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Bible Passage 1 Peter

1 Peter 3:1-12: Hindered Prayer

  • Tony Raker
Date preached July 17, 2022

1 Peter 3:1-12: Hindered Prayer

One of the aspects about the life of Jesus was his constant communion with the Father. In one instance, Luke writes: “When Jesus was praying in a certain place,” (Luke 11:1a).  Jesus chose a certain place to pray, but it was not the marketplace.  It was, “by boat privately to a solitary place” (Mt. 14:13) or “rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35) or “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.  When evening came, he was there alone” (Mt. 14:23).  If Jesus needed to pray “in a certain place,” away from the distractions around him, how much more do fragile and weak people in modern society, with all of its distractions, need to as well?  Prayer wasn’t a religious to-do checklist for Jesus.  For him prayer was like unhindered breathing. Peter admonishes the same:

1 Peter 3:7…so that your prayers may not be hindered.

  • Grammatical Usage:hindered” or in the Greek, “egkoptó” meaning, “sharply impeded; interrupted; prevented.”
  • Literal Interpretation:so that your prayers are not sharply impeded, interrupted and prevented.
  • Contextual/Comparison: God keeps His Word: God continually uses His Word. How often we are hindered from praying, and even when we do pray how often our prayers are hindered! Scattered throughout the Word of God are clear warnings and statements as to how prayers are hindered ( 66:18; Pr. 21:13; 28:9; Is. 59:2; Ez. 14:3; Mal. 3:7-10; Mt. 5:23-24; Mk. 11:25; Ja. 1:5-8; 4:3; 1 Jn. 3:21-22). From these verses we learn that there are specific hindrances to prayer and conditions if prayer is to be effective:

For example: if we allow ourselves to become spiritually slack and careless we shall find that prayer is hindered, our desire for prayer wanes and our estimate of prayer will change completely. If we give up reading the Bible we shall find prayer is hindered, for the reading of God’s Word stimulates and encourages prayer. Overwork will crowd out prayer. It is possible to be so busy for God that there is little or no time left for prayer. We need to beware of the barrenness of a busy life. A worldly spirit hinders prayer. If our affections are set on earthly things, neglecting heavenly and spiritual things, then we shall lose interest in prayer and we shall even reach the point where we do not feel the need to pray. A badly ordered life will hinder prayer. To be very late to bed doesn’t help us to get up in a timely, rested manner – hindering everything, including time with God.


We often pray, but prayer doesn’t appear to be answered – yet God is waiting to give; there is no hindrance on God’s side – the hindrances are with us! Peter mentions seven hindrances to prayer. When we fail to gain the answer to our prayers it may be due to one or another or a combination of the following:

  • A wrong relationship with God. This is mentioned in 12, and the word to notice is the word ‘their’ – that is, the reference to the prayers of “the righteous”, or those who are right with God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; James 5:16). We must know the Lord Jesus as our Savior and God as our Father before we can be sure that our prayers will be heard and answered.
  • A wrong relationship with others. This is brought before us in 1-7, and in particular we notice that the relationship between husband and wife must honor God. Prayers can be hindered by the failure of the woman to recognize her God-ordained place (v. 1); and husbands also can hinder prayer, as v. 7 points out. How searching these verses are, and how important it is that our relationships with others are pleasing God! One thing in particular that hinders prayer is an unforgiving spirit, a grudge, a “bitter root” (Matthew 6:9-15; Hebrews 12:15).
  • Worldly dress can hinder prayer. How up-to-date are 3 and 4 in their application! (Compare 1 Samuel 16:7; Psalm 51:6; Isaiah 3:16-26). The Lord does not want Christians to look dowdy or conspicuous in the way they dress, but He does want them to be modest, attractive, and disciplined in attire. Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, and what we put on them must glorify Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
  • A proud spirit can hinder prayer. 4 tells us this. It is a very beautiful thing to have “a gentle and quiet spirit” (Luke 18:9-14). When we pray and realize God’s greatness and that we are nothing, then we are in the place where prayer will be effective (Isaiah 66:2; James 4:10).
  • Lack of Christian love will hinder prayer. Consider carefully what we read in 8-9. There is a great need for God’s people to be sympathetic, loving, compassionate, and humble, and these conditions must be met before we can prevail in prayer (Ephesians 4:32).
  • Unclean lips will surely hinder prayer. 10-11 are very searching. They tell us that the lips that utter prayer must be clean and that God will, in fact, never hear and answer prayers that are uttered by tale-bearing, lying or unkind lips (Isaiah 6:5; 59:1-2).
  • A bad conscience will hinder prayer. 16 and 21 tell us this. What a great thing it is to be able to look into the face of our loving Heavenly Father and to know that we have a clear conscience (Acts 24:16)! How can we have a clear conscience? Matthew 5:23 will help us here: if, when we pray, we remember something that is displeasing or grieving to the Lord, that is the thing that is hindering prayer, and that is the thing that must be dealt with.

How can we get those hindrances removed? We must be disciplined in the practice of prayer, and we must remove the hindrances that God reveals. This we can do by confessing and forsaking that which is wrong (Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9).

  • Conclusion: Has prayer been neglected in your spiritual life? Why?