Rabbi Schneider - Prayers That Bring Answers
We are examining the prayers prayed in the Bible by the patriarchs that walked so closely with God, by the apostles in the New Testament. We're looking at their prayers and we're seeing how God answered their prayers. The reason, beloved, that this series is so close to my heart is because we can have confidence that when we know that the prayers that we're praying move God's heart, that they're according to his will, we then can pray with extreme confidence knowing that God both hears these prayers and will answer these prayers.
You see, a lot of times when people pray, they're praying at a very superficial level. And because they're praying at a superficial level, their prayers have little power. Sometimes people actually pray for things that are outside of God's will. So it's very important to pray according to the will of God. You see, the New Testament tells us that if we ask anything according to his will, we know that he both hears us and that the prayers that we're requesting are being answered. And so by looking once again at the prayers that were prayed by the patriarchs, that the prayers that were prayed by David and the other writers of Scripture, these ones that walk closely with God, these ones that God loved, we know that when we're praying for similar types of things, we know then that God hears us, that these prayers move his heart, and we can be confident that these prayers are being answered even now.
And so on today's broadcast, I want to continue by looking at the prayer life of Jacob in chapter 32 of the Book of Genesis. Now Jacob is someone that God really loved. In fact, Paul tells us in the Book of Romans, Jacob have I loved, the Lord said there, yet Esau have I hated. So first of all when we begin to consider the prayer life of Jacob, we can be confident that this Jacob was one that the Lord really loved. Secondly, I want you to hear this, that your relationship and my relationship is with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who was the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. And so the God and the Father of Jacob, he's your God.
Now I want you to consider this about Jacob. Jacob lived much of his life not being a morally outstanding person. In other words, we know Jacob's history. His name actually means the supplanter because he tried to grab ahold of Esau when Esau was coming out of the womb first. Remember, they were twins. And not only do we see that Jacob had kind of this name of being a usurper or supplanter, but Jacob also, beloved, we know deceived his father by walking into his father's tent and telling his father that he was Esau, thereby stealing the birthright from his older brother, Esau. And so, this Jacob was one that was kind of a, a slippery character. And yet here was this one that was not perfect, that was a bit of a character with some major flaws, and yet God still loved him; because the Bible tells us in the Book of Titus, it's not by deeds of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy. And God's mercy was on Jacob.
So let's move forward now knowing that even as you're not perfect, Jacob wasn't perfect. And even as God heard Jacob's prayers, he hears your prayers in the Lord Jesus because your Father is the same Father that Jacob had. Our God, beloved ones, is the Father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who was the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. We're going now to the Torah. The word Torah stands for the first five books of our Bible. We often call it the Pentateuch and we're going to the first book in the Torah. It's called the Book of Bereshit or the Book of Genesis, which means beginnings. We're going to the 32nd chapter. We're gonna begin there at the 24th verse.
What I'm gonna do first of all, beloved ones, I'm gonna reach through the section of Scripture that we're going to be looking at, verse 24 through 30, and then we're going to begin to go through it line by line and take it apart. And as we do, we're gonna make application for your life today. Remember Jesus said, you have not because you ask not. So let's use these prayers that we're examining as an inspiration to become more aggressive in our prayer life, asking God for more, believing God for more. And as you do, you're gonna receive more. Jesus said, pray without ceasing. Beloved, prayer is to our spirit what the air is to our physical body. Prayer is the lifeline that we have to God. Prayer is communication. Prayer is a reaching out to God and God reaching out to us. Our lives need to be founded in prayer. We need to live a life of ceaseless and continuous prayer.
And now we're examining what our prayer life should look like so that we can have confidence that the prayers that we're praying are prayers that God is hearing and that God is answering. God loves you today and he's gonna use this broadcast, beloved, to encourage you, and to strengthen you in your walk with God. Let's begin: Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob's thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, Let me go, for the dawn is breaking. But he said, I will not let you go unless you bless me.
So he said to him, What is your name? And he said, Jacob. He said, Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed. Then Jacob asked him and said, Please tell me your name. But he said, Why is it that you ask my name? And he blessed him there. So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved. So let's put this in context. Here is Jacob. Jacob needs to get ahold of God.
Why does Jacob need to get ahold of God? Because Jacob is running for his life. He, he's about to meet his brother, Esau, and he's terrified of what's gonna happen when he meets his brother, Esau. He had been estranged from his family. He was alone in the world without God. Jacob needed God and he knew he needed God. Why did Jacob pray, I'm not gonna pray. I'm not gonna let you go unless you bless me. Why? Listen beloved ones, because he was desperate. He was desperate. There's the first key to understand how to be blessed.
Jacob walked away from this wrestling match with God. He walked away blessed. He walked away with a new name. He walked away with a different confidence. He walked away with a different destiny. And you know what was the foundation of it? He was desperate. He said to God, I'm not gonna let you go unless you bless me. You see, Jesus said, blessed are those that hunger and thirst, for theirs is the kingdom of God. God will answer us when we're desperate. When we mean business with God, God will mean business with us. God is gonna answer us, beloved ones, listen now, according to our desperation; how desperate are you?
Father, right now, I just want to speak a prayer of power over your people. I just pray, Holy Spirit, that you would move over the hearts and souls and minds of your people right now and give them a spirit of desperation. You see, Jesus said violent men take the kingdom of God by force. This holy violence that takes the kingdom by force, it's a form of spiritual desperation. It's the type of heart that Jacob had when he said, I'm not gonna let go unless you bless me.
We have to get to the place where we say, enough is enough. I'm tired of leading a life that's lukewarm. I'm tired of leading a life that's not in victory. I'm tired of leading a life that's up and down. I declare that I must walk in victory. Father, I'm desperate. I will no longer settle for a life that's average. I am not gonna let go unless you bless me and I live in victory because of your power and blessing on my life. Beloved, the foundation of Jacob's prayer was a prayer of desperation. I wonder right now how many of you are at a place where you mean business with God, that you're desperate.
If I'm talking to you right now, I want to ask you just to get on your knee, just to get on your knee right now. And if you're desperate with God, I want you to say to him like Jacob said:
Father God, I've come to the end of my life on my own. Father God, I'm tired of leading a life that's at the level of lukewarmness that I've been leading it. Father, I ask you to give me the heart of Jacob, Father, a heart of desperation, a heart of spiritual resolve, a heart that won't let go until I'm blessed, a heart, Father, that has the faith to believe that I will be blessed, and can be blessed if I won't let go. Father, I mean business with you. Father, I repent before you in dust and ashes. Father, as I'm on my knees before you right now, I ask you to bless me, Father God, that I would rise from this place and lead a life that's in union with you; a life that's not up and down, a life that's empowered, a life that's walking in victory, a life that's transparent before you and man. Father God, like Jacob, I love you and I'm talking ahold of you right now by faith and I'm declaring from my heart of hearts, I will not let go unless you bless me, in Jesus's name.
Well brothers and sisters, I am confident that some of you, right now, just received a touch from God. There's a new level, a new strength, a new anointing, a new empowerment that's come into your life from simply doing just what David did; coming to a place of desperation, coming to a place of faith. You see, the second foundation of Jacob's prayer, in addition to being desperate, beloved, he had faith. How do I know he had faith? He had faith that God would bless him. He had faith that his life could be better. He had faith that there was a God. And not only did he have faith that there was a God, but he had faith that this God that is, is a God that blesses.
So look what Jacob said once again. He said there in verse number 26: I will not let you go unless you bless me. That took faith. He didn't wonder whether God would bless him. He didn't wonder whether God could bless him. He knew God could bless him and would bless him if he would just demand it by faith. You see, in order to receive from God, beloved ones, we have to put a demand on God. I'm not talking about the fact that we can control God. But we know who God is and we have to have enough faith to put a demand on God, to say to him I believe this is who you are. I believe this is what you said. I believe I can have what you said I can have. And I'm not gonna let go of you until I've received it. This takes faith. This takes faith. People that receive from God believe that he is, and that he's a rewarder of those that diligently seek him.
So the second foundation of Jacob's prayer was faith, faith that God blesses and that He would bless Let me ask you, what do you think about God? Do you think that God is distant? Do you think that God is arbitrary? Do you think that you can't count on God? Are you unsure of what God will do and what God won't do, so you don't really walk with an anticipation of being blessed? You don't really have the type of faith that rises up in you and takes ahold of Jesus's Word? Jesus said, if the Son shall set you free, you will be free indeed. Do you have the type of faith that says Jesus, I believe that in you I am free? I believe that through you I can walk in freedom. I believe that through you I can walk in victory.
You see, the Bible says that we can reign in life in this life through Christ Jesus. If you have faith in God's Word that Jesus is who he said he is, if shame has been broken off your life because you know that you're accepted in him through his blood, then you're gonna rise up on the inside like Jacob did and say:
Lord, I'm taking hold of your Word. I believe you meant what you said. I believe you are who you say you are. I believe that I can have what your Word says I can have. And Father, I take ahold of you now. I refuse to let go. This is mine and I declare a walk in it in Jesus's name. Father, thank you for it; to God be the glory, hallelujah.
See, this is the type of faith that moves mountains. This is the type of faith that lays hold of what God's Word says we can have and lays hold of, beloved, what God wants to release. But he only releases it through desperation and faith. Jesus said, once again, blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God. What does it mean to be poor in spirit? It means to recognize that we're empty without receiving his fullness. Jacob, beloved, had faith that he could be blessed. And I also want you to learn with me from this, God's desire, I'm gonna repeat it again, is to bless you.
You see, sometimes we take our cues from the world around us. We say you know what, my mom and dad are Christians and they're only living at this level of victory. Or I'm looking at other people in my congregation and they're only living at this level of victory. They still worry a lot. They complain a lot. They fear a lot. That's all you've ever known. And some of you are settling for less because you're putting your bar according to the people around you rather than according to what God's Word says. But the Scripture says that we've been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, that God has given us a spirit of love and of power and a sound mind, that Jesus said I have come to give life and give it more abundantly.
You see, when you really believe God's Word and that you can have what he says you can have, you're gonna begin to labor for those things in prayer. You're gonna begin to contend for those things, and you're gonna enter into those things. Now the fullness, beloved, of peace, the fullness of power, the fullness of blessing, remember Jacob said I'm not gonna let go until you bless me. So what is blessing? Blessing for us is every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. The fullness of joy, the fullness of every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, the fullness of freedom, the fullness of power in Ruach HaKodesh, in the Holy Spirit, it doesn't happen, beloved, in a second, but we enter into it more, and more, and more as we labor, as we press in through prayer.
You see, like the children of Israel that drove out the Amorites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, the Canaanites, and little by little took possession of the Promised Land as they drove out the enemies, that is a picture of your life and my life in the spiritual sense; that through prayer we rise up, we drive off the darkness, we break the power of fear, we break the power of lack, we break the power of worry. And as we break it off, we press into eternal life, we press into the Spirit, we press into Jesus, we press into the kingdom of God. We enter into more peace, more love, more Shalom, more unity, more power and more expansion in the kingdom of God.
And so we're pressing in. We're entering in and we're coming in to a greater and greater fullness. We're experiencing what Jacob prayed, the blessing, the blessing, the blessing. But you've got to be desperate for it. You've got to believe you can have it, and then you've got to contend for it in prayer. You see, Paul said, our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and forces of spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. Jesus said, he that overcomes will inherit these things.
So what have we learned today? We've learned that God blesses people, not because they're perfect. Jacob wasn't perfect, but Jacob had a desire for God. That's why Jacob was so hungry for his brother's birthright. So first I want to encourage you today that you may not be perfect, but if you've got a desire for God, if you're hungry for God, you're qualified. Secondly we learned today that not only do you have to be desperate for God, and hungry for God, but furthermore beloved ones, you have to believe that God will bless you and that he's gonna bless you.
And so I want to encourage you today as we close this broadcast not to get weary from the process of laboring and praying. Jesus is gonna bring you in to more and more of an experience of abundance in him. Jesus said, I have come to give life and to give it, get it now, more abundantly. There's more for you and there's more for me. You can be confident that because of your relationship with Jesus, God loves you and his favor's on you even though you're not perfect.
Secondly you can know this, beloved, that as you reach out to God in faith, believing his Word and contending for the fullness of it to come to pass in your life, you can be confident that you're gonna enter into the fullness of the life that Jesus purchased for you more and more.
Thirdly, I want you to be confident of this, Jacob knew that the God that he was praying to was a blessing God, a God that blessed. The Bible tells us in the Book of Ephesians, blessed be the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, get this now, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Grace and peace to you, Paul begins all his letters, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I want you to be confident that your God loves you, that he's fond of you, that in Jesus his favor is on you, that he's a God that blesses. Blessed is the Blessed One. And I want you to be confident, beloved, that his desire, get it now, is to bless you.