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Monday, September 17, 2001

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1 Timothy 2:1-8
Psalm 28
Luke 7:1-10

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priority prayer

"First of all, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for all men." —1 Timothy 2:1

Jesus got up earlier than His disciples in order to pray (Mk 1:35). Jesus frequently prayed into the night (see Lk 6:12; 22:39ff). He taught His disciples to pray (Lk 11:1) and spoke of "the necessity of praying always" (Lk 18:1). Nevertheless, Jesus' disciples probably did not grasp what Jesus meant by the importance of prayer.

A few hours before He was crucified, Jesus took three of His apostles to the Garden of Gethsemani where he hoped that they would pray one of the greatest "holy hours" of prayer ever prayed (Mt 26:36ff). However, they fell asleep and missed out on this invaluable lesson on prayer. Less than fifty days later, Jesus ascended into heaven and told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem to be baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). As they waited, they devoted themselves to constant and communal prayer (Acts 1:14). They prayed what would later be called the first "novena," nine days of prayer. They received the Holy Spirit, baptized three thousand people that day (Acts 2:41), and the Church was born. Thus, prayer was recognized as an original, constitutive part of the Church. Accordingly, the Church devoted herself to prayer (Acts 2:42) and made prayer a priority. Will you pray "first of all"? (1 Tm 2:1)

Prayer:  Father, teach me the priority of prayer.

Promise:  "When the deputation returned to the house, they found the servant in perfect health." —Lk 7:10

Praise:  St. Robert's students became missionaries and martyrs, and his teachings have helped many for centuries.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, February 13, 2001


Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 20, 2001