Rabbi Schneider - What to Truly Pray For?
When we speak about keys to answered prayer, I'm going to be focusing on several. But I want to talk first of all about what I shared in It's so important as we connect with God, if we're going to move God's heart, if we're going to see His glory manifest in our life, that we need to be authentic. As we're speaking to the Lord, it can't just be something that we're doing out of a sense of obligation. It can't just be words that we're doing because we think that we have to. To truly connect with the Lord, we have to be speaking to Him, beloved children of God, from our heart. Our prayer connection has to be real. And only God knows and you know if it's real.
I mean, let's face it. How many of us have prayed before, even if we're just praying before a meal, and although we're saying religious words, and although we're saying that we're praying to God, in reality our hearts are not connected? Remember Jesus accused the Pharisees of this. He said, "Their hearts are far from Me. They do all these things, these religious deeds, but the reality is their hearts are not really connected to Me". So I covered that in great detail and in many different facets on my earlier series called Authentic Prayer. I went deep in that series. It's really worth listening to it. You can do television, YouTube, many different ways, podcast.
Today as I speak about keys to answered prayer, I want to focus on the key of asking God for the right things. If you're going to see God move in your life, if you're going to witness Him answering your prayer, you have to be asking Him, beloved one, for the right things. John wrote in one of His letters, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, we know that our request have been granted. Listen again. We have two different categories we could put this concept in. We have the category of asking the Lord for things that are not His will. And if we're asking the Lord for things that are not His will, we have no confidence that He's going to answer those things no matter how much fleshly faith we think we have. But if we pray things, the Bible tells us, that are according to His will, in other words, the thing that's in our heart that we're asking Him for is the same thing that Father wants for us in Jesus. When we're connecting with the Lord in that way, we can know that our prayers are gonna move mountains.
Now, some of you might feel, "Oh, my gosh, well, you know what? All the things that God wants for me are not really the things that get me excited". I mean, that's kind of like similarly some people think that going to heaven is going to be boring. You know, some people have this concept of heaven where there's going to be these angels just kind of floating around with harps and they're going to be just sitting there not doing anything and they're going to be bored. So some people they're not attracted to heaven because they have such a wrong concept of what it is. Well, the same thing is true for some people when they think about "I should be praying, those things that God wants for me. I want to pray the things that are according to His will".
Some people think that, "Wow, if I pray for the things that are according to His will, I'm not really that excited about that, because the things that I want, I want a new Corvette, I want a new house, I want to marry a beautiful soulmate". I mean, things that God blesses us with sometimes when we seek His kingdom first. But those are not the primary things that are in the heart of God for you and I. So what I want to do is I want to get you excited about what God wants for you and what is His will for your life. Because if you ask Him, beloved ones, for what He wants for you, He's going to answer those prayers when you're truly asking Him for those things from your heart of hearts, from deep inside.
So we're going to go now to the book of Ephesians 3, and we're going to find out what is it that the Lord wants for us. Knowing that if we ask anything according to His will, He's going to answer, we're going out to the book of Ephesians 3 to find out what is it that is God's will for my life. And I think what you're going to do is you're going to get excited about what His will is for you. And you'll begin to pray for these things often. And as a result, you're going to see increase in your life. So Ephesians 3, beginning there in verse 14. "For this reason," Paul said, "I bow my knees before the Father..." So this is Paul speaking to us about his posture of prayer. He's bowing his knees before the Father.
Now, we know that a lot of people when they pray they literally get on their knees. When we see portraits, for example of people praying before they go to bed, children, adults, a lot of times in photos or pictures, you know, we see photos of people on their knees with their hands claps like this as they're on their knees. And that's fine. That's great. But you can have a posture of being on your knees before the Lord without actually physically being on your knees. So when Paul says, "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father," I'm not sure if he's necessarily saying that he's physically on his knees, although he very well could have been. I think it was a posture of his heart.
I remember as a young believer I'd be laying on my bed... I'm going back over 40 years ago now. And constantly I'd be being hit, beloved ones, with things that I should pray for. Just like inspirations. Like, "Oh, I've got to ask God for this. I've got to talk with God about this". A lot of them were from the Holy Spirit. And whenever these inspirations hit me as I was lying in my bed, I felt like I needed to get out of my bed and go to the foot of my bed and get on my knees. And I would do that thousands of times for years. And it was good. It was okay. But eventually the Holy Spirit began to show me you don't have to get out of your bed and go to the foot of your bed and get on your knees. Trust that when you have that feeling that you want to do that that you're already doing it. Because it's in your heart. Are you getting what I'm saying?
When Paul says, "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father," first of all, it's a posture of heart. And God wants you and I to know that we don't have to do something on the outside, in the physical world to get Him to hear us. When it's in our heart we're already connected. This is important because God wants you and I to be confident that He's connected to our hearts. And if you feel inspired to ask the Lord for something, the very inspiration that you have, that is where the connection is. You don't have to do something else a lot of times. You just be confident that the Lord hears that inspiration that's internal in you, and just be confident that He hears that and that it's already answered. Because remember if you're asking Him for anything according to His will, John told us in his letter, know that you already have that request.
This is important. It's important that we become so centered in the Holy Spirit that we know that nothing is oftentimes required on the outside, it's already happened within. And this actually gets to the next portion of Paul's prayer. So first of all, he's in this posture of prayer, this posture of humility. "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father..." He's in this posture of humility. He's in this posture of dependency. He's in this posture of knowing how great God is, how good God is, and how God is a God that answers in His loving kindness. And then what is he asking for? Verse 16, here's what he's asking for. "...that He would grant you, according to the riches of his glory..."
What is God's glory? God's glory is glory? God's glory is His manifest presence. So when you study the word "glory" in the Bible, what you'll see is it's most often associated, beloved Church, with when God shows up so that people can experience Him in their physical existence. So in other words, the glory of God filled the temple. What happened? When the temple was dedicated to the Lord, the glory of God filled it. And how did the glory of God fill it? It was filled with smoke. So there was a physical manifestation of God's supernatural presence. So most often when glory is associated in the Bible... when the word "glory" is used in the Bible, it's associated with God's manifest physical, supernatural activity in the earth. So Paul is praying that the invisible God would manifest Himself supernaturally in a way that you could, listen, experience.
So listen again. "...that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with power..." P-O-W-E-R. With power. That God's glory, His invisible power would strengthen you so that you'd experience it. Paul said, "...through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith..." So I want to stop for a second and pause. And we're going to connect what I just read with what I previously said going into it. What I previously said is that God wants us to know that He hears the slightest whisper, the slightest inclination. He responds to our desires. So Paul just said here, "I pray that God would strengthen you by His glory with power in your inner man, inside now..."
Because remember I just got done saying that God wants you to know He's connected to your inside, right? You don't want to have to get out of your bed all the time and go to the foot of your bed and get on your knees, because God wants you to know that he's connected to your inner man. There's nothing outward oftentimes that's required. What God is looking for is for you to simply believe that He heard you and He already answered. That's where real intimacy comes from. When you get to the place where you think you don't have to do something on the outside to connect with God, but rather, instead you know He already hears the slightest movement of your soul. That the Ruach HaKodesh, the breath of God, the Holy Spirit is in you.
So there's nothing outside required. It's an internal walk. So Paul is saying, "I'm praying that the glory of God will strengthen you". Where? On the inside in your inner man so that Christ would dwell in your heart by faith. That you would know, beloved one, that He's in your inner man. And that's where the intimacy comes from. That's where that sense of being in true fellowship with God comes from. You see, when I felt like I always had to do something for God to hear me, like I'd have the inspiration inside and I thought, "Oh, I feel this thing, I gotta go over to that corner of the room and get on my knees and pray," what I noticed, beloved one, was I felt the inspiration and I felt connected to God when I felt inspired.
But I started realizing, beloved ones, that as soon as I got under my bed to go to the foot of my bed or to go over to that corner of the bedroom and get on my knees, I noticed that when I got to the foot of my bed or got over to the corner and got on my knees, I no longer sense the connection anymore. I sensed the connection when I was experiencing that inclination on my inside to connect with God. But then when I did something outside of myself, got out of my bed, went to the corner and got on my knees, it was like the connection was lost. It was like I lost something. I was trying to get more connected when I got out of my bed thinking it would help me, thinking God would answer me if I did that. But when I got to the foot of my bed and got to my knees, it's like I didn't feel that same connection anymore. Why? Because I went from trying to connect with God from my inside, and now I had moved to do something on the outside physically and I lost the connection.
So Paul is saying, "I'm asking the Lord to strengthen you by His power through His glory, that you would know that He dwells inside you. And coming into that revelation and that realization, you'd enter in to deep communion and deep security in God". So let's listen again to the Scripture itself. Ephesians 3:14. "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father..." That posture of humility, dependency, knowing the great loving kindness of God, knowing that He was a sinner that had been redeemed by grace. And then he says that he would grant you in verse 16, "...that He would grant you, that He'd release to you, that He'd bless you, according to the riches of His glory..."
What's God's glory? When He manifest His goodness on the earth. And in this specific instance, to you. Remember Moses prayed to the Lord and Exodus, "Show me your glory". And the Lord responded back to Moses, "Go hide yourself in the cleft of the rock and I'll make all My goodness pass before you". So God's glory is His manifest goodness. So here we go. Paul is saying here, "I'm praying to the Father that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, according to His goodness to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man". You don't go outside somewhere. The Holy Spirit is in you know. "Christ in you," Paul said, "the hope of glory. Christ in you, the hope of glory. So that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith".
So Paul, once again, is wanting to draw us to the inside. And he's saying that God will strengthen you with glory and power so that you would experience, listen, Christ dwelling in you by faith. Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is not here or there. For behold," he said in the King James version, "the kingdom of heaven is within you". This is the mystery of the Gospel. This is the mystery of having fellowship with God. This is deep calling to deep right now, beloved children of God. And to enter fully into this reality of which I speak, there is a dying to the flesh that's required. There's a holy and a godly discipline that's required to get to this place where you become aware of what's going on inside you. Because we are born into this world physically connected to the earth, to the outer world.
Jesus said, "That which is born of flesh is flesh, that which is born of spirit is spirit. Behold, I say you must be born again". When you're born into the world through your mother's womb, you're born flesh. And the flesh is flesh. It's connected to all the things of the world. It's connected to what we see. It's connected to the food we depend on. It's connected to the air we breathe. It's connected to our physical and sexual passions. It's connected to the flesh. So in order to get connected to the Spirit that indwells us, we have to separate ourselves from the flesh to get in touch with the spirit that's within. And this takes a godly discipline.
This is why Paul said, "Bodily discipline is profitable but spiritual discipline is even more profitable because it gives results not only in this life, but brings you benefit even in the age to come". So today, what we've learned is the importance of learning how to connect with God through prayer on the inside. It's a key, beloved, to answered prayer and it's the pathway to discovery of how close to you God is. And when you discover God inside you and begin to fellowship with Him in that place, beloved one, you will be set free. God bless you and Shalom.