That Your Prayers May Not Be Hindered – Part Two.

That Your Prayers May Not Be Hindered – Part Two.

1 Peter 3:8-12, 8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing….

In I Peter, Peter mentions prayer three times. What is remarkable about these three instances is that there is something common to each of them.

The First Mention: First, Peter has a word for husbands about prayer.

The Second Mention: Second, in the next paragraph he speaks to all believers.

The Third Mention: Third, in 1 Peter 4:7 he says, The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer [literally: for the sake of prayers].

What Is the Common Thread?

Now what is the unusual common thread running through those three references to prayer? What struck me is that all three teach us not that praying helps us live right, but that living right helps us pray

All Believers

Peter in verses 8 and 9 calls on all of us, not just husbands, to be sympathetic, and brotherly and kindhearted and humble, and not to return evil for evil but to bless those who are unkind to us. Then he gives a reason for why we should live like this. It’s a quote from Psalm 34 and in verse 12 the reason comes to a climax with the same kind of argument as in 3:7 namely, prayers are hindered if you don’t live this way. God has a special openness to the prayers of those who pursue peace and whose lips are pure and who don’t use guile (deceit). Verse 12: “For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

God listens to the prayers of those who live like this: keep the tongue from evil, refrain from guile, seek peace, do righteousness. So here again Peter is telling us how to keep our prayers from being hindered. It’s the same thing Jesus was teaching in the Lord’s Prayer when he told us to pray, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12). Not forgiving those who repent will clog our prayers. That’s Peter’s point too. There is a way to live that hinders our prayers and a way to live that helps our prayers. From the Pen of John Piper, January 1994

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