I am currently preaching through 1 Peter. This week's sermon is drawn from 1 Peter 3:1-7, which ends with these words:
"…so that your prayers may not be hindered."
As Peter has been writing to these early Christians scattered across Asia Minor he notes that there are circumstances, or perhaps better said, conditions of their hearts, which, when present, affect the ability of these Christians to have open communication with God through prayer.
John Calvin had this to say about that phrase of Peter:
"For we are more than insane, if we knowingly and willfully close up the way to God’s presence by prayer, since this is the only refuge of our salvation."
I love the way that Calvin cuts to the chase. Here is my paraphrase:
God is our only refuge, and we, through the conditions of our hearts, conditions that we know exist and do nothing to change, would close off the way to speak with God, and to clearly hear from God. That's insanity!
Part of the preparation for preaching is that the text should speak to the preacher. And this text speaks to me. There are times, every day, when the conditions of my heart are such that I know I am not in the right place to approach God. And I am thankful that God, by His Spirit, works on me and in me, so that preparing my heart is an integral, an essential part, of my approach to Him.
May God be at work in your heart "…so that your prayers may not be hindered."
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.