Search This Blog

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Putting Up Road Blocks to Our Prayers

We have been talking about intimacy in marriage, particularly how to get it and keep it. We have been using 1st Peter 3:7 as our guide. That portion on intimacy concludes with these words, “As being heirs together of the grace of life.” This brings out the biggest hindrance to intimacy.

Who do you marry? The answer is: you marry a sinner. Hopefully, a sinner saved by grace, but you still marry a sinner. Hey, there’s nobody else to marry. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Sinners are all we get to pick from.

But in those heady days of romance, we often forget that fact. But as things settle down, and as we try to make a life together, that fact always rears its ugly head. Things start to go wrong between us, and we wonder why. The answer is: things went wrong back in the Garden of Eden, and we are still paying the price. The price is that we all inherited a sinful nature. So you married a sinner. Recognize that fact and accept it, because your spouse did too.

Since you two sinners are now together bound by your marriage covenant, it is guaranteed that hurts, wrongs, and frustrations will come. You will say mean and hurtful things to each other. You will neglect and misunderstand each other. You must learn to apologize and forgive. What you need to learn is grace – grace to overlook the hurts and continue loving.

Sue Teasdale writes in her poem, Appraisal,

“Never think she loves him wholly,
Never believe her love is blind,
All his faults are locked securely
In a closet of her mind;
All his indecisions folded
Like old flags that time has faded,
Limp and streaked with rain,
And his cautiousness like garments
Frayed and thin, with many a stain –
Let them be, oh let them be.
There is treasure to outweigh them."
That is what grace does. It is not blind to faults, but it lets them be. Grace is the only way to survive. Like God who knows our faults intimately, we must love anyway. And we must constantly forgive. Forgiveness is the surest route to intimacy.

Why is forgiveness necessary? The last part of 1st Peter 3:7 says, “That your prayers may not be hindered.” Why should we dwell with, understand, and honor our wives? Because our prayer life depends on it. When we don’t, our prayers are hindered. As Steve Chapman wrote, “If you leave a hurt in the heart of your woman, God will not hear your prayer.”

The term,” hindered,” was a military term. It was used of an army putting road blocks in the way of an advancing enemy. They would cut down trees across the road or roll rocks into it. They would destroy bridges, or dig ditches across the road. They would do whatever they could to stop the advancing troops. In the same way, ignoring those areas in our marriage that hinder intimacy puts a roadblock between you and God. Why? Because to not treat your wife right is a sin, and sin breaks fellowship. God said in Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”

Maybe that is why so many of us have prayer lives that are anemic. When our prayer are powerless, seemingly unanswered and bouncing off the ceiling, we tend to give up praying. But that isn’t the answer. Jeremiah 10:25 says, “Pour out Thy fury. . . upon the households that call not upon Thy name.” God will judge a prayer-less home. To stop praying only compounds the sin. How much better to deal with the problem? The problem may well be with your relationship with your wife. Maybe we all need to get our act together and get our marriages right.