praying-1024x768Husbands, listen up! What would you think if I were to tell you that your prayers could be potentially “cut off” or “hewn down?” In other words, if prayer were like the planting of a tree and the ultimate goal was to produce fruit from that tree; what if all your efforts to produce fruit from prayer were found to become nothing more than a frustrated remnant of a stump sticking out of the ground?

How would you feel if I were to then tell you that the adversary is not the devil, some despicable imp, or some agency of evil, but rather, it was God that was “cutting off” or “hewing down” your rising prayers? Unfortunately, this may be happening to more husbands today than you realize. Before I go any further, what if this husband were you? What if the knowledge from this simple and humble treatise revealed that your prayers were being made ineffective, unfruitful, and undesirable? Would you change? Would you attempt to implement extreme paradigm shifts?

If prayer is not important to you then perhaps the answer is “no.” However, if prayer is something that you value, which ultimately declares your affection and concern with God’s relationship in your life then the answer, hopefully, would be a resounding, “yes I will do anything to change this issue!” So, what then could be “cutting off” or “hewing down” your uplifted prayers to God? Take a mirror and look intently into its reflective surface…what do you see? Of course! You see yourself. Yes, sadly, you are the reason your prayers are being cut off and hewn down. Just for a little bit I want to talk to you about “Hindered Husbands.”

What does it mean to be a husband? Well, first thing first, a husband is a man. Yeah, profound right? Well, it actually is. Anyone that calls himself a husband is making a statement. I am a man, created in the image of God, and called to be a worker. You are masculine, strong, ethical…you are a man!

This is something which I feel would benefit us all as men, especially those of us who seek ministry. We loosely throw out the term today, “man of God.” Well, the key term implied in that is “MAN.” Yes…I am a firm believer that before one works on becoming a minister he first becomes a man! Look at what the Apostle Paul states:

1 Corinthians 13:11 (KJV)
11  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

There are some behavioral patterns and characteristics which make a child a child and a man, well, a man! A man doesn’t speak, understand, or think like a child. Instead, the unsaid is that a man speaks, understands, and thinks like a man! How does this happen? Well, by “putting away childish things.”

This doesn’t fly in the face of “except you become as little children” (Matt. 18:3) but instead, speaks of those qualities and attributes that are childish. Children avoid responsibility. Children avoid work. Children have to be disciplined to do what is right many times. Children are impressionable, emotional, and easily hurt. Children play games, sleep in, are lazy many times, and are typically selfish. It is crucial that men of God become what the first word implies…MEN!

Secondly, and perhaps what most would have said first, being a husband means that you are a “married man.” I know that is deep, but it implies quite a bit. Not only are you a man as above described, but you are a married man. No longer are you responsible to yourself but now you are responsible to your spouse. You are under a legal contract, recognized by state, humanity, and God.

Here we focus so much on the Biblical stances of headship and authority. Here men are astutely versed in their position as the leaders of the home. Here men quickly stand as the decision makers, the bread winners, and the strong able-bodied.

However, we often fail to observe the contrasting scriptures which are given to our wives. We see the submission of the wives to their husband but we fail to grasp what that implies in our own responsibility under the headship of Christ. We see such scriptures as Titus 2:5 which admonishes wives to be “discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands,” but we fail to grasp what the also means for us. When is the last time you viewed your spouse as God’s daughter? When is the last time you even recognized that in the greater scope, she, as well as yourself, were both sheep in God’s great fold?

When is the last time you reflected on the true meaning of “husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church?” When is the last time you reflected on the meaning of “I would that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting?” Is it any coincidence that the Greek word for men is explicitly identifying “grown adult men” in contrast with boys and young children? I think not…

Isn’t it curious that the admonition, though we understand it encompasses all who proclaim Christian allegiance, is made to MEN and the MEN ought to pray…yes pray…everywhere, lifting up separated hands without wrath and doubting? Think about that men…we were called to pray!

Do you realize that Jesus Christ was a real man? He was tough, yet gentle. He was powerful, but meek. He was a man acquainted with grief, hard work, long travel, and weary days. Jesus was all man and what you will find Jesus doing the most, as the Son of God? PRAYING. Yes sir…Jesus prayed in the desert, the mountains, the valleys, along the river banks, out on the turbulent waters, in the face of opposition, at the tomb of dead men…Jesus prayed EVERYWHERE. Now THAT my friend is a REAL MAN!

And so, I would hope that as MEN, Christian men, we are all men who pray. And if we pray I would hope that our prayers are powerful, consistent, dynamic, full of tears and travail, and effective!

James 5:16b (KJV)
…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

And yet, as this treatise first implied, there is a possibility that your prayers are being CUT OFF and HEWN DOWN. And as implied, the reason is not the devil, the world, or an agency of evil; you could be the problem. So how does this factor in. How it that husbands are hindered in prayer? To understand we need to look into the admonition of a married man named Peter.

1 Peter 3:1-6 (KJV)
1Likewise, 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; 2  While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3  Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4  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. 5  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: 6  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.

The first half of the third chapter of Peter’s first epistle is addressed to wives. However it isn’t what is found in the first six verses which intrigues me…it’s the seventh verse which becomes a clarion call for all of us men!

1 Peter 3:7 (KJV)
7  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.

Husbands! Yes…husbands! Dwell with them according to knowledge! What is this saying? “The words (kata gnōins) translated considerate (more lit., “according to knowledge” or “with understanding”) point out that husbands should understand and be considerate of their wives’ spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.”- Bible Knowledge Commentary

Have you decided to use the old adage, “men can never understand women” as your copout? If so, I would submit this flies in the face of scripture. Do you just shrug off the issues with statements such as: “she’s just being a woman” “She’s just being emotional” “It’s just that time of the month.” Well, we need to stop! Nothing is more inconsiderate than not considering the very fact that she IS a woman!

So we are to dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel. One Pastor in a sermon wrote:

The King James Version calls the husband to live with his wife “according to knowledge.” (1Pe 3:7KJV) That’s a good way to put it. Know your wife! Study her, get to know what makes her tick, figure out how her mind works, and learn what her gifts are, her desires, her talents, her hopes and dreams. A Christian husband who really knows his wife sees her talents and abilities, opens the door and says, “Sweetheart, go for it.” If she can sing, if she can teach, if she can write, if she can buy and sell, if she can organize, if she can design, if she can administrate, if she can encourage, if she can counsel, if she can program a computer, if she can start a company, if she can think creatively, he says, “Go for it!”…

So Peter says it’s your job to study your wife, to get to know her intimately, and to live together with her on the basis of that knowledge. Many years ago, when I was a student at Dallas Seminary, Dr. Craig Massey, then Pastor of Des Plaines Bible Church, came to hold a two-day conference on marriage. Most of what he said has long been forgotten. But one thing remains. He quoted Song of Solomon 4:3 where the lover says to his beloved: “Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate.” Craig Massey said if you open up a pomegranate, you find that it has many sections inside, little ones and big ones. He said that’s what a woman’s mind is like. Complex with many sections, big and small. Modern science backs up Solomon’s insight. We know that the brain contains two hemispheres—the left and the right. Neuroscientists tell us that women typically have a larger pathway between the two hemispheres so that information flows more freely. To put it simply, most men have a footpath, most women have a superhighway. They are generally more verbal and more in touch with their emotions and better at forming deep relationships. Men are better with non-verbal tasks. That’s why we have the remote control. I would say more about how women and men think differently, but the women already know this and the guys are going, “What’s he talking about?”

Women are amazing. That’s why you can be married for 30 years and still find your wife fascinating and captivating. Her mind works in so many ways. The wise husband recognizes in his wife all sorts of talents and abilities, and he encourages her to develop them. That’s what the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 did. She developed them for the good of her own family. Many husbands fear their wives will change if they really turn them loose. They’re right. Your wife will change and all for the better. You have to lose the seed to gain the flower. How beautiful to see a Christian wife blossom under the creative encouragement of a wise husband. Men, don’t hold her back. Let her be all she can be for the glory of God. Don’t stifle that budding desire. Water it, nourish it, and bring it to full bloom. Ray Pritchard

It is amazing on several levels that many times in premarital counseling when a future couple is given pads of paper and asked to write down several things each one thinks the other enjoys doing the most; the woman immediately writes things down while the man sits and thinks. Even more amazing is that typically the woman is right and the man is wrong!

Look at what J.H. Jowett has to say:

What are the lineaments of the ideal husband? “Dwell with your wives according to knowledge.” [Verse 7] How shall we describe the characteristic? Let us call it the atmosphere of reasonableness. “According to knowledge.” We may grasp its content by proclaiming its opposite: “Dwell with your wives according to ignorance. Just walk in blindness. Don’t look beyond your own desires. Let your vision be entirely introspective and microscopic. Never exercise your eyes in clear and comprehensive outlook. Dwell in ignorance!” No, says the apostle, “dwell according to knowledge.” Keep your eyes open. Let reason be alert and active. Let all your behaviour be governed by a sweet reasonableness. Don’t let appetite determine a doing. Don’t let thy personal wish have the first and last word. Exalt thy reason! Give sovereignty to thy reason! Be thoughtful and unceasingly considerate. It is the absence of this prevailing spirit of reasonableness which has marred and murdered many a bright and fair-promising communion. “He is not really bad at heart, but he doesn’t think!” That is the fatal defect. He does not think! He dwells according to ignorance; his reason is asleep, and the beautiful, delicate tie of wedded fellowship is smitten, wounded, and eventually destroyed.

Giving honor, Peter admonished! Honor her. Do you realize that that very word “honor” in the Greek can point directly to the sum or value of any said thing? In other words, when is the last time we asked, as husbands, “How do I value my wife?” I am learning that typically the answer we may give will often reveal a number far less in the opinion of our spouses. If I say “TEN” she probably feels “5.”

Oh, this is so important. What value could I place upon my wife? We may say all the time, “You are the BEST thing that ever happened to me!” However, our actions, words, and expressions quickly reveal the semantics of that statement. When we value something it truly shows. Men, dwell with your wives according to knowledge…

What happens if I fail to do so? What happens to me as a man and a husband? My prayers are hindered. How is this so? Once again…we forget who it is that we married. We forget that she is a daughter of the King, a sheep of His fold, an inheritor of His Kingdom.

How can God answer our prayers and reach our needs if we are unwilling to consider those whom God has entrusted us to care for? How can we expect fruit to be borne upon our trees of prayer…how can we expect our prayers to even stand if we neglect “dwelling with her according to knowledge?” Will you consider? God forbid that my prayers are hindered, cut off, hewn down because as a husband I fail to “dwell with my wife according to knowledge.”

And so, I end, though I could go on, with but a simple statement: God will see and hear the men who see and hear their wives.

Husbands…LOVE your wife as Christ loved the church…dwell with them according to knowledge.