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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

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Acts 7:51—8:1
Psalm 31
John 6:30-35

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unforgettable prayers

"He fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice." —Acts 7:60

The Lord prepared Saul to be converted through Ananias' ministry, the Church's prayers, the leveling of Saul by a bolt of light, the persecution of the Church, the martyrdom of Stephen, and Saul's hearing of Stephen's last two prayers before his death. While Saul was guarding the cloaks of Stephen's murderers, Saul heard Stephen call out: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (Acts 7:59). Then Stephen  "fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them' " (Acts 7:60). Saul's initial reaction to these two prayers was negative, for he consented to Stephen's execution (Acts 8:1). However, he may have continued to hear these prayers echoing and beckoning him to conversion.

What if terrorists, rapists, murderers, blasphemers, or atheists heard Christians praying to give their lives to Jesus and to forgive their enemies? Wouldn't we convert the world if we were praying audibly and living visibly the last two prayers of Stephen? The last prayers of the first martyr continue to be world-changing prayers. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you pray from the heart the last two prayers of St. Stephen. Pray loudly and clearly to give your life to the Lord and to forgive your enemies. Somebody may be listening.

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit to teach me to pray life-changing, world-shaking prayers.

Promise:  "Jesus explained to them: 'I Myself am the Bread of life. No one who comes to Me shall ever be hungry, no one who believes in Me shall ever thirst.' " —Jn 6:35

Praise:  Mary prayed faithfully for many years for Thomas to be converted. On his deathbed, Thomas accepted Jesus as his Savior.

Reference:  (You may wish to order our booklet, Life-Changing Prayers from the Bible, as an aid to praying or our tape How to Pray the Bible on audio AV 82-3 or video V-82.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, October 9, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 14, 2003