The Prayer Principle of Transformation

"He took along Peter, 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." Luke 9:28-29

Principle: When prayer does not change things, it changes people. Changed people are used by God to change the world.

Twice, Luke uses four words to describe the prayer life of Jesus, "while He was praying." The first time we see these words they precede His baptism. This time He is praying with three of His disciples. Each time, God did something very special in the life of Jesus, while He was praying. God honors preaching, serving, and giving, but He releases His greatest power and highest purpose, while His people are praying.

At the mountain prayer meeting, even the disciples were able to experience the overflow of this powerful prayer connection between Jesus and His Father. This was a mountain top experience like no other in history. When they saw, Elijah, and Moses speaking with Jesus, they wanted to memorialize the occasion with a building program. God intervened, and told them to listen to His Son.

Praying people will never relegate Jesus to an equal status with a mere historical figure or a contemporary celebrity. A prayer warrior with a weakened prayer life will always desire to hear more from man than from God. Racing through a book written by the Christian celebrity of the moment and skipping the Scripture references is a warning sign of this kind of condition.

Prayer does not always change the circumstances that surround God's people. Prayer does focus the attention of His children on the One who does not change, "Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow." (Hebrews 13:8) It is the focus on God's Promise that changes people. These changed people change the world.

When prayer does not change circumstances, it will change the way a prayer warrior responds to the circumstances. Prayer brings about a transformation in the life of praying people, when they focus their attention on the Promise rather than their problem.

Jesus invited Peter, James and John to join Him for a unique encounter with God. They must have gloried in the experience and anticipated receiving privileged positions and awesome power. Jesus focused on God. They focused on sleep. When the three disciples woke up they saw Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah, overheard them talking about the departure of Jesus for Jerusalem. This was the first time Moses had stepped foot in the Promise Land. Elijah's prophetic perseverance had been honored, by receiving a personal explanation from the lips of the Messiah.

While He was praying, the appearance of Jesus became different even though the circumstances around Him did not change. He knew His privileged position as the Christ meant a death on the cross. Jesus was tempted, but would not choose to avoid this death, because "while He was praying" His will would always be conforming to the will of God. He received the circumstances of the cross, and fulfilled His purpose for coming to earth.

"While He was praying" indicates Jesus focused on the Presence of God, not the pain of the cross. By praying, He put Himself in the only position that would lead to an encounter with God. His appearance was transformed, but His mission remained the same. He would still go to the cross, but He was transformed by His time alone with God.

The circumstances would not change, but His appearance was transformed, by the Presence of God. Prayer takes people beyond their personal preferences and into intimate communication with God. When Jesus prayed, it had an impact on Him that others will be able to see.

Time alone with God is not meant to be a way out, but a time out. Any exhausted athlete knows the words of Vince Lombardi still ring true, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." Prayer provides the courage that removes fear from the heart, and transforms weaklings into warriors. These warriors make their greatest stand, when they kneel down. While they are praying, God changes them, and the world can see the difference.

The Practice of Prayer: Make a list of the intimidating people and infuriating circumstances that rob you of your joy in life. Place this list before God, and pray for an encounter with Him that will change you into the person God wants you to be in the midst of the circumstances that surround you. Stay in His Presence long enough for your joy to grow and your list to shrink.

Thought for the Day. Can people tell when you have been in prayer?

"The great people of the earth are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer, nor those who say they believe in prayer, nor yet those who can explain about prayer, but I mean those people who take time to pray." S. D. Gordon