When the minister asked one of his elders to lead the congregation in prayer, the man shocked everyone. “I’m sorry, Pastor,” he said, “but I’ve been arguing with my wife all the way to church, and I’m in no condition to pray.” The next moment was awkward. The minister prayed. The service moved on. Later, the pastor vowed never to ask anyone to pray publicly without first asking privately.
That man demonstrated astonishing honesty in a place where hypocrisy would have been easier. But there is a larger lesson about prayer here. God is a loving Father. If I as a husband do not respect and honor my wife—a cherished daughter of God—why would her heavenly Father hear my prayers?
The apostle Peter made an interesting observation about this. He instructed husbands to treat their wives with respect and as equal heirs in Christ “so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7). The underlying principle is that our relationships affect our prayer life.
What would happen if we exchanged the Sunday smiles and the façade of religiosity for refreshing honesty with our brothers and sisters? What might God do through us when we pray and learn to love each other as we love ourselves?
Father, You love all of Your children, but so often we fight and disagree. Help us learn to interact with love and respect in all our relationships so the world will see the difference You make. Teach us to pray.
Prayer is simply an honest conversation with God.
Husbands are instructed to “be considerate . . . and treat [their wives] with respect” (1 Peter 3:7). Fellowship with God is hindered if a man does not give honor to his wife (v. 7). The apostle Paul instructed husbands not to be harsh with their wives (Col. 3:19), but to love them “just as Christ loved the church,” sacrificing their own interests for their wife’s growth, maturity, and holiness (Eph. 5:25–27). The husband is to “love his wife as he loves himself” (v. 33).