The Importance of Relationship in Prayer
How Husbands Live with Their Wives
The first one in 1 Peter 3:7 tells us husbands that there is a way to live with our wives that can clog our prayers, and a way to live with our wives that will help our prayers. You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. If you want your prayers to be helped and not hindered you have to live with your wife in a certain way. There has to be an effort to understand her so as to know her needs. There has to be a special solicitousness of her weaknesses and what she especially needs from you. There has to be a recognition that she is a fellow heir of the grace of life and an accompanying bestowal of honor rather than any belittling or demeaning. When we husbands live like this (with understanding, tender care, and honor), our prayers will not be hindered. If we do not live like this, our prayers will be hindered. Here’s the way one good commentary put it: So concerned is God that Christian husbands live in an understanding and loving way with their wives, that he “interrupts” his relationship with them when they are not doing so.
How All Believers Live
Second, Peter goes on in verses 8 and 9 to call all of us. He quotes Psalm 34 in vv. 10–12: For, “Let him who means to love life and see good days refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile. And let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” Then he gives a reason for why we should live like this. It’s a quote from Psalm 34 and in verse 12 the reason comes to a climax with the same kind of argument as in 3:7, namely, prayers are hindered if you don’t live this way. God has a special openness to the prayers of those who pursue peace and whose lips are pure and who don’t use guile (deceit). God listens to the prayers of those who live like this: keep the tongue from evil, refrain from guile, seek peace, do righteousness. So here again Peter is telling us how to keep our prayers from being hindered. It’s the same thing Jesus was teaching in the Lord’s Prayer when he told us to pray, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12). Not forgiving those who repent will clog our prayers. That’s Peter’s point too. There is a way to live that hinders our prayers and a way to live that helps our prayers.
Special Endeavors We Can Make
Third, in 4:7 he says, that there are special endeavors we can make so that our prayers will be helped and not hindered: The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the sake of prayers. Two things: first, be of sound judgment for the sake of your prayers; second, be sober for the sake of your prayers. In other words, there is a way to think and live that will hinder your prayers and there is a way to think and live that will help your prayers. Sound judgment about how we spend our time. Sound judgment about the spiritual climate of our homes. Sound judgment about the worldliness of our leisure. Sound judgment about the music we listen to, the movies we attend, the TV we watch.