This department is provided for the free and courteous discussion of biblical and spiritual problems which may be considered edifying to the people of God. Letters concerning such matters are requested.
The Family Prayers
Dear Brother G.
I have been interested in your comments in “The Forum” in “Food for the Flock” regarding the ministry of Christian women. I have been having a discussion with two young Christian men about this subject, and would like to have your comments on a point in question.
Should a Christian woman pray audibly in the presence of her husband in the home, when they kneel together before the Lord?
My own viewpoint, based upon 1 Corinthians 11, is that she can and should. In fact, is it not a blessed privilege for husband and wife to kneel together in prayer, and each take part in bringing the trials, burdens, and joys of the home to the Lord?
The gathering of ominous war clouds and the rapidity of current events make us believe that the “Coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” Perhaps, very soon we shall see Him! What a glorious day that will be! May we each be faithful to Him until then.
Yours in His grace,
Dear Brother C. D.
I regret the delay in making reply to your letter which followed me into the “Deep South” and back again, and then was mislaid.
In making comments on the question under discussion, one feels as Paul when he wrote of certain matters and prefaced them with such statements: “I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.” “I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.”
While it is not possible to focus attention to any direct injunction from Scripture, 1 Pet. 3:7 might cast some light upon the matter.
This passage is very important when one recalls the position of subjugation generally given to the woman in the Ancient World. Dr. Ryrie informs us: “Greek women… were placed almost on the same level with the slave and were under the authority and control of their husbands both by custom and by law.” “Under the Roman Empire women enjoyed a somewhat better standing … however, the wife was still regarded merely as a piece of property completely under the control of the husband.”
This interesting verse treats the Christian woman as a joint-heir with her husband, associated with him in true emotional and spiritual coordination.
There are several impressive words employed here by the Holy Spirit. The word “dwell” suggests a dwelling together and clearly embraces every aspect of married life, and the dwelling together is to be according to knowledge; that is, with a perfect mutual understanding. The word “giving” similarly suggests an equitable giving of honour. What honour the husband would receive for him, self, he should be willing to apportion to his wife. They both alike are heirs of the grace of eternal life. This dwelling together, this matter of mutual understanding, this being heirs together of the same life, this extension of similar honour all sustain the idea that husband and wife ought also to be together in prayer. The words, “That their prayers be not hindered;” that is, cut off, intimate that they should pray together.
The woman is silent in the church because of her secondary place in creation and because of her priority in transgression (1 Tim. 1:12-14). As she bows in prayer beside her husband, she acknowledges his leadership and her scriptural obedience to him, and with him acknowledges the Lord and their dependence upon Him.
Dr. Robert Leighton has several excellent paragraphs on this point in his Commentary on First Peter; he writes: “These heirs, if they be alone, they pray alone; if heirs together, and living together, they pray together. Can the husband and wife have that love, wisdom, and meekness, which may make their life happy, and that blessing which may make their affairs succesful, while they neglect God, the only Giver of these and all good things?” “And it is not enough that they pray when with the family, but even husband and wife together by themselves, and also, with their children” ought to pray.
Sincerely in Christ,