>I was recently talking with someone about things that could stand in the way of God answering our prayers. Several he mentioned were fairly obvious: unconfessed sin (Ps 66:18), selfish motives (James 4:3-4), double-mindedness/doubt (James 1:6-8). But then, he mentioned in passing something that I had never thought of – dishonoring my wife. My curiosity led me to 1 Peter 3:7. Let me start off by saying that I have long been uncomfortable with this verse because of its patriarchal tone, but I had to take another reading here to see what it said about prayer. I’ll never forget my engagement party. One of the group activities was to write out advice for a good marriage on index cards. These were then read to us, and everyone got a good laugh until someone read this verse penciled on the card. Peter writes, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel (interestingly enough, the card stopped here!) since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” I’ve written some thoughts below pertaining specifically to men in ministry. For my sister co-workers, I will trust you to be able to wisely make application towards your husbands. For you singles in ministry, please receive this bit as my own index card of advice for you.Let me make a few observations:• However way you want to take weakness, this much can be agreed upon. The nature of the wife as a weaker vessel is a reason to give them honor. Weakness does not imply inferiority, but honor.• Along the same vein, despite being a weaker vessel, husbands are reminded that their wives are not just co-partners in parenting, domestic duties, and sexuality. No, wives are co-inheritors of the grace of life. That is, they have the same inheritance status as we do, meaning that they have the same ‘sonship’ rights to all that we will possess in Christ Jesus!• Finally, we must pay attention to the final “SO THAT” in v. 7. Here’s the punchline – the way we treat our wives has EVERYTHING to do with how our prayers flow. No one would deny the impact and core place that prayer has in our ministries. No one would attempt to bear fruit in the kingdom without prayer (although sometimes that is how we work, isn’t it). Yet, Peter is clear here that to dishonor our wives, to not give them understanding/respect/knowledge is to cut off the powerline to our prayers. It is to cut down a giant tree and block our pipeline to God. It’s right up there with unconfessed sin, doubt, and selfishness.Perhaps Peter has in mind all of the distractions, discomforts, and disruptions that a rocky marriage/home life can bring to a prayerful life. But I find that more often than not, those rocky times drive me to prayer. So rather, it could be that Peter is referring to a habitual attitude of not honoring our wives. As we dishonor them by deception, pride, condescension, unthankfulness, selfishness, and neglect, we hinder the very prayers that can give us life.So brothers, whatever ministry pressures you may be facing, remember that nothing happens without prayer (John 15:5-7), and that if you are dishonoring your wife, your prayers will be hindered. Have a conversation tonight. Repent, confess, and humble yourself. I did that last night, and I’ve found that indeed Peter knew what he was talking about.