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Thursday, December 20, 2001

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Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalm 24
Luke 1:26-38

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i dare you to pray

"But Ahaz answered, 'I will not ask!' " —Isaiah 7:12

When we pray, we communicate with God, Who is Love (1 Jn 4:8, 16), our Savior and Lord, our Creator and Judge, a consuming Fire (Heb 12:29). It is an awesome privilege and a fearful thing to be given permission by God to pray (see Heb 10:31). Thus, the Church has traditionally invited us at Mass to pray the "Our Father" by saying: "We dare to say 'Our Father.' " To put it mildly, it is a daring thing to pray.

Because Ahaz, the king of Judah, was too selfish, proud, and fearful, He was not daring enough to pray for a great sign, as God commanded Him to do (Is 7:10-12). In contrast, Mary dared to pray: "Let it be done to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38, our transl), although her life was dramatically changed and even endangered by praying such a prayer.

We will either be like Ahaz or Mary. We will be too afraid to begin or follow through with our prayer, or we will have the faith to pray that anything be done to us according to God's word.

A true Christmas is here "for the asking," that is, for the praying. I dare you to pray for Christmas by God's standards. You may find yourself in a stable or on a cross. I dare you to pray and let Christmas be done to you by Christ Himself.

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit to help me pray in my weakness and cowardice (see Rm 8:26).

Promise:  "Nothing will be impossible for God." —Lk 1:37, NAB revised

Praise:  "O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at Your will the gate of heaven: come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead Your captive people into freedom."

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our book, Life-Changing Prayers from the Bible.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, May 30, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 4, 2001