TEXT: Luke 9:28-36
28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.
29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:
31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.
33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.
34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.
35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 162 messages in this series.
This is message #163 titled, By Prayer Transformed
It has often been said that the purpose of prayer is not to change God, but to change us. Sometimes when we begin praying or embark on a season of special prayer for a particular need, we have our minds set on a particular outcome. However, through prayer, God changes our desires, reveals His will, and transforms our mentality so that we actually want done what He wants done. If you have been saved for any length of time, you have probably had this experience.
Both Matthew and Mark record the event known as the Transfiguration — when Jesus’ glory was revealed to Peter, James, and John. However, only Luke tells us that this event happened against the backdrop of prayer. As was His custom, Jesus Christ actually went up into the mountain with His disciples to pray. Listen as Matthew Henry comments on this passage: “We are here told that Christ had this honour [the Transfiguration] put upon him when he was praying. When Christ humbled himself to pray, he was thus exalted. He knew before that this was designed for him at this time, and therefore seeks it by prayer. He intended to put an honour upon the duty of prayer, and to recommend it to us. It is a transfiguring, transforming duty; if our hearts be elevated and enlarged in it, so as in it to behold the glory of the Lord, we shall be changed into the same image from glory to glory. By prayer we fetch in the wisdom, grace, and joy, which make the face to shine.”
Just as Jesus was transformed while in the process of prayer, we ought to be transformed as well (albeit in a different way).
From this passage, we notice, first, that meeting with God ought to change us. The Bible says, “As [Jesus] prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.” When you have truly met with God in prayer, you will not be the same when you say “Amen.” You will be transformed in some way. Perhaps that change will be spiritual, and God will use your prayer to make you more like Christ. Perhaps that change will be mental, and your will will be drawn closer to alignment with God’s will. That change might even be physical, and, like Moses in the Old Testament, people will be able to look at you and tell that you have been with God.
One of the reasons why some people don’t like to pray is because they know that prayer puts them in direct communication with God. If they want to continue in sin, or if they have their will set on doing something that they suspect God might not approve of, they will not want to meet with God in prayer. Sincere prayer gives God the opportunity to reach into our lives and transform us in ways that He would not do otherwise.
Charles Spurgeon put it succinctly when He said, “It is worthy of note that [Jesus] was transfigured while he was praying. Every blessing comes to the great Head of the Church, and to all the members of his mystical body, through prayer.” If prayer changed Jesus, certainly it can change us.
Second, through prayer, not only does transformation take place, but information can be received. Our passage tells us that as Jesus was praying, “Behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.”
We are not told specifically what Jesus prayed about, but I believe, based on this verse, that it is safe to assume that part of His prayer had to do with His upcoming crucifixion. Perhaps, even now, Jesus was feeling the weight of that imminent event, and was asking the Father, as He did in Gethsemane, if there were another way. Just as God sent an angel to strengthen Jesus in Gethsemane, here He sends Moses and Elijah to talk with Jesus on the mountain. Why Moses and Elijah? Well, David Guzik suggests that this is because Moses represented the Law and Elijah represented the Prophets — “the Law and the Prophets” being the phrase used by the Jews to refer to the sum total of what we call the Old Testament. Jesus Christ came to fulfill both the Law and the Prophets, so, in answer to Jesus’ prayer, God sent Moses and Elijah to remind Him of that and encourage Him to carry out God’s plan — to drink the bitter cup that had been prepared for Him.
God often gives us information and encouragement during our times of prayer. He will tell us who to talk to, where to go, and what to do in a particular situation. You ask, Why does God wait until we pray to give us these answers, to give us the information and encouragement that we need? I think part of the reason is because of our pride. As long as things are going well, our human nature will not allow for us to ask God or anyone else for help. But as soon as we admit that we can’t do it on our own, or that we don’t want to do it at all, and we pray and ask God for instruction, guidance, encouragement, and strength, He will give it to us. God wants us to realize a simple truth: we need Him.
By prayer, we are transformed. By prayer, we gain information from God. Finally, we see that, by prayer, we can see the glory of God and His power. It seems as though Jesus had been praying for a while up on the mountain because the text informs us that “Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep.” When they awakened, “they saw [Jesus’] glory, and the two men that stood with him.” As they reacted to what they saw — Peter wanted to build a tabernacle each for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah — “there came a cloud, and overshadowed them… And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.”
Up until this point, none of Jesus’ disciples had seen their Master in His glorified form. Jesus looked like an ordinary, Jewish carpenter. But for a brief moment, the humanity of Jesus was stripped away and His ‘Godhood’ was revealed to His disciples. And just in case they needed more evidence, Moses and Elijah — two of the most-revered figures in Judaism — appeared with Him. If the disciples had any doubts about who they were following, those doubts were removed. They knew, unequivocally, that Jesus was divine.
If you spend time with God, eventually, people will start to take notice. This is especially vital if you are in a position of Christian leadership — whether you are a husband, teacher, counselor, mother, or pastor. You want those whom you are leading to know without a doubt that, even if they are slacking in their prayer life, you are in communion with God every day and, because of that, you will not lead them astray. You want people to be able to look at your life and say, ‘This man, this woman, has been with God.’ ‘This man, this woman, knows how to get answers to prayer.’ If you are a leader, you don’t want people to have confidence in you because of your own abilities because sometimes you will make mistakes. You want them to have confidence in you because of God working in and through you because He never makes a mistake.
Do you want your life to be turned around? Do you want confidence that you are going in the right direction? Do you want to know for sure that you are leading others in the right direction? Then tap into the transforming power of prayer. Not only can your situation be transformed by prayer. But, you yourself, can be transformed by prayer.
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.