Recently, in writing my new book, I was amazed to discover a significant addition in two familiar biblical accounts I have known for years. The first time this account is mentioned was at Jesus’ baptism. The second time the account is mentioned was on top of a mountain that was being transfigured because the Person at the top was transfigured. Notice the small but life changing difference.
And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17.
While he (Peter) was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; Hear Him!” Matthew 17:5-6.
The account is the same, the Voice is the same, the Son is the same, the two ‘beholds’ in each account are the same, the bright clouds in each account are the same. Everything is the same until the last two words in the second account. The Scripture adds, “Hear Him!” Other versions say, “Listen to Him.”
Why should we hear Jesus? Because He hears God.
Why should we listen to Jesus? Because He listens to God.
God interrupted Peter’s speech and accolades. Peter didn’t have much to say but God did. God gives us some crucial insight here. We don’t have much to say but God does. God speaks to us so God can speak through us.
The first time this happened in Mathew, God made a declaration. The second time this happened Matthew, God gave a command. Why? When you want to transfigure cultural mountains, you have to be transfigured yourself by hearing Jesus.
I have often struggled since becoming a Christian in my practice of prayer. I have been through the ‘Could not you pray with Me for one hour’ prayer programs. I have been through the ‘binding and loosing’ prayer movements. I have been through the soaking prayer movements. I thought I was not a prayer person until I saw those last two words of Matthew 17:5-6: “Hear Him.” It was like God was speaking me, “Listen to Me. Get understanding. Discern the story behind the story.”
This morning, God spoke to my mind in a mind blowing way.
“Ed, you don’t realize it but you are a very competent prayer person. While the ‘Peter types’ talk, you listen. You are tuned into Me and what I am saying. You think about Me all the time. You have stumbled into something many aren’t aware of. You listen. You hear Me. You don’t ask for much. You don’t request much. You just listen. You have an ear for revelation. You find gold. You have something to say because you listen to Me. If you open your mouth, I will fill it.”
I was stunned. Me, a prayer person? I admit that I do think about God, almost all the time. I tune into the God Channel. I don’t have to try to think about God. It’s just who I am. It’s my nature.
There’s other types of prayer people and I am honored to know them. Intercessors who stand in the gap. Spiritual prayer warriors. Meditators and chanters. Prayer of faith people.
But maybe the prayer army we really need to raise up in today’s world is an army of listeners. Maybe God is raising up people who have real wisdom because they…Hear Him! His story has shown the strongest prayer people are really just people who hear first, then speak or act second on what they heard second.
After all, as Alfred Brendel says, listen and silent have the same exact letters in them.
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