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Rabbi Schneider - Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayers?

Rabbi Schneider - Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayers?

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Rabbi Schneider - Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayers?

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. Well with that said, I want to continue on today. I want to look at Elijah. What a charismatic figure from the Hebrew Bible. You know, we read a Messianic prophesy in the Book of Malachi that before Messiah came, Malachi told us, Elijah would come first to announce his coming. In fact when Jesus was on earth, some of the skeptics said to him, if you're Messiah, they asked, where is Elijah, for the prophet has told us that before the day of the Lord, Elijah would come first to prepare his coming. You know what Jesus said?

John the Baptist is Elijah if you can receive it. Kind of a mysterious Scripture; but John the Baptist came in the power and in the Spirit that was on Elijah. Elijah is a very powerful, charismatic figure in the Hebrew Bible. Elijah and Moses appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration as the two primary figures of the Old Testament. We can tell of Elijah's many great miracles and the outstanding way that he displayed the glory of God. But I want to go right now to the Book of 1 Kings, chapter number 18. I'm gonna be reading there verse number 36 through 39 and we're gonna look at one of Elijah's famous prayers. And then we're gonna look for application, beloved ones, for our own life today.

Hear the Word of God: At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people might know that You, O Lord, that You are God, and that You have turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God.

If you think about the essence of this prayer, Elijah's prayer is that God would number one prove himself, that the God of Israel was indeed the true God. And that secondly Elijah prayed that God would vindicate that Elijah was his servant and that the things that he was doing was at the command of the Lord.

Now let me ask you today, beloved ones, what about in your life, are you in situations where you're up against individuals that believe in a false religion? Your family, your friends, people in your work place, your neighbors, they don't believe that King Jesus, that the Lord Jesus Christ is God. They don't believe that Yeshua HaMashiach which is Hebrew for Jesus the Messiah is truly the Lord. Instead they don't believe in God at all, or they believe in a new age religion, or they believe in some other religion. And sometimes they may even mock you, and they may even make fun of you, and they treat you cynically and condescendingly. This is what Elijah the prophet was up against when he came against the prophets of Baal. The prophets of Baal believed that Baal was god. They laughed and scorned at Elijah and the God of Israel.

So you know what the great prophet Elijah did? He prayed to the God of heaven. He prayed to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and he said, oh God, prove to everybody that you are God. And as you know, Elijah built a sacrifice along with the prophets of Baal. The prophets of Baal built their sacrifice. They stacked up the wood on the altar and they called upon the god of Baal to come down and consume the sacrifice. And most of us know the story. They cried and they cried. They tore their clothes. They cut themselves. The prophets of Baal screamed and shouted but no fire fell from heaven. Elijah the prophet began to make fun of them. He said, where's your God? Can he not hear? Where's Baal? Maybe he's taking a nap.

Finally, Elijah said enough is enough. He called out to the God of Israel. He said, oh God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, most high God and living God, prove to all of Israel and the prophets of Baal today that you are God and that I am your servant. And when he did, beloved one, the fire fell. It consumed the sacrifice. It burned up the wood. It even caused all the water to evaporate so there was nothing left but the smoke of the glory of God. And then Elijah commanded his servants to go destroy the false prophets of Baal. What an awesome, awesome sight. In fact, many of us that have been to Israel have even gone to where this actual sacrifice took place, to the mount there. What an unbelievable memory.

I want to ask you today, are you against some forces in your life, people that believe in a false god again, they don't believe in God at all, they're mocking Jesus, they're mocking you? You know what? You can pray the same prayer that Elijah prayed. You can say, God, listen, prove yourself. Isn't that what Elijah was doing? Listen again what Elijah said: O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. I believe that God wants to vindicate his children. I believe he wants to vindicate many of you. I believe that some of you are in relationships right now where in some way the devil has the upper hand. Not that greater is he that is in you is not greater than he that's in the world. I'm not saying that at all.

Greater is he that's in you than he that's in the world for everyone that's born of God. But I'm saying that you're in some relationship dynamics. For some of you it's with a mom or a dad. For others of you it's with an in-law. Others it may be people at work, brothers and sisters. But you've gotten into a relationship dynamic with somebody where you began to witness for Jesus and they began to make fun of you. They began to twist your words. Maybe they even have a higher intellect than you do and somehow they made you seem small. Somehow you began to pull back. Somehow you began to feel intimidated.

And somehow, right now, you're feeling that you have the lesser hand in that relationship, that Jesus isn't being magnified through your life as Lord, and that Jesus isn't being magnified in the relationship as Lord. I'm here to tell you right now, I want you to call upon Jesus and ask him to prove that he's God in that relationship. Ask Jesus's fire to fall. Ask his glory to fall. Whether it's between you and a brother and a sister, you and a mom and dad, you and someone in your neighborhood, you and people at work, I want to encourage you right now, beloved child of God, get on your knees and do what Elijah did. And say, "oh God, I love you. Jesus, I love you. I feel the devil right now is making fun of your Word, of your truth, of your salvation, and I ask your fire to fall right now, Father God, and I ask that you would prove that you are God".

Isn't that what Elijah did? Isn't that what Elijah prayed? The God of Israel, the fire of his glory fell and he separated the true from the false. He set apart Elijah as his prophet and he put to shame the prophets of Baal. Do you know what? I believe that God wants to do that for many of you right now. I believe God wants to bring a division in some of the relationships that you're having with people when those relationships are causing dishonor to come upon the Lord, Jesus Christ. You see, Jesus said, do not think I've come to bring peace. For I have not come to bring peace, but to bring a sword. And Jesus said, sometimes one's relationship with me will separate a father from a son, mother from daughter, and it will separate you sometimes from your closest friends. But we have to be more concerned with standing with Jesus than we do with getting along with flesh and blood.

Sometimes, beloved, if you're going to inherit everything that Jesus has for you and if God's gonna be able to do for you as much as he wants to do, you're gonna have to make a decision to stand with him, even if it alienates certain ones that you're in relationship with right now. I believe God wants the fire to fall in some of your relationships. I believe that he wants to bring a separation into some of your lives, into those relationships where you are unequally yoked with someone that's ungodly, and they are making fun of your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I bind your mouth right now and I command you to shut up.

I render you powerless under the feet of the people of God right now. I want to encourage you, beloved, the Lord said test me in this and prove me in this. I want you to get on your knees. In fact, I'm gonna get on my knees right now and I'm gonna ask that the glory of God would fall in your life, just as it fell in Elijah's life when that fire fell on Mount Carmel and where the prophets of Baal were consumed.

Father God, I ask you to prove yourself. I ask you to prove yourself, Father God, on earth, in the sphere of influence of your people. Father God, I think about Jesus when he walked on earth. He always was in control. Even when he went to the cross he was in control. Father, how he was able to silence the Sadducees, and silence the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and Father God, how you back up his word with miracles and signs and wonders. Father, I think about in the early church when Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit and they were struck down. Father, I think about how you proved yourself. And Father I ask you to prove yourself now in the lives of your children, that Father, they would live as lights in this world and that even their enemies would be forced to admit that the glory of God is on the lives of your people.

Now I want to ask some of you right now, you may be walking in situations in life where people are not receiving your witness, and it may not be just because of God's glory not being manifest, but it may be because, listen, because you've been walking in foolishness. If we don't have a history of stability with people, if we haven't been walking in wisdom, then we're gonna have a difficult time, beloved, getting people to listen to us. So I want to ask some of you right now just to repent for walking in foolishness and stubbornness and pride, and your foolishness or stubbornness, beloved, has been the cause of people not being able to receive your witness. I want to ask you, let's just repent before the Father right now.

God is a good God. He loves you. He's faithful and just to forgive us, and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Old things pass away. All things become new. You become a new creation in Christ Jesus. So let's just pray, beloved one, right now. If your foolishness has been in the way of the glory of God being manifest in your relationship, so that he can be proved to your spirit of influences, let's just pray right now for forgiveness.

Father, we want to thank you that through the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, Father that we're cleansed of all unrighteousness. And we want to thank you, Father, that by the renewing work of your Holy Spirit in our life, Father God, that we are transformed into the very image of your Son from grace to grace, from strength to strength, and from glory to glory. So Father, right now I speak blessing and increase over your children. I declare, Father, that they're gonna walk in wisdom; Father, that they're gonna be walking in a way from this point forward, and that it's gonna be remarkable, that Father God, they're gonna walk in such a way that the people around them will have to take notice of the supernatural wisdom that's on their life.

Father God, I declare that your people will be able to live as lights in this world 'cause you said, Jesus, that your purpose is that we be lights on a hill, that people would see and they'd be able to look up and give glory to God in heaven because of the remarkable glory that they see on our lives. So Father God, we want to thank you today that Father, the God of Elijah's glory rest in our life. We want to thank you, Lord, that the Holy Spirit is our portion and that we can live in victory in this world, displaying your glory and your supremacy to all those around us, even to those that don't like us and reject us; that they won't be able to deny your glory on our lives, even as the prophets of Baal could not deny when your glory fell. I declare right now, Father, your glory on your church, that your name will be exalted and lifted up through our lives.

And Father, I even decree separation in relationships where your people are bound in a relationship and the yoke of the relationship that's binding them is not from you and it's bringing you dishonor and bringing defeat into the life of your child. Right now, Father, I declare that your children are winners, that they're victors, that they've been raised up with you, King Jesus, and are seated with you in the heavenly places. And from this point forward, they're gonna walk with you in a supernatural glory than they've ever walked in before, a higher realm of that glory than they've ever walked in before, proving that you're God, just like Elijah did by your Spirit; in Jesus's name and for Jesus's fame.

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