Rabbi Schneider - Full With His Presence
One of the keys to answered prayer is to align our prayers with the things that the Lord desires for us. And one of the ways that we do this is by focusing on the prayers that the apostles and the prophets prayed. Because when we pray for the types of things, for example, that the apostle Paul prayed for us about, then we know that we're praying for ourselves what God wants. Last time, I was in the book of Ephesians 3, and we were studying Paul's prayer there that begins in the 14th verse. And we began to understand, in a deeper way I hope, how praying what Paul prayed for us is so important, it's so satisfying to us when that prayer is answered, and that we need to shift our focus to praying for eternal realities, things that have eternal consequences for us more so than praying for our temporary needs.
Many people spent a lot of time praying for their temporary needs. They spent a lot of time praying for their physical health, for a new job, for a spouse, for a place to live, for a... All these things are critically important. Don't misunderstand. But what's even more important are eternal realities. Because I don't know, for example, if I'm praying for something in the material world if it's God's will for me to have that thing. But what I do know is if I'm praying for the things that Jesus taught us to pray about, that Paul taught us to pray about, that the prophets of the Hebrew Bible prayed about, I could be confident that I'm praying according to God's will and that He's going to hear me when I pray. When I pray for people or when I pray for myself, my prayer life is focused on praying the things that I know are important to the heart of Jesus. And when I'm praying, I'm praying with confidence because I know I'm praying according to His will.
I recently wrote a book that's available called "The Key to Answered Prayer". And the whole focus on that book is praying the types of prayers that are modeled on the apostles and prophets of the Bible. See, John said in his letter, "If we pray anything according to God's will, we know that He hears us and that our prayers are answered". I had a critical shift take place in my ministry some years ago. I was doing an outdoor meeting, and we were out there every night. Many people were coming. I was preaching the gospel. I was giving an invitation after I preached the word for people to come forward and respond. And then we prayed for those that had come forward. And I began to go to the people that have come forth for prayer nights and say, you know, "What moved you to come forward today? What is it that you're looking to God to do for you"?
And so oftentimes they would tell me, like, "Well, pray for me that I would get a different job. Pray for me that I would get my credit card spending under control, which is a good prayer. Pray for me that I would find a spouse. Pray for me that I'd be able to have a baby". All these things are important. I don't want to minimize at all. But you know, as I was praying for people night after night, the Holy Spirit suddenly spoke to me in my heart, not in an audible voice, but I sensed His voice. And He said to me, "I don't want you to just pray for people according to what they're asking you to pray for them about". He said, "I want you to look to Me when they come forward, and I want you to look to Me about what I want you, what I want you," the Lord was saying to me, "to pray for them about".
So a massive shift took place. I no longer just prayed for people according to what they were asking me to pray for them about. Not that I dismissed what they asked me for. But instead what I said, "Lord," I said, "What do you want me to pray for them about"? Sometimes they'd be asking me for some type of earthly blessing to be in agreement with them about but the Holy Spirit would cause me to go, "You know what? They're sinning in their life. There's massive sin taking place in their life and they're knowingly disobeying me. That's what I want you to pray. I want you to pray for them that they'd repent".
So sometimes the Lord would even give me a specific word about what it was that they were doing in their lifestyle that they needed to repent of, that they needed correction in. And when I began to pray for people, not just based upon what they told me they wanted, but rather I look for "What is your will in this situation, Lord? What do you want me to pray for them about?" a real empowerment, beloved, came over my ministry. It gets to the principle of prayer. That when we're asking Father for that which He wants for us, those prayers will be answered. And when we know we're praying for ourselves according to the heart of God, then we can be confident that God is going to answer these prayers.
And by the way, beloved, when you're praying for God's heart for you, there is tremendous blessing. A lot of times when people ask me to pray, what I'll pray for is I'll say, "Father..." Let's say that I'm praying for John. I would say, "Father, I pray that You would give John the same love for you that Jesus has. Father, I pray that you would burn into John's heart the same passionate love for You, Father, that Your Son has for you. That you had set his heart ablaze with Jesus' love for you".
Now John might have come to me and he might have said... You know, like especially when I travel around the world and people are really struggling financially, the first thing they'll say is, "Pray that God will bless my business". And that's important. But rather than just me launching into a prayer for God to bless their business, because they may not be dedicated to the Lord in their personal life, I say, "Father, I pray that you'll circumcise their heart with divine fire and put within them the love for you that Jesus has". That's the type of prayer, beloved, that God's going to answer. And that's the type of prayer that we should... Listen, having Jesus' love in your heart for the Father, that answers every question. We think we need all these things. But so oftentimes the things that we think that we need are not really what we need. And beyond that, beloved one, they're not what's going to satisfy you.
The things that we find ourselves praying for, which oftentimes are just more material things, whether it's the lust of the eyes as the scripture said, the lust of the flesh, or the boastful pride of life, as the scripture says. Remember this is how the devil tempted Eve in the garden. He put the fruit in front of her. And when Eve saw that it was pleasing to the eyes, she wanted it. When it appealed to her flesh, it would taste good, it would make me feel good. She wanted it. And when the devil said to her, "And it's going to make you wise," when it appealed to her ambition, that fleshly ambition, you know, the desire that everybody has to be great, what happened? She ate. And mankind has been chasing after the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful ambition or the pride of life ever since.
That's what we're asking God to do for us. I mean, you look at a lot of the preachers and what are they promising people? They're promising people... Many preachers, some of the most successful preachers, much of their ministry is by promising people how they can get everything they want in this world. "Listen, this is how you can have what you want. This is how you can have a promotion. This is how you can have more money, blah, blah, blah". It's not beloved, really focusing on what God's heart is. God is deeper. And let me say again the things that God wants for you will satisfy us.
That's why so many people in Hollywood take their own lives and are divorced and are unhappy and are addicted to drugs. They have everything that people think that they want and need. And you look at the people, though, that have those things that you and I think we need and want, you look at the people that have those things and so oftentimes their lives are in shambles. So let's focus not on just asking God for those things that appealed to us even as the devil appealed to Adam and Eve with the fruit in the garden. Let's focus instead in our prayer life on asking God that which is according to His will. That's the key, beloved, to answered prayer that I'm talking about today. Praying according to His will. And we discover His will in Scripture.
When Jesus taught us to pray, what did He teach us to pray? "Father, thy kingdom come, thy will be done". How did Jesus live His life? "Not my will, but Thy will be done". When we make God's will the priority of our prayer life, there's going to be a power that's going to come in to us. There's an empowerment that's gonna happen that's going to lead you and I to a place in life that we're living in victory, and that we're experiencing divine satisfaction that the Holy Spirit then fills up our soul. And we enter into a communion with Him in the spirit, a friendship, a sense of His love and intimacy, a sense that we're in Him and He's in us that truly satisfies our human soul and the longing of who we are as human beings. That we're created to have fellowship with God. See, beloved, our prayer life needs to be driven towards these ends.
So listen to what Paul said. Verse 14, "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man..." If you didn't listen, by the way, to last time's message in the series, please go ahead and listen to it. I really focused on that. Why? So that when you get in touch with God's power in you in the inner man, when you're strengthening the inner man, not something outside that God's giving you, something on the inside that's eternal, nothing in the world can add to it. We all come into this world with nothing and we leave this world with nothing.
Jesus said, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nest, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head". No, this is an internal reality that we're talking about. Paul pray that you'd be strengthened with God's power through the Spirit, the breath of God, the Ruach HaKodesh, in your inner man, so that Christ might dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded... Get this next verse now, this next phrase, "...in love". So now we've moved a bit deeper. We've gone from being aware of Christ abiding in us. We're now conscious of Him in us. We're now in fellowship with God. We've become aware that we're in Him and He's in us. This is eternal life.
And now we go to the next phrase. And Paul says... And this is in love. So we're going from power, as we trace the verse here, we go from power to faith to love. And it all takes place in the inner man. It's a strengthening by the Spirit with power in your inner man, which produces faith that brings you into a supernatural awareness of the communion that you have with God on the inside. And then the fruit of this becomes love. So listen again. "...that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you might be filled up to all the fullness of God".
How does Paul end there? That we would be filled up with the fullness of God. That we'd be filled up with the fullness of God. What motivates people? People are motivated, beloved ones, to be happy. Isn't that what everyone is searching for? They're trying to find happiness. They don't know how to find happiness but that's what they're searching for. God has the answer to our happiness. Paul said the result of God strengthening you with power in your inner man so that you can by faith that you're connected with God, the result of that is that you're going to be rooted in love and be filled with the fullness of God.
What am I saying? I'm saying that when what I just read becomes the reality of our lives that were filled with the fullness of God, you're going to have what you're searching for. You're searching to be happy. When you are experientially walking in God's fullness, you will want nothing more. There's not going to be a continual yearning in your heart to find happiness. Remember in John 13 we see Jesus... He's dressed there in John 13 as a servant. He's celebrating Passover with His disciples. And the Bible says, Jesus, at that Passover meal, after the meal He girded Himself with a towel, He got on his knees and began to serve His disciples by washing their feet.
And the scripture says that Jesus, knowing that He had come from God... He knew who He was. He knew where He came from. He had identity. He wasn't looking for the world for His identity. He wasn't looking for that next promotion to be His identity. He wasn't looking in the mirror to see what He looked like to have identity. He wasn't flexing His muscles to see how big his muscles were for His identity. No, His identity was He knew who He was. He knew He was the Father's Son. He knew that He had come from God. Identity is so fundamental to fulfillment.
So the Bible says in John 13, "Jesus, knowing He had come from God..." He knew who He was, He knew His Father. "...knowing the Father had given them all things..." In other words, He was confident that every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places He already had. He wasn't trying to fulfill His needs. He was already fulfilled. The Scripture says about you and I, we've been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. He knew He had come from God, He knew the Father had given Him all things.
And then John continues to write, "...and He knew He was going back to God. He knew where He was going. He knew that there was no battle that was going to sink Him. He knew that nothing in His future was going to conquer Him. He wasn't afraid of the future of what lay ahead. He wasn't afraid of death. He wasn't afraid of sickness. He wasn't afraid of going broke. He wasn't afraid of somebody deserting Him. He was afraid of nothing. He knew He was going back to God. He knew He had come from God, He knew the Father had given Him all things, and He knew He was going back to God".
What happened next? He girded Himself with a towel and began to wash the disciples' feet. Why? He was free. He needed nothing more for Himself. He was full of the fullness of God. And the fruit of that was what? Love for His disciples. And so Paul's prayer brings us to a climax when he says that when you and I are strengthened by God's glory with power in our inner man, by faith we're going to enter into a sense of communion with God. That we're going to know He's in us and we're in Him, that He hears the slightest movement of our heart. We don't have to go anywhere and we don't have to do anything. And knowing that, Paul said, we're going to be rooted and grounded in love just like Jesus was, and we're going to be filled with the fullness of God. This is what our prayer should be focused on. Not more of this or more of that, beloved one, but more of Him. Until next time, God bless you and Shalom.