Husbands’ Hindered Prayers (1 Peter 3:7)

marriage agroA man recently asked me about a troubling verse. “My wife says my prayers are hindered because I don’t respect her enough.” He was referring to this verse:

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:7)

What does it mean to hinder your prayers? Here is the wrong answer: “God doesn’t listen to jerks.” The good news is that God does hear the honest prayers of jerks and crooks and thieves and sinners (see Luke 18:14)! If you see yourself as a bad husband or a bad wife, be assured your heavenly Father hears you when you call to him. How do I know? Because no one is beyond the reach of his love and grace.

So how do we hinder our prayers?

When I was asked that question, I was momentarily stumped. It wasn’t a question I had thought about much, but I probably should have since I am a husband. What can I do to my wife that might hinder my prayers?

Immediately, the Lord brought a picture to my mind that helped me understand this verse. His revelation showed me exactly how husbands (or wives or anyone) can hinder their prayers. But before I took it any further, I wanted to check what other commentators said about hindered prayers to confirm that I was on the right track. Guess what – they say nothing. I went to all my favorite guys and found they were silent on the subject of hindered prayers.

So I feel very blessed as though the Lord has given me a little gift to share with you – a revelation which you may not find anywhere else. (Of course I could be wrong and this verse is so obvious that you already know what I’m going to say about hindered prayers. If so, come back next week. It’ll be better, I promise.)

The weaker partner

In this egalitarian age you won’t hear many men describe their wives as “the weaker partner.” But to the religious mind of the first century, women were considered weaker or inferior in many ways, and this mindset was reflected in the limited participation of women in the Temple and synagogue.

Then Jesus came and made friends with all kinds women – not just the nice sort of women that you’d take home to meet your mother, but the sort of women that God-fearing men should never talk to. Jesus taught women like they were disciples (Luke 10:39). He took women with him and the Twelve on ministry trips (Luke 8:1-3). He reached out to women with bad reputations, like the woman at the well (John 4:7). In contrast with the prevailing attitudes of the day Jesus treated women as equals, and this had a profound effect on the early church:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28)

When we go to church today we think nothing of women and children participating in the service, but in the first century this would have been offensive to the religious mind. And this brings us to the bit about hindered prayers.

How do we hinder our prayers?

Paul said husbands and wives are co-heirs with Christ, and Peter says the same thing here: “Treat them with respect… as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life.” Do you see your spouse as a co-heir of grace? Or do you see them as inferior? What about your children and neighbors? What about the person of another race or culture? In your mind are they equal in grace or inferior?

If you see others as equal in grace, then you are walking in grace. However, if you see yourself as superior in some way, then you are not and your prayers will be hindered. This brings me to the picture that I mentioned earlier:

Before_and_after

Before he met the Lord of grace, the apostle Paul was a Pharisee and as such he would’ve prayed the prayer on the left (source: Encyclopedia Talmudit, Vol.4, Jerusalem 1956, p.371). This is a prideful prayer. Pray like this and you will hinder your prayers.

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

Whose prayers are hindered? It is those who boast, “Thank you God that I am not like other people” (Lk 18:11). It is those who see themselves as better than others. It is those who sacrifice people on the altar of their convictions. Such people have trouble receiving grace because they don’t see their need for it. Consequently, their pride hinders their prayers.

Religion kills grace and hinders prayers. Performance-based religion says if you deliver the goods – if you avoid sin and behave yourself – you’ll get a direct line to God. It’s not true! All you’ll get is a mirror for admiring yourself. “I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get” (Lk 18:12). Do you think God is impressed with your work when you are not impressed with his?

God doesn’t bless us in accordance with our output but in accordance with the riches of his grace. This is why religious superstars are often further from God’s grace than tax collectors and prostitutes (Matt 21:31).

How do we un-hinder our prayers?

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. (1 Peter 3:8)

It’s easy to be humble with the Lord, but Peter exhorts us to be humble with each other: wives to husbands, husbands to wives. To quote CS Lewis, humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. It is being compassionate and loving one another. This is a key for receiving God’s grace, because his grace flows to us through people.

Want more grace in your marriage? Then thank God that he has blessed you with a partner in grace. Want more grace in your family? Then thank him for your kids who are co-heirs in Christ. Want to see more grace in your church? Then “clothe yourselves with humility toward one another,” and praise him for surrounding you with such towering testimonies of grace.

Who are you thanking God for today?

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52 Comments on Husbands’ Hindered Prayers (1 Peter 3:7)

  1. Great post, thank you!

  2. I was thinking about this sort of thing last night, in relation to what determines how much we are blessed?
    I came to the conclusion (for the time being at least) that it is in accordance with how much we are prepared to trust, however the revelation you share here resonates; Extending Grace is the only Good work.
    Caring for someone else above yourself is God-like.
    It is impossible to do this in pride.
    Thanks Paul.
    Blessings.

    • p.s.
      Caring for others before ourselves by being aware oc their equal value to ourselves and trusting God are only made possible by intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus.
      This is where all our efforts need to be focused.

  3. Yep!!! But there’s more Believing husbands that behave prideful/arrogant than we think and all we need to do is just to continue to reveal radical grace; motivating them to behold Christ Jesus. Then they will be transformed from glory to glory but by the Holy Spirit. That’s part of the problem, we try to take the place of the Holy Spirit by trying to change our spouse, or being delusional by putting our feet on our wives; expecting them to die under our shadow because they are not as important. Or worse, we don’t see our need of allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us but rather, we strive to do so through self effort. We cannot do a thing without him. Bottom line, fear is the culprit so let us continue to pray for such husbands in love, Amen.

  4. I have never understood this verse. Thank you!

  5. samuel benson nyadzi // January 7, 2015 at 2:23 am // Reply

    love u paul elis, u re great. i want to hear more from u. u re my father in the Lord

  6. Ben Fetcher // January 7, 2015 at 2:45 am // Reply

    i love this

  7. “ However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she ‘respects’ her husband.” Ephesians 5:33. It works both way’s, as also in 1 Corinthians 7:4 on, who own’s who. Its just mutual. But, first things first, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 1 Timothy 2:13,14.
    This is why Paul called the woman the “weaker partner” and to honor them ‘as such’.

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I think when we have a system that makes me seem superior to some, that same system will make me feel inferior to others. When I realize my value does not come from what I do, but it is based on the value of my Savior, I will also realize that everyone else has that same value. 

  9. another good one paul, after so many years HUMBLE comes home to roost.

  10. Beloved Rene // January 7, 2015 at 3:28 am // Reply

    This is a very clear revelation Paul. I myself had a problem of understanding this before in the light of grace. I think there is no clear revelation other than you share. Thank you Paul

  11. The Great (evangelical) Lie : Divine Justification and reconciliation is by the blood of Jesus alone but answered prayers, daily divine fellowship and communion is by performance orientation .
    “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. “(‭Hebrews‬ ‭10‬:‭14‬ NASB)

    • Any excuse to sell grace, right Barry?🙂

      • Sorry Paul- I try to stop talking about grace but haven’t found the Will power to stop. My wife and I have been married 30 years this year and when we realizedJesus grace is all we need it radically transformed our marriage. I could never treat her the way I knew I was supposed to and tried to secure answered prayers by conforming to this command in I Peter 3 until I quit trying and just happily threw myself onto the grace of Jesus. Then Jesus just starting respecting and honouring my wife in me the way I always wanted to but couldn’t and she KNOWS it’s Jesus grace in me better than anyone.- selfish old shister that I am!

    • Barry, that’s what John say’s in, 1 John 3:22, “and whatsoever we ask we receive of him, because we keep his commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight.” Very much performance.

      • Yes I hear you Tom-but God can set the performance standard as high as He wants to. I know and I know you know too that neither of us can nor do we conform to “keeping his commands and doing what pleases him ” but only Jesus and His marvellous grace in us can accomplish this standard.
        Reminds me of a young man who asked a clerk in an exclusive clothing store how much a certain suit cost . The store clerk replied, “You can’t afford it so why ask?” The young man replied, “you are right- I can’t afford it but my daddy is Bill Gates- he can afford it and he will pay for it!”
        What Jesus- the Sovereign Judge- requires His grace pays for in those who trust him.

    • Congratulations to you and your wife, Barry.

  12. Alfreada Harmon // January 7, 2015 at 4:14 am // Reply

    How do you reply, when someone asks you about people going to hell?

  13. Thank you for giving us the truth on this scripture. While I was driving in town one day a police officer pulled beside me and I saw the words Law Enforcer on his car. Lord reminded me where they’re a law they’re enforcement . In the religious realm we have pastors, bishops , and the list goes on to keep us under a law not grace.

  14. Paul, thank you for sharing this revelation from the Holy Spirit…it made my day!

  15. Leslie Snell // January 7, 2015 at 9:04 am // Reply

    Thanks Paul. I needed that.

  16. What I saw in it many years back is that if you are inconsiderate and disrespectful to your wife, you will begin to lose the desire to pray for her, ergo your prayers will be hindered.

  17. It seems to me this needs to be understood in context of submission rather than equality or the degradation of women which is the opposite of love. When Jesus submitted to the Father though being equal he did not seek to grasp it. But willingly yielded to the will of the Father. This is the model relationship for marriage. As husband’s we are equal in Christ yet we must treat our wives with patience kindness as a highly fragile valuable vessel. That is love with empathy.

    Our prayers are hindered when we lack empathy. In my spirit I submit to Christ not seeking to establish my own authority. Wives submit to husband’s as to Christ not seeking to grasp authority though being equal. Love is not self seeking. James tells us prayer is hindered because we ask with the wrong motives.

  18. Andrew Wommack does comment on that verse…

  19. In correct Tom, they are the weaker vessel. Men are stronger physically; that is where it ends.
    Happy New Year

  20. Serge Kulapa // January 8, 2015 at 4:24 am // Reply

    Thanks for Sharing this, Paul. Few days ago, I was studying 1 Peter 5, 5-7 to understand what is Pride and humility in God’s eye. Can’t help thinking that what caused Lucifer’s fall was actually pride (Isaiah 14,12-17).

  21. Oh wow. I’ve never seen this before. I see now how Paul isn’t calling wives the weaker sex but only pointing out the prevailing notion. He is calling for respect for women! Love it!

  22. I dont mean to get off the topic of the post,but some of the other scriptures mentioned in the comments concerning men/women relations, got me thinking.I feel i grew up in churches where women were considered somewhat inferior. To me it seems odd that we would use scriptures concerning the fall/mistake of Adam and Eve,as a principle for husband/wife relationships….when Jesus has reversed the curse and we are new creations. I think some things the apostle Paul did and said (and didn’t say)were solely for the furtherance of the gospel,and not meant as things to be continued forever.That’s why he did not just say “end Slavery”.Christianity would have been viewed by the people there at that time as a political movement.For the same reason,some things he said concerning women, at that time, were so that he might better reach people with the gospel. As Scripture progressed and was completed,and as the teachings of grace reached the hearts of believers, change would come,and mistreatment of women and slavery would(or should) end, The horrific abuses that men have allowed or excused is certainly no part of grace,

  23. Serge Kulapa // January 14, 2015 at 1:37 am // Reply

    Paul, just one question for better understanding as i would like to understand 1 Peter 3,7 and 1 Peter 5,5 in light of the the gift of ‘ No condemnation’ in Christ Jesus’. As Romans 8,1-2 makes reference to no condemnation (no blame, no reproof, no disapproval, no sentencing, no criticism, no denunciation, etc.. as i understand it) for those in Christ Jesus, why is it that 1 Peter 3,7 and 1 Peter 5,5 put a tag price, a sentence to an ‘inconsiderate’ husband before God? It seems like behaviour (works) is taken into account here before God gives his grace.

    • Our behavior does not affect God giving, it affects us receiving. If I say, “Serge, here’s a million dollars” that’s grace. If you say, “Paul, I don’t need your money,” you won’t have it. Your attitude doesn’t affect my generosity, but it affects your ability to enjoy it.

  24. Awesome! I love how God’s word always leads back to Christ and His finished work! Thx brother!

  25. AMAZING revelation Paul! Wow!

  26. Rose Sanchez // October 17, 2015 at 11:07 am // Reply

    I was out with my husband I need prayer to a problem that never been resolved. I typed in prayer for someone doesn’t have respect for someone ,your site came up, I started reading your article, it helped me so much. Thank you I posted it on my facebook. Thank you to God be the glory

  27. I think all Peter was saying as far as the woman being the weaker vessel is that as a husband you are supposed to be your wife’s protector and her support, not tearing her down by being a jerk to her, or condescending towards her; you are supposed to be her covering and you are meant to honor and cherish and protect her….almost kind of like when Paul writes about the body having many members but the seemingly weaker members are given more honor and the parts that are less honored are actually indispensable, and given greater honor….so peter writes that although women, being the weaker vessel—whether he means weaker in body or perhaps emotionally or whatever—we are all earthen vessels with indescribable treasure inside as 2 Corinthians 4:7 says; it would be incredibly foolish as a husband to belittle or destroy the amazing, unique, and indispensable gift that is his wife

  28. and that they(wives) are as much a child of God as you(husbands) are, just built for a different purpose than men😉

  29. “Do you think God is impressed with your work when you are not impressed with His?”

    That is pure gold my friend!

  30. Karen lawson // July 17, 2016 at 4:20 pm // Reply

    Beautiful

  31. This is precious Paul.
    I’m wondering if showing disrespect for wife is just that- showing disrespect to her?

    And -Does showing disrespect for her comes from self disrespect? “He who loves his wife loves himself” (or not). Eph 5:28
    Don’t wife abusers universally have a shattered self concept?
    And – Does self respect only come when husbands accept God’s gospel evaluation of themselves?
    “We love (respect our wives) because he first loved (respected) us” I Jn 4:19
    Thus back to your point Paul- that only believing the gospel of grace keeps husbands from disrespecting their wives.

  32. Was just meditating on this hard passage and was so glad I found a Grace based commentary on it. I like that you bring about the pride issue in the sense of looking down upon your spouse. Another point I saw about prayers hindered in the context of this passage concerns strife. If both husband and wife are nagging and bickering and putting each other down, it stands to reason that prayer will be hindered. Who has time to pray when both spouses are in constant strife with each other?

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