A Life-Changing Opportunity
Luke 9:28-29, “Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.”
I am that guy. Not just one pen. Nope. I have a variety of colors available at my finger tips. Black. Blue. Red. Green. Purple. Then there are the highlighters as well. Yellow. Blue. Pink. Green. Orange. I also use a ruler. Seriously. I underline. I circle. I use brackets and parenthesis. I draw arrows. I employ straightlines to connect related thoughts, themes, and phrases. I look for repition. I write notes in any and every margin. I use footnotes to draw my attention to related verses. I even have a journal where I record thoughts that are too long to fit on the available space. Yep. I am that guy. I am a Bible-study geek. At any rate, just thought I would warn you.
Having said all that, I want to point out something very important today. In fact, you might want to go ahead and underline it in your Bible. (Sorry, couldn’t resist the urge.) It’s the small phrase that appears at the very end of verse 28, “…to pray.” Now you should also circle a similar phrase that appears at the beginning of the next verse, “While He was praying,…” Those 2 nuggets of truth are critical to understanding the account of the Transfiguration. They are the peanut butter in your PB & J sandwich, the cheese on your pizza, and the lettuce in your salad. In other words, recognizing the importance of prayer in this story is essential.
Luke makes it clear that prayer was front and center in the story of Jesus’ transfiguration. Not some side issue. Not an afterthought. Not something that happened either incidentally or coincidentally. It was His original purpose. It was His plan from the beginning. It was His passion. Why did Jesus take them up on the mountain? To pray. What was Jesus doing when he was transformed? Praying. There is no way around it. Prayer was the catalyst, the driving force, the key ingredient in the events that were about to take place there on the mountain. In began with prayer. And it transpired during prayer.
So, what does all of this mean for us? Simple. Instead of chasing experiences we ought to be spending more time in prayer. This current church age has become enamored with the aeshetic side of religion. We want to be touched and moved. We want to “feel.” We want an “experience.” In one regard, that is fine. Nothing wrong with either feelings or an experience. God created feelings. God grants experiences. But those things should be peripheral in our pursuit of God. What we should want is substance. What we should seek is Him. What we should long for is true, lasting change. The disciples where about to undergo the experience of a lifetime. But it began with an invitation to pray. It occured in an atmosphere of prayer.
Way too often, I forget the value of prayer. I forget that prayer is not an obligation. No, prayer is much, much more than that. Prayer is an opportunity to experience real life change. Jesus was transformed while He was praying. And the same possibility and promise holds true for me when I am praying. We have all heard it said that prayer changes things. Most of us have also heard that prayer changes people. It’s true. But the person that prayer impacts the greatest is myself. When I am praying, I am being changed.
Are you longing for change in your life? I am. And as I close out this blog I am reminded today that God has given us an opportunity to experience real and lasting change. In His presence I receive grace and help for my time of need. In His presence I experience fullness of joy. In His presence I am changed, the man I am is transformed into His image and His likeness. And all it takes is a choice, a willingess to pray. Anytime. Everytime. No matter the time. I am changed when I pray.