“HUSBANDS, LIKEWISE, DWELL with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hinders” (1 Pet. 3:17).
Every Christian husband wants to believe that his prayers are heard and accepted. “Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth” (Psa. 52:2).
He wants to know that his petitions find their place in the ears and heart of Jehovah. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
But Peter reminds us that that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes a husband’s prayers are hindered. “Hindered.” Let that term sink into your cerebrum for a moment. The English word rendered “hindered” in the Greek is ekkopto and is pronounced ek-ko’p-to. It is a verb and is found sixteen times in eleven New Testament verses (cf. Mat. 3:10; 5:30; 7:19; 18:8; Luke 3:9; 13:7, 9; Rom. 11:22, 24; 2 Cor. 11:12). It means “to cut out, to cut off, or to hew down.” Contextually the apostle says that is is possible for a husbands’s prayers to “get the axe.”
What exactly does that imply? Note the following:
1. A husband can AXE his own prayers. There are times when what the head of the household says to God doesn’t make it beyond the plaster ceiling. Oh sure, The Father hears everything a man utters (mat. 12:37), but He chooses not to heed nor answer a husband’s petitions in the affirmative due to sins and failures (Ezek. 14:3; Isa. 59:2; Psm. 66:18; Prov. 21:13; 28:9; Mal. 3:7-10; Mark 11:25; Jas. 1:5-7; 4:3).
2. By contrast, a husband can ADVANCE his own prayers. Watch those words–“Dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel…”
“Understanding” speaks of being sensitive to your wife’s deepest physical and emotional needs. In other words, be thoughtful and respectful. Remember, you are to nourish and cherish her (Eph. 5:25-28). By God’s design, a wife is to be the special object of her husband’s love and care. As a ‘weaker’ vessel she is under his authority and protection. ‘Weaker’ doesn’t mean spiritually or intellectually, but physically and perhaps emotionally… It’s not a negative thing for a woman to be a weaker vessel. In making the man stronger, God designed a wonderful partnership. One way a husband can protect and provide for his wife is to practice chivalry… ‘Giving honor’ is another way of saying, ‘Treat your wife with respect’ while ‘grace of life’ is a reference to marriage. ‘Grace’ simply means a gift, and one of the best gifts life has to offer is marriage. Thus when Peter says to give her respect as a ‘fellow heir of the grace of life,’ his is commanding husbands to respect their wives as equal partners in the marriage… These aren’t casual suggestions. According to Peter, your applying them has a direct bearing on how your prayers are answered.”1
Good brother, are you hacking down your prayers–or are you getting them up to God? “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry” (Psm. 34:15). What’s your relationship with your wife?
Think about it.