For Christians, it is hard to imagine going through our daily lives without the blessing of prayer. However, if we are not careful, our prayers may not be accepted by God. First of all, Christians need to make sure that they address prayer to the proper One. Can you imagine what it would be like to try and communicate with a loved one or friend, but yet your correspondence was sent to the wrong recipient? Not much good would come of such. Jesus taught that prayers should be addressed to “Our Father which art in heaven…” (Matt. 6:9). This is direct opposition to those who teach that prayers can be directed to Jesus, Mary, or someone else. There is no where in the New Testament that teaches prayer is to be addressed to any other in the Godhead than the Father. Even Jesus, when He prayed on Earth, addressed His prayers only to His Father. Take for instance John 17. The Bible has recorded “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee” (John 17:1). So, if we do not want our prayers to be hindered, then we need to make sure that our prayers are sent to the right One.
Next, if we want our prayers to be useful and beneficial, then we need to make sure that we are not “self-righteous”. Unfortunately, during the time of His life on Earth, Jesus encountered those who “…trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:” (Luke 18:9). The Lord took the opportunity to speak against such behavior. He said, “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:10-14). In order for our prayers not to be hindered, we need to exhibit an attitude of humility and contriteness. Instead of pretending to be “self-righteous”, we need to remember the instruction of the apostle John. He wrote, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:6-9).
Another area of concern for our prayers to be received acceptably is the relationship that husbands have with their wives. Peter took time to instruct spouses about their need to abide as God desires. He wrote, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Pet. 3:1-7). That is correct, the prayers of a man can be “hindered” if he refuses to “…dwell with…” his wife “…according to knowledge”. Wives should be treated well by their husbands. The greatest example of such is Christ’s love and care for His bride, the church.
Let us do what we can to enjoy the blessings of a fruitful prayer life. Just like with any other issue, if we need to repent and do better, then let us have the courage and willingness to do such.
~ Corey Barnette