities, at all times. Just imagine the magnitude of God’s power for His children!
To gain such insights, Paul asked God to give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so they might know Him better (Ephesians 1:17). Meditate on these verses.
To conclude, when we pray for suffering Christians, we should ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten them, to help them see the wonderful hope they have as God’s children, the immense blessings He promised to give to them, and His great power working for them.
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon:
保罗充分明白早期基督徒经历的艱辛和苦难，他们受尽折磨, 失去家园，断了生计, 舍了生命。有些作为罗马人的娱乐，在罗马竞技馆中被狮子吞噬,有些被钉死在十字架上。
为了使信徒获得这样的洞察，保罗祈求上帝赐下智慧和启示的灵, 使他们真知道祂，更深刻地认识祂 （以弗所书1:17）。