Hindered Prayers

1 Peter 3:1-7

 

“In like manner, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives; 2beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear. 3Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; 4but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5For after this manner aforetime the holy women also, who hoped in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: 6as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose children ye now are, if ye do well, and are not put in fear by any terror. 7Ye husbands, in like manner, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor unto the woman, as unto the weaker vessel, as being also joint-heirs of the grace of life; to the end that your prayers be not hindered.”

 

Prayer is such a privilege, It can provide from the Father, forgiveness of sins, strength for the day,  wisdom, healing and “Peace that Passeth All Understanding”.

 

In the model prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray for their daily needs expecting to receive them.  Matthew 7:7-11

 

7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9Or what man is there of you, who, if his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone; 10or if he shall ask for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

 

Jesus Himself lived, in daily unhindered communion with the Father,  so that He could say to the Father above  "I know that Thou hearest me always"  (John 11:42).   All the Lord’s teaching about prayer show that we too can have  daily, unhindered communication with God, “asking and receiving, seeking and finding, knocking and having God opening  to us  Hear His promise John 16:24

24Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be made full.

 

It is proper to ask, and our asking to be followed by receiving, and living in the joy and comfort of knowing God hears and answers our prayers. Please read with me 1 John 5:14-15

 

14And this is the boldness which we have toward him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: 15and if we know that he heareth us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of him.

 

Parents know that It is perfectly normal for a child to ask them for daily necessities and receive them,  and using that figure our Savior said,

 

11If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matt. 7:11).

 

Prayer a great, great privilege, but there seems to be times when God seems to be distant, and fails to hear the  prayers we petition!  WHY? The word of God gives several reasons God  would turn a deaf ear to our petitions:

 

David speaking from experience said it this way  Psa. 66:18

18If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

 

You know.....I deposit my money in the bank,  and as long as my account is in good condition, every request I make for money is  honored by the bank.  Then why cannot a child of God daily draw on the bank of Heaven, having  his prayers answered as a matter of daily business? I believe that He can!

 

When a Christian fails to have his prayer-check cashed, he should regard it as proof that something is amiss with his fellowship with the Father and it  needs attention quickly.

 

When I turn faucet in bathroom or kitchen, I expect water to pour forth every time. If I turned the tap and water did not come, I would be surprised, but I would know that something radically was wrong, and I would immediately set out to find out why the water did not run.  Or a light switch, I set out to find what is wrong and to remedy it.

 

Just so, every Christian ought to live in daily communion with God, in the joy of answered prayers. When anything hinders prayer the Christian need to immediately find out what is hindering his or her prayer life  and get it remedied.

 

Often we pray for daily needs  and necessities, things for which God instructs us to pray for,  And yet no answer seems to follow.  We often pray for the conversion of loved ones, pray for one another, pray for help in times of temptation; all matters which every Christian certainly has a right to pray,   Matters about which God has instructed us to pray — and yet Christians often do not get the answer to their prayers. Why?

 

The answer is that many a good prayers cannot be answered by a holy God because of sins in the life and heart of the one who prays.  

18If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

Psa. 66:18

 

It may be that you have some of your prayers answered, or we think we do. May I remind you the  Lord "sendeth rain on the just and the unjust" (Matt. 5:45), and is "kind unto the unthankful" (Luke 6:35), God may give us many things we ask for not that He respects and answers our prayers, but because of His infinite love and mercy which is poured out upon mankind.  The God Who gives breath to the murderer, food to the man who never prays, the God Who gives all the blessings of nature to a sinning, Christ-rejecting race - that God still loves and cares for His children even when they live in sin and grieve His heart.

 

But whether God hears some of  our prayers, or none of them, our prayers are hindered: If we do not live daily in the awareness of His Word.  Notice Proverbs 28:9

9He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

 

If I will not listen to God, why should He listen to me?  Often we are painfully conscious that our prayers are not heard.  I once had a  man said to me "Preacher, before you sleep I wish you would pray for me. My prayers never get higher than my head. God won't hear me."  Is this where you are? Oh, how important it is to clear the line of communication between you and God so He will hear us. 

 

Let us now prayerfully examine the Word of God and search our hearts to see why our prayers may be  hindered, and why God does not answer to give us what we ask.

 

In Peter's first epistle prayer is addressed three times.   What is remarkable about these three instances is that there is something common to each of them. Let us read them and see if you can detect the common thread running through each.

 

In the matter of unanswered prayers,   Turn with me to  our text.  In 1 Peter 3:1-6

In like manner, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives; 2beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear. 3Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel; 4but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5For after this manner aforetime the holy women also, who hoped in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: 6as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose children ye now are, if ye do well, and are not put in fear by any terror.

 

In these verse we find instruction for the Christian women  that your lives be acceptable and that your prayers be not hindered.  Next he addresses the husbands 1 Peter 3:7  hear it.

7Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

 

So he speaks first of  sins that a  wife may be guilty of that hurts her prayers, he discusses that in detail.  And then speaks of the sins of a husband who does not take his proper, God-appointed place in relation to the wife, and warns both husband and wife that they are to obey God in this matter, "that your prayers be not hindered."

 

Next, Peter speaks to all us not just to husbands or wives 

1 Peter 3:8-9

8Finally, be ye all likeminded, compassionate, loving as brethren, tenderhearted, humble minded: 9not rendering evil for evil, or reviling for reviling; but contrariwise blessing; for hereunto were ye called, that ye should inherit a blessing.  

 

It's a quote from Psalm 34 to support his admonitions

10For “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. 11Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

 

And in verse 12 the reason he gives agrees with the same  of argument present  in  1 Peter 3:7 namely prayers are hindered if you don't live this way.  God has His ears open to the prayers of those whose pursue peace and whose lips are pure and who don't use guile (deceit). Verse 12:

 "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."

 

God listens to the prayers of those who live like this: keep the tongue from evil, refrain from guile, seek peace, do righteousness.

 

And finally in 1 Peter 4:7 he states

7But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober (of sound mind) , and watch (sober)  unto (for the purpose of) prayer.

 

There are things we must do so that our prayers will be helped and not hindered:   Namely: 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 aid our  prayers.

 

Now what is the unusual common thread running through these 3 references to prayer? Peter's point in each of these texts is that God has appointed a way for us to live which will aid our  prays. But there are also ways we can live that hinder our prayers. 

 

Husbands and wives must live with one another in a certain way. Here's the way one commentary stated it:

So concerned is God that Christian husbands and wives live in an understanding and loving way, that he "interrupts" His relationship with them when they are not doing so.

     No Christian should presume to think that any spiritual good will be accomplished by their life without an effective ministry of prayer. And no husband or wife may expect an effective prayer life unless he  or she lives with the other "in an understanding way, bestowing honor" as God directs

 

To take the time to develop and maintain a good marriage is God's will; it is serving God; it is a spiritual activity pleasing in his sight “.

 

So there is a Biblical doctrine a Biblical truth, that we can now state with great confidence from these texts: Christians must endeavor to live in a way that does not hinder their prayers.   It has three parts:

1st  - it implies that prayers can be hindered. Our prayer life can be blocked.

 

2nd - What blocks prayer is often our lives -- the way we live, the way we relate to wives or husbands or kids or parents or colleagues or neighbors.

 

3rd-  Opening the way of prayer to God involves a conscious endeavor,  living in sound judgment and being sober.  In each of these texts Peter is telling us to resolve to do something so that our prayers will not be hindered.

 

Now for an unbeliever who has never known a peaceful, personal, walk with God, this would not be so unusual.  But for a person who has known God and loved him, and tasted the sweetness of peace and fellowship, knowing the  sense of being right with God, nothing is more terrifying than feeling that God does not seem to be there anymore.

 

Let us close with a wonderful passage on prayer

Philippians 4:4-7

4Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your forbearance be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

 

So Peter tells us: endeavor to live in a way that does not hinder your prayers.

 

1-  Resolve this morning, you will take His teaching seriously and seek to do whatever you need to do to unclog your prayer line and set it free.   It may be that changes need to be made at home. Nothing is more important than unclogging the streams of prayer and power that are clogged at home. It may be that changes need to be made in the wider circle of relationships where there is bitterness or guile.

Or it may be that there are simple awakenings that need to happen concerning the pattern of prayer in your life.  When Peter says in 4:7,

 "Be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the sake of prayers,"

 

He is warning us  that there are disciplines of the mind and the spirit which can preserve unhindered prayer in your life. A sound mind. Sober spirit.

 

I once heard a preacher state this; “Jesus does not kiss a drunken wife, what do I mean?  I mean that when the bride of Christ, the church, is drunk with ““the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches  Things that make us like the world about us, and  unfruitful,  we may turn to Him for a brief kiss of prayer, but her breath smells of worldliness that He turns his face a way.     "Be sober for the sake of your prayers,"

 

 

 

contact:

Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658