Rabbi Schneider — Fire From Heaven
God bless you and Shalom, beloved ones. My name's Rabbi Schneider. Welcome to this important edition of Discovering the Jewish Jesus. We're in the midst of a series entitled Prayers that Resonate with God.
In today's broadcast, we're gonna look at the prayer life of Elijah, Elisha and Jabez, three important, powerful, charismatic figures from the pages of the Hebrew Bible.
You know, the New Testament tells us that Elijah was a man just like you and me. And yet when he prayed it would stop raining, it stopped raining. Of course, Jesus gives us that word of encouragement to know that we can move the heart of God just like he did.
Those of you that have been tuning in to this series, understand that the reason I'm taking the time, beloved ones, to go through these outstanding prayers of the patriarchs of the Hebrew Bible, is to help us understand the type of prayer that moves God. We looked last week at Solomon and the prayer for wisdom, and how that pleased the heart of God.
I looked at Moses and how Moses prayed for a revelation of God's glory. And we talked about the fact that even though we're on earth, even in this life while we're in the flesh, God desires to reveal elements of his glory to us.
We looked at Jacob and how Jacob was an imperfect human being, and that because of Jacob's desperation and his desire to experience the Lord, God blessed him and changed Jacob's destiny.
And when we pray similar types of prayers as those that we've examined and the ones that we will be examining today, when we pray these types of prayers, beloved, from a pure heart, and with faith, these prayers will move mountains and move the heart of God. And we're gonna get answers to our prayers.
You see, I remember years ago when I started out pastoring, and I was in a church at the time that was just very, very traditional. And you know, sometimes what happens is a religious institution that starts out being a powerful movement and is powerfully moving in the Spirit, sometimes what happens is that religious institution can begin to just do things on auto pilot.
In other words, the things that they began to do years ago that were very effective years ago when they were being done from a fresh move of the Spirit, if we continue to do those things year after year, after year and don't catch the fresh wave of God's Spirit, and just begin to do things by rote and by habit, rather because, that because we're being inspired, the things that we begin to do just by rote and habit will no longer be effective.
And so I say all that to say that I remember years ago I was in a church, pastoring a church, and they had a Wednesday night prayer meeting. And I would come to the prayer meeting along with a handful of others every Wednesday night. And of course, I'm not putting down Wednesday night prayer meetings.
You know, prayer meetings are always fantastic. But what I found was in this mid-week prayer meeting is people came week after week after week, you know, just requesting the same things, but it seemed like none of the requests that ever came forth week after week ever dealt with, listen now, the weightier matters of the Spirit that we've been looking at during this series.
They were always for things that were important, the request, but never the most important; things like health needs; very, very important to pray about our health needs. But the deepest issues, beloved, are issues that have to do with the spirit, the soul, issues that have to do with knowing God, being empowered by the Holy Spirit, etc.
And week after week they would, you know, just lift up these requests to the Lord to pray for so and so, and you know I kind of make fun, let's pray for so and so's you know, hang toe nail. You know, let's pray for so and so's traveling mercies. And again, these are important but it was just these same things week after week.
No one ever prayed for wisdom. No one ever prayed to be sanctified. No one ever prayed to be washed of their sin. No one ever prayed that they would know God in a deeper way. No one ever asked God to reveal his glory. No one ever asked God to show up supernaturally in the here and the now. And what I believe I was in was a form of religion that was devoid of power.
Now why do I share this with you today, beloved one? Because perhaps some of you have a prayer life that resembles the one that I just described. You're praying out of obligation. You're praying out of religious tradition. But you're not really being moved by the Spirit in your heart and asking God with passion for the weightier things.
So for example, when I speak of the weightier things, those of you that tuned in last week, we talked about Solomon's prayer and how Solomon said, Lord, give me wisdom to lead your people. And the Lord said to him Solomon, because you've asked this thing, because you've asked me for wisdom and a discerning heart to lead my people, I am gonna give you, Solomon, a heart to lead, understanding and discernment. And in addition to that Solomon, the Lord said, because you asked me for this thing that is so important to my heart, God said, I'm gonna also bless you with riches and honor.
The point is, is that Solomon's desire for wisdom and his prayer for wisdom, it moved God's heart much more than if Solomon would have just asked for fame, or for riches, or for honor. You see, some prayers carry deeper weight with the heart of God. And listen to what I say, many people on planet earth right now that say they know God, the reality is, if you think about this, many that claim to know God, hear me now, are much more focused, not on moving God's heart, but they're more focused on moving other people's heart.
Even sometimes when people pray supposedly in the name of God, you get two or three people praying together and sometimes the people that are praying together, they're not really even thinking about God when they're praying. They're just thinking, how can I sound spiritual to the two other people that I'm praying with. How can I sound spiritual in this group that's hearing me pray? You see beloved, there is such a thing as false religion, and even having a false type of prayer language.
We're talking today, beloved, not about the superficial, not about religious prayers of obligation and tradition, we're talking today, beloved ones, children of God, about hearts that are, about prayers that move the heart of God. And so by studying the prayer life of these important figures in Scripture, these important individuals that stand out in the pages of the Bible, by looking at their prayer life, we can understand the type of prayers that move God's heart.