Rabbi Schneider - Foundations of Prayer
I'm going to be hitting on some key points that I believe are foundations for authentic prayer. A lot of people when they hear that they ought to pray, they think of works. They think of, you know, "How do I pray"? Like it's something that we have to know how to do. In reality, authentic prayer has nothing to do with following a formula. So what we are going to do is we're going to begin to define, at least from my perspective, what authentic prayer is all about. First of all, beloved ones, authentic prayer begins by faith. What do I mean by that? If somebody doesn't have faith that there is a God and that God will respond to them when they cry out, they're not going to be motivated to pray.
So the Bible says in the book of Hebrews 11:6, that those that are going to please God must, first of all, believe that He exists. I mean, how are we going to please God if we don't believe in Him, right? We must believe that He exists. And the author of Hebrews says that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. So that really creates a foundation for authentic prayer. It begins with believing there is a God, that He hears us, and that if we call out to Him, responds.
So the author of Hebrews says that He's a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. And this sense of being rewarded for those that seek Him would translate into believing that if we call upon Him He's going to answer us. So it's very simple. But to believe that God will hear you creates a momentum for you to enter into communication with God. People that are trapped in darkness, that have lost a vision for the reality of God in the earth, they're not going to be talking to Him, they're not going to be praying to Him. But if you and I deep in our heart we know there's a Creator, and we're desperate for answers, and we're hungry to know Him and to experience His reality and His presence in our life, we're going to call out to Him and we're going to pray.
So number one, authentic prayer begins with faith. Secondly, authentic prayer is authentic in the sense of... It sounds redundant authentic prayer is authentic. But what I mean by that is that true prayer is when we call upon God from our heart in such a way that we're not putting on any type of persona. Sometimes when people pray, it's like they change their language. You know, they begin to speak and thees and thous. "Oh, great thou Mighty One. Hear thee we pray". I mean, that's not the type of language that necessarily gets God's attention. What God responds to is when we're praying to Him transparently from our heart.
So authentic prayer is when we're being real with God, we would talk to Him like we would talk to our trusted best friend, and even beyond that. I mean, we know that the Lord knows everything about us. He knows the vile attitude that we have sometimes. He knows sometimes the jealousy, the selfishness, even the hatred that we might experience in our heart. He knows all that. But the Bible says that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. So Jesus died for us when we were completely living separated from God. How much more can we trust Him to love us and to accept us now that we're putting our attention upon Him? The Bible tells us to come boldly, boldly before the throne of grace. Despite our sin, despite our imperfection, despite the things in our soul that need to be cleansed, we can come boldly to God just as we are because of the blood of Jesus.
So we want to have confidence that we can be transparent with the Lord. The enemy perverts that true type of thinking by making people afraid to come to God because they feel sinful. That's what the enemy wants. He wants people to feel trapped in their guilt so that they'll be afraid or intimidated to talk to God. After all, that's what happened to Adam and Eve in the garden, right? The Bible tells us in the book of Bereshit, or Genesis, that after Adam and Eve sinned, suddenly they realized they were naked. So what does that mean? They used to be God-conscious before they sinned. But when they sinned, the communication with the Lord, the connection was broken, so they no longer were God-conscious. They lost that connection of God-consciousness. And instead, their attention just came upon themselves, they became self-conscious. And in that state of self-consciousness, they felt insecure and afraid. So the next thing they did, we read about in the book of Genesis, is they began to run from God. So they sinned, then suddenly they felt naked, and they began to run.
Well, mankind, humanity is in the same plight today. They don't realize it. They're denying there is a God. But reality says that they're in the same place today as they were in at the very beginning when Adam and Eve sinned. Mankind is still, beloved ones, trying to cover up their nakedness, trying to cover up that sense inside that something's not right, that sense of anxiousness that comes from not being connected to Hashem, to Father God. And in that state of anxiousness that comes as a result of the broken connection that goes, once again, all the way back to Adam and Eve, what man tries to do is to cover that sense of anxiety, that sense of guilt, that sense of shame by putting things over their life, whether it be social media, whether it be illicit relationships, whether it be food, whether it be alcohol. All those things are the same thing that Adam and Eve tried to do when they tried to run from God and hide from Him. They tried to cover up their nakedness.
So the key is to not let the enemy make us feel ashamed. We need to come to God just as we are, knowing that despite our sin, we're accepted in the Beloved, and knowing that Jesus loves us, you and I, right here and right now, right where we're at. We can open our mouth, beloved ones, and be completely transparent with Him. That's the key to talk to God transparently. Authentic prayer is being open and transparent with HaShem. HaShem is just a way to say The Name, The Great Name of God. In Hebrew, it would be composed of the four Hebrew letters, Yud Hei Vav Hei, which most Semitic scholars believe is pronounced a breathy YHWH. So we call upon the Lord, we call upon the Father, and we talk to Him. We say, "Father God, I'm feeling really bad inside. I don't know what's wrong. I feel afraid or I feel lonely or I feel like my heart is defiled".
Whatever it is that you're feeling, you can talk to God about it. You tell Him exactly what you're feeling and then you simply call out to Him for mercy and ask Him for help. Because the only way to get whole, beloved one, the only way to get healed is to let the Lord meet you right where you're at. So you have to come to Him transparently right where you're at. If you're struggling in sin, you cry out to God in the midst of your sin. You talk to Him about it. Just like you talk to yourself about it, you talk to Him about it. And He enters into that place of need as you connect with Him in your place of need. But it will only happen when you're being open and transparent. open and transparent.
See, one of the key fundamental laws or truths of the kingdom is this. God's power is perfected God's power is perfected in our weakness. In other words, when we depend upon the Lord, when we're in a state of weakness, that's where His grace comes in and strengthens us and it becomes a platform for future momentum and breakthrough. So the challenge that you might be facing right now, rather than letting it make you run from God because you're ashamed of it, or because you become so fearful and anxious that the fear and the anxiety shuts you off from communion, instead, what you do is you connect with God in your challenge. Even having faith, which was our first point, authentic prayer begins with faith, even having faith that the challenge that you have can actually turned into a gift to you from God. Because man's problems are God's opportunities. And Jesus said, "He that overcomes much loves much".
And so rather than looking at your challenge as something that's a terrible thing, instead, embrace it, thank God for it. Because as you connect with the Lord and depend on Him in the midst of your challenge, you'll be strengthened. Because His power will be perfected in your weakness, you will eventually overcome it and there'll be like a fusion that will have taken place in your soul as you depended on God as you walk through that trial. That's why Paul tells us in the book of Corinthians that there was a messenger of Satan that was given to Him, that was actually appointed from the Lord in his life. It was part of God's divine design, this messenger of Satan, this problem that Paul had. So Paul began to say, "Lord, take this problem away". And then the Lord spoke to Paul. Paul cried out a number of times. The Scripture says three times Paul said, "I cried out, Lord, take away this problem, this this messenger of Satan, this thing in my life".
We don't know what it was. But it was causing Paul pain. Finally, after calling upon the Lord three times about this, the Lord spoke back to Paul and He said, "Paul, I'm not going to take the problem away. My grace is sufficient for you to get through this problem. And beyond that," the Lord said to Paul, "My power will be perfected in your weakness". The problem was making Paul weak. But in Paul's weakness, he was even more desperate for the Lord. And the Lord said, "Through your desperation that you're experiencing now because of this overwhelming problem that you have, I'm going to fuse your soul to mine and you're going to come out of this thing empowered because you depended on me in your weakness and were made strong".
God's power is made perfect, beloved, in our weakness. The point, be transparent with God. We're talking about authentic prayer. Real prayer takes place when you simply talk to God, sharing everything with Him. You have to open up to Him and share your life with Him. You can't just talk to God, when you're feeling holy. You can't just talk to God when you're in some type of religious church mode. No. Paul said, "Pray ceaselessly". We talk to Him about everything, as Clint Eastwood said, "The good, the bad, and the ugly". And once again, making emphasis here as to why you need to talk with God when you're struggling. Whether it's sin, whether it's pride, whether it's selfishness, whether it's sexual temptation, whether that you're feeling some type of just foul attitude, whether you're dealing with a demonic spirit, whatever it is, you talk to God about it. He's right with you in it. He wants to fuse Himself with you in the valleys. That's where the strength is forged.
You know, I think of another scripture that you might want to jot this down. It's in the book of 2 Corinthians 1. And Paul, the great apostle in the New Testament wrote this. He said, "I would have you know, brethren, that I am burdened excessively beyond strength so that I despair," Paul said, "even of life". So think about this. Paul was so challenged, he was so heavy with what he was burdened with. He was going through so much. He didn't even want to continue on. It was that heavy. He said, "I would have you know, brethren, that I am burdened excessively," he said. I don't even want to live tomorrow was basically what he was saying, so that I despair of life, he said. Don't misunderstand. Paul obviously did not have a suicidal spirit. He just said, "Life was so hard in the natural, he didn't want to go on". But he said this next. He said, "But this happens to me that I would learn to trust in God, in HaShem, Father God, that raises the dead".
In other words, Paul was saying, God put me in such a place of hardship and weakness that there's no natural help for me. There's nobody that can help me right now. The physicians can't help me. My insurance agent can't help me. My governor can't help me. The president can't help me. Nobody can help me. But he said, "This all has come upon me so that I would come to the very end of every earthly resource outside me and in myself so that there's only one thing left to do". And that's to look up and connect with God that raises the dead. So this is what I'm talking about. Jesus, Jesus is standing at the door of our hearts and He's knocking. He wants us to let Him in. He wants us to let Him in. You see, sometimes people hear that word, Jesus speaking in the book of Revelation, Jesus says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. Whoever opens and invites me, I will dine with Him".
Sometimes we have heard that scripture quoted when an evangelist gives an altar call for people to respond for salvation for the first time.` And that is a very good use of that particular verse. It's a very applicable verse for that. But it means so much more than simply praying a sinners prayer and asking Jesus to save us the first time. It's a continual... The Spirit of the Lord, beloved ones, He's continually knocking at the door of your heart and my heart every single day because He wants to come in deeper than we've let Him. He wants us to surrender to His mastership, His mastery, His lordship over our life more than we have. He wants us to make Him our Lord. And so transparent prayer is about letting Him in, surrendering to Him, trusting Him.
And then as we do that, we surrender to His Lordship. And as we practice these principles, beloved, we're entering in to the depths of what I am calling, in this series, authentic prayer. As we begin to close this episode today, notice, beloved ones, children of God, I didn't talk about formulas, I didn't talk about set prayers. Nothing that I said sounded religious because God's not religious. And we haven't been called to religion, we've been called into a divine relationship.
So Father God in Yeshua's name, in Jesus' name, we thank You today, Daddy, for your love for us. Father, we thank You that right now you're knocking at the door of our hearts, that you love us, that you're waiting for us to open up because you want to come in and fellowship with us. And Father, in Yeshua's name, in King Jesus' name, we say yes to you now. I want to ask you, put your hand over your heart with me now and say, Father, help me to open my heart to You. Father, I ask you to draw me to yourself through Jesus. Jesus, I want to let You in. Help me to open my heart wider to You. Help me to trust You. Help me to believe. Let me allow you to serve me.
You see, Jesus, beloved one, He's come as a servant. He wants to serve you. But in order for Him to be able to serve you and empower you and equip you and bring you into something more, we have to talk with Him, we have to be authentic, and we have to let Him in. God loves us so much. Will you and I break away from looking from man to be our answer, and from fearing man? And will we instead turn to the Lord to make Him first? God is knocking at the door of your heart right now. He's waiting for you, my beloved friend, to let Him in. Let's let Him in together. As we do, we will experience more and more shalom.