Last week we began our Pray For Your Wife: 31 Day Challenge. The response has been tremendous. We have over 1,400 guys praying for their wives. As I think about the impact of this many guys praying for their wives—I can’t help but also think of 1 Peter 3:7.
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
(1 Peter 3:7 ESV)
For some, the first reading of that verse might evoke a slight chaffing. After all, we live in an age when saying things like “weaker vessel” is offensive. And there might be a reason for discomfort because let’s face it, some guys really can be jerks. And such jerky guys have used verses like 1 Peter 3:7 to promote their insecure theology. Offensive as it sounds I’m convinced that there is something beautiful in seeing our wives as the “weaker vessel”. Robert Rayburn explains:
Remember weaker" is being used in a context. A ming vase is weaker than a five dollar hammer; a Rembrandt canvas is weaker than a razor blade; and Mother Teresa was weaker than Mike Tyson! Peter is not talking about comparative worth, he is speaking of the reason why men have a special responsibility, laid upon them by their Creator, to show a particular regard for women and their wives in particular. It was not so long ago, even in secular Western societies that a man's manhood was judged according to the way in which he protected and provided for the women in his life. Only a feminist ideologue surveying the wreckage of American society can really believe that the abandonment of this viewpoint has improved the lot of women and children.
Wives are a treasure that are given to husbands to nurture and care for. The Lord love for His daughters is so mighty that He promises that husbands who do not treat them with care will be hindered in their prayer life.
I’ve known men (including myself) that have felt a darkness and a separation in our prayer life with the Lord. I have felt my ability to pray (not to mention preach and write) hindered. It’s like there is a big fat rock that stands between me and the Lord.
My natural inclination to remove that rock is to get uber-spiritual. I’ll read a book on prayer, spend some time alone with the Lord, or I might even go so far as to fast. The boulder continues to stand between myself and the Lord. And it stays there because what I really need to do is stop being a bear to my wife. Instead of mourning and even praying about the separation, what I really need to do is go home and repent of my attitude and lack of nurturing my wife.
The 31 Day Challenge
While we are praying for our wives this month I think it’s important that we also remember to be tender with them. If we are praying for our wives to change and yet we are not treating them with honor, tenderness, and understanding our prayers will be hindered. And they will be hindered until we actually begin treating them with honor, tenderness, and understanding. Might it be possible that our repentance before our wives will be the very thing that God uses to answer our prayers for them.
It’s not always the case that feelings of distance in our relationship with the Lord is because we have been blowing it as husbands. But this is one of the few things in Scripture that the Lord promises will hinder our prayers. And so if we feel a distance there it would do us well to analyze our level of tenderness towards our wives.
As a side note to our married female readers: consider how much the Lord loves you that He would cause a hindrance in His relationship with your husband because your hubby is not nurturing you. God cares for you mightily, so much that He rips up the conscience of us men until we begin treating you the way that we ought.
May we not only pray for our wives this month but may we nurture our wives in such a way that the Lord will use us to answer those very prayers.
Originally posted here in a slightly different format.