EFFECTIVE FAMILY PRAYER
“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.” (1Peter 3:7)
Just like the Christian is bound by a Christian obligation to submit to her husband so is the Christian husband. He is not free to do whatever pleases him in regard to his wife. He has a reciprocal duty to perform. The husband is indebted to his wife to be considerate and respectful just like the wife is expected to pay the debt of submission to her husband.
1. LIVE WITH YOUR WIVES WITH UNDERSTANDING
You notice the word, ‘likewise’ shows the flow of the thought on the subject of submission that runs through this passage from 2:13. In addition, the thought of discussing the relationship between the husband and the wife is pursued further.
The concern here is for the Christian husband to be such as the Lord would want and so we men who are married must always keep on asking if we are fulfilling our roles well in the manner our Master requires of us.
Married, men who are saved are expected to be considerate and understanding husbands in relation to their wives. We are to love our wives in a Christian manner. In our love to our wives we are to demonstrate the love of Jesus that is revealed in the Bible. This is the requirement in Ephesians 5:25-33: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…”
You realize that there is greater lesson for the domestic relation that the Lord is teaching us. For it is the illustration of Christ Himself and the manner He relates with His church. Besides, it is also the illustration of how the body works within itself – because we are one body while in marriage. “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” (Eph 5:28-30). For this reason we are to love them and not embitter them. If there is bitterness springing up then love is conspicuously missing.
• She is part of you
Just like the way a person will live with understanding with his own body, so should the husband to his wife. The woman that God got for Adam was, “a bone of his bone and a flesh of his flesh.”(Gen 2:23). This means that just like the way you would treat your own body so you should treat your wife in all matters. Imagine when you are sick the way you are tender Old Testament or when you have an injury somewhere and you think that others know but no someone steps on your toe that is hurting! Simply because they not are feeling the pain that you have.
• She is the weaker vessel
You are to be very careful to treat the wives with care, understanding that it is God who gave this woman to be your wife just as He gave you an eye or a heart. In this line then, the husband must dwell together with his wife in the same house, having left their parents. Husbands are bound in all ordinary circumstances to make their houses their home. Someone has said and rightly so, “It is absurd for those who have no prospect of dwelling together, to enter into the marriage state; and they who are already in it, should not be unnecessarily abroad.” Because such “live contrary to the nature of this relation who lives a great part of their lives apart…” as Richard Baxter has said. Live together with your wife and provide the companionship that you ought to provide. How can the members of the same body live apart from each other? This is what someone has said, “When a married man, a husband, a father, is fond of spending his evenings abroad; it implies something bad, and predicts something worse.”
Then there are then those husbands who never consult their wives, even leave them to learn of something from the third person! That is a recipe for a domestic disaster. It should be that that the two are one in all matters. What the left hand is doing the right hand should be aware naturally. This will bring bliss in the home for then they will be happy together because of the mutual trust they enjoy.
The Christian husband ought to conduct himself before his wife and the family like a well-instructed Christian man, who knows the Word of God and must therefore instruct his family in order to provide for the family both the spiritual food as he is eager to provide the physical food. Neither should be neglected.
2. HONOR YOUR WIVES
• She is a co-heir with of the grace
Christian husband and Christian wives are equally heirs of eternal salvation and this ought to make the husband to honor his wife. The true love is that which comes as a result of two heart which are both joined to Christ, having been reconciled to God. This is because any other beauty may fade but this one, which originates from God is the perfect one and is not dissolved even by death. Both have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. They have both been brought to God. They have their souls knit together by the Holy Spirit because they have true peace from God, they have the same future prospect of eternal hope of glory with God forever. They both help each other to stay focused heavenward to Christ the Author and Perfector of our salvation. For this reason the Lord helps them to live together as heirs of the life to come here on this earth as they will live forever.
This is what John Brown says, “the Christian husband, when realizes these truths, cannot but honor His Christian partner; cannot but treat her with cordial respect, as one, equally with himself, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ; already blessed with many invaluable heavenly and spiritual blessings in Christ, standing in a most dignified relation to the great God and our Saviour; already animated by His Spirit and adorned by His image, and destined to be one day perfectly like Him, their common life, when He appears in His glory; when she becomes an inheritor of that blessed world where they, “do not marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God.” (Matt 22:30).
Honor to the wife is calculated to bring a more loving and meaningful relationship. The wife is expected to pay respect to the husband (1Peter 3:2) and more so the husband. A husband ought to treat his wife in a manner that will make her a woman of noble character in words and also in preferential treatment.
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." (Pro 31:28-29. We should praise our wives in order to encourage them in this journey which is difficult for them.
We should shoulder more burdens than them in terms of duty. We should seek to protect them from such dangers that lark around – both the spiritual ones (the devils roams around like a lion looking for someone to devour, Let him not get our wives) and also physical ones. It is our responsibility to make sure that our wives are in safe hands. Coming from Siaya I arrived at 1 am in town and I was shocked when I saw a heavily pregnant lady coming from work that late in the night. In the Old Testament the ladies especially when expectant were well taken care of in protection. When should be more cautious for we live in even more evil days than then.
Look at the way Christ has taken measures to care for His church:
• He has died on the cross for her
• He has gone up to prepare a place for her ( young men be advised)
• He lives to make intercession for her
• He has given us His Spirit to indwell us and sanctify us that we may be presented holy and blameless in His sight.
3. DO NOT LET YOUR PRAYERS TO BE HINDERED
The devotional life of the husband and wife is brought into the right focus here. It is taken for granted in this passage that the husband and his wife engage in prayers together. They pray for their relationship to prosper so that they may honor God. They focus in prayer to the Lord to sustain and keep them in salvation so that they both reach the promised inheritance in which they are both heirs. They converse in prayer to know how they can be better Christian husband and wife, father and mother, grandfather and grandmother and a better Christian neighbor and so forth. The question for you then is do you pray with your wife?
They pray for their children, a responsibility that they received from God and so ask Him to give them wisdom to bring them up in His fear and knowledge. They seek God’s help in providing for them the necessities of life. How much do you pray for your children?
The effectiveness of the prayers of husband and wife are so much dependent on the manner they relate with each other. Peter was a married man and he was speaking from experience. We need to heed this word. How do we treat our wives? Note that it is the husband who is reminded of what would happen where there are domestic squabbles because he ought to be responsible.
It is particularly the duty of the husband to make sure the family devotions take place. This is not to say the wife is not to ask that they pray. It is to say that the husband has to play the leadership role to make sure that family prayer is not neglected. He has to be there for his family, to lead it and to make sure that it is part of the family. Even the world knows that the ‘family that prays together stays together.’ I am not saying that the husband is responsible for the sins of the wife or vice-versa, both have a responsibility to help each other in the fight against sin and the devil, the world and the flesh. Both must help each other to grow in grace and truth. Both need to see to it that the other is increasing in his/her love for God and His people. Both need to ensure that the other is involved in the life of the church. but particularly the husband has to give spiritual leadership in the home so that family members develop their gifts in harmony within the Christian home.
When the husband fails to live with his wife according to the inspired Word of God and does not treat her as God has said, then he sooner finds that he is unable to pray for her. Likewise the wife who does not submit to her husband will find it hard to pray for him. Clearly we discover that God does not accept prayers that a Christian couple offers when they have strife and contention. They must be reconciled first so that they are able to pray together in peace and harmony and so enjoy the blessings promised.