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Monday, June 30, 1997

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Martyrs of Rome

Genesis 18:16-33
Psalm 103
Matthew 8:18-22

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calling all intercessors

"While the two men walked on farther toward Sodom, the Lord remained standing before Abraham." —Genesis 18:22

Sometimes we have unexpected opportunities to pray. A meeting is canceled at the last minute. We're stuck in a traffic jam. We're stranded because of car trouble. At these times, the Lord may be creating opportunities for us to talk to Him. If we catch on, our intercessory prayers may be used to bring salvation to whole cities.

The Lord stayed behind with Abraham to give him an opportunity to intercede for Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham eventually caught on and asked the Lord to spare the cities. The Lord said "yes" to everything Abraham said. But Abraham stopped interceding, and the wicked cities were destroyed.

We should not think the salvation of the world depends on our intercessory prayers alone. We should not feel guilty if we don't intercede for everyone all the time. But we should not minimize the importance of our intercessions. We are children of God; we have great authority. When we pray in faith, mountains move (Mt 17:20), the strongholds of the evil one tumble (2 Cor 10:4), and cities are spared destruction. We are greater than Abraham (see Mt 11:11), and our intercessory prayers are more powerful. Accept every opportunity the Lord gives you to intercede.

Prayer:  Father, send the Spirit to teach me how to intercede as I ought (Rm 8:26).

Promise:  "For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is His kindness toward those who fear Him." —Ps 103:11

Praise:  The martyrs of Rome were treated worse than animals by Nero's henchmen, but continued to sing with the angels.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, November 12, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 10, 1996