September 11: Don’t Just Remember, Pray

It's a date that changed everything, and our prayers can unite us once again.

Posted in , Sep 10, 2014

A 9/11 memorial in New York City.

September 11th will forever mean something different since the unimaginable tragedy that struck America in 2001. If 9/11 taught us anything as a country, it taught us to cherish our loved ones a little more and slow down long enough to appreciate the life around us.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. I watched news coverage almost non-stop–numb, shocked and heartbroken. And I specifically remember how one of the newscasters signed off that night.

The Statue of Liberty in New York harbor.With a shaky voice and tears in his eyes, he said: “Like you, I am devastated. And like you, I am shaken. But I know one thing. I am going to go home and hug my wife and my children for a very long time tonight and tell them how much I love them. I suggest you do the same…”

I did.

I bet you did, too.

In the days following September 11, our nation came together in a way I’d never seen. No one seemed to care whether you were a Democrat or a Republican. We were all just Americans. And for a season, we were all united.

Everyone wanted to help in some way. People from all over the country took their vacation time from work and headed to New York City to see how they could help at Ground Zero.

School children wrote letters to the NYC firefighters and police, thanking them for their service. Churches all over the world held prayer vigils in hopes that more survivors would be found in the wreckage, while others prayed diligently for the families of the victims. People stood in line to give blood as a response to the urgent need in New York.

My own girls, who were only 8 and 6 at the time, were even moved to help. They set up a lemonade stand in our neighborhood and over several days raised almost $100 which they excitedly donated to the American Red Cross.

School children in Colorado sent teddy bears to the children who lost a parent as a result of 9/11.

And, a group of students at Forest Hill Northern High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, started the “give up flowers for the towers” drive as part of their school’s homecoming, encouraging students to take the money they would have spent on flowers for the dance and to donate it instead.

By the end of the homecoming dance, the students had raised more than $4000 in donations for the American Red Cross.

The spirit of giving and intense patriotism lived in every corner of America. Neighbors helped neighbors. Strangers reached out to strangers.

Suddenly, age, race, economic status, political party, denomination–none of those things divided us anymore. The flag meant something more after 9/11, and we wore red, white and blue with great pride.

Though it was one of the darkest days our country has ever known, what the devil meant for harm, God used for good (Gen. 50:20). Out of devastation and death, we rose up with renewed courage and strength.

Yes, it’s been more than a decade, and yes, we’re not as united as we once were. But, we can be again. Let’s take this September 11th and do more than just remember–let’s pray.

The Word says, If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

I hope you’ll take time to pray for those who lost loved ones on September 11, and for our nation and its leaders.

In fact, why wait? Pray with me now:

Father, we are thankful that you are our God, and the God of this nation. We ask today that you bless our country and unite us once again. Father, we ask that you give our nation’s leaders direction and wisdom, and we pray protection over our men and women in uniform.

We also pray that you comfort hearts around this world that are still hurting from losing loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001. Touch them, Lord, and let them know that you haven’t forgotten and that you love them very much.

And, God, help us not to take even one moment of life for granted and to love like there’s no tomorrow. Heal our land, Lord. In the Mighty Name of Jesus. Amen.

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