24th August 2012

The Considerate, Praying Husband

“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 (NIV UK)

What strikes you about the above passage?

Peter is quite clear. He expects husbands to be praying. It is so easy to get wrapped up in work, family and social life that there is little time left, if any, for prayer.

Peter also tells married men that they should be considerate of their wives and show respect to them. Don’t take advantage of them because they may be weaker physically. After all, in God’s eyes, you are both inheritors of eternal life. Husbands, how considerate are you? How respectful are you? Do you take your wife for granted?

What is also interesting is the link that Peter makes between not being considerate and prayers being hindered. What did he mean? I have known men who have been so upset with their wives that they cannot concentrate on prayer. It is a bit like Shakespeare’s angry Hamlet whose words went up but whose thoughts remained below. “Words without thoughts do not to heaven go”.  Also, why should God value our requests if we are treating our wives harshly and disrespectfully?

Of course, the problem is not just with husbands. Paul says that he expects “men everywhere to pray, holding up holy hands without anger and disputing” (1 Timothy 2:8). Our resentful attitudes get in the way of our prayer life. Christ told everyone, men and women alike, that if we have a problem with someone, we should try, as much as it is possible, to reconcile before offering our gift of prayer (Matthew 5:23). Do things escalate in your marriage or at work so that it is insult upon insult, hurt upon hurt? And thus you cannot pray without being angry? If so, recognise that anger and pray that Jesus would help you remove it.

The point is, said Peter in his summary to wives and husbands, men and women, “all of you, live in harmony with one another, be sympathetic…in your hearts set aside Christ as Lord (1 Peter 3:8,15).  Let Jesus reign over all that we do and say, and considerate behaviour will follow.

Father, thank you for the gift of prayer. Help me not to be preoccupied with angry feelings towards others when I come to you. And teach me to be considerate always to my family and to others around me. In Jesus’ name.

Study by James.Henderson

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