(Luke 9:28-36) The other day, I had an early morning appointment. Although I was running a bit late and had a busy day ahead, I figured that I still had enough time to squeeze in my morning prayers. Granted I was a bit distracted, but I managed to finish before I needed to leave. With a relieved “Amen!” I checked one more thing off my “to-do” list. I knew in my heart that it hadn’t been a great prayer time, but I consoled myself by thinking that at least I had made the effort. Surely God would be pleased that I had started my day with Him instead of just rushing out the door.
Contrast this with the prayer of Jesus. He had busy days, too. He was surrounded by multitudes of people who wanted a piece of Him, who wanted to be healed or to hear Him teach. There were so many lives He must have wanted to touch, so many people He longed to speak with before He would be handed over to die in Jerusalem. Jesus knew the disciples were discouraged by what He had told them lay ahead; He knew they needed a reason for hope if they were to have the necessary faith and courage to carry on His mission after His Death and Resurrection. He could have given in to the impulse to rush around, healing and teaching and fitting as much as possible into His final days. Instead, He set everything aside and took Peter, John, and James with Him up the mountain to pray.
Jesus understood that the busier you are and the more demands that are made on your time, the more you need quality prayer time with God – prayer that is quiet, uninterrupted, and deep. We are human, with all of our faults and weaknesses, and He is God! It is in prayer that we receive the strength that we need to face the challenges of life; it is in prayer that we find the answers that we seek. That day, at the top of the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus was not checking something off His “to-do” list. He was so united with God in prayer that His appearance was altered and the glory of God was revealed in Him. The sight of His dazzling white clothes and His shining face as He walked and talked with Moses and Elijah was an experience that the disciples would never forget. It was a glimpse of heaven, and the memory of that time would strengthen their faith and give them the hope that they would need in the days to come.
Like Jesus, we need to “go up the mountain” to pray, to take time from our busy days to find quiet moments and places to be alone with God. We need to do everything that we can to fight against distractions so that we can be open to His Divine Presence and transforming power. When we truly encounter God, it is not possible to come away unchanged. When we seek Him in all humility and sincerity, we will be transformed. In that place of quiet contemplation, God may choose to reveal some of His glory in us so that others, too, can know that the Cross is not the last word, but that glory and joy lie just beyond its shadow!
– Sharon van der Sloot