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Friday, April 11, 2008

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St. Stanislaus

Acts 9:1-20
Psalm 117
John 6:52-59

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praying up a storm

"He is there praying." —Acts 9:12

The early Church was a praying Church. The Church was born at Pentecost after a nine-day gestation period of prayer (see Acts 1:14). After Pentecost, the Church devoted itself to prayer (Acts 2:42). So powerful were the Church's prayers that sometimes the building where the Church prayed shook (Acts 4:31). The apostles concentrated on prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4). The early Church was a praying Church.

The immediate results of the Church's prayers were mixed. The number of disciples "enormously increased" (Acts 6:7), but persecution against the Church likewise increased. The more the Church prayed, the better and the worse it got. Finally, Stephen, one of the first deacons, was murdered, martyred, stoned to death. How's that for an answer to prayer? Nonetheless, the Church kept praying. Soon, a Samaritan town came to Christ (Acts 8:14), an Ethiopian was baptized and took the gospel to the ends of the earth (Acts 8:38), and Saul, the dreaded persecutor of the Church, was baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17-18).

Prayer changes things. It can change opposition into persecution and murder, and persecution and murder into the evangelization of the world. In this Easter season, pray as if your life and the salvation of others depended on it.

Prayer:  Father, may I pray up a storm of persecution and evangelization.

Promise:  "Let Me solemnly assure you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you." —Jn 6:53

Praise:  St. Stanislaus marveled that "as we do battle and fight in the contest of faith, God, His angels, and Christ Himself watch us."

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Lord, Teach Us to Pray on audio AV 57-3 or video V-57.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 23, 2007

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