the greatest prayer
"As Stephen was being stoned he could be heard praying, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' " —Acts 7:59
David prayed to the Lord: "Into Your hands I commend my spirit" (Ps 31:6). In this prayer, David put his trust in the Lord (Ps 31:7).
Jesus prayed this prayer on the cross right before He died. This was a prayer of supreme trust even to death. Jesus prayed not only to God; He specifically addressed God, the Father (Lk 23:46).
Stephen prayed Psalm 31:6 and Luke 23:46 right before he was martyred for love of Jesus. He addressed this prayer not to the Father, but to Jesus, Lord, that is: God. Stephen prayed this prayer audibly even while being stoned by a crowd of murderers (Acts 7:59). This was not the last prayer Stephen prayed. After he gave his life to Jesus, Stephen "fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them' " (Acts 7:60).
Let us pray with David and trust God with our lives. Let us pray with Jesus and trust God the Father in our deaths. Let us pray with Stephen and trust the Lord God Jesus. Let us forgive as Jesus forgave even on the cross. Lord God Jesus, teach us to pray Psalm 31:6, Luke 23:46, and Acts 7:59.
Prayer: Father, through the intercession of St. Joseph, I put my life in Your hands.
Promise: "I Myself am the Bread of Life." —Jn 6:35
Praise: St. Joseph left his job and his base of customers on three different occasions to obey the command of the Lord (see Mt 2:13, 19, 22).
Reference: (For related teaching, order our booklet, Life-Changing Prayers from the Bible or our tape on How to Pray the Bible on audio AV 82-3 or video V-82.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, December 9, 2000
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 12, 2000