Where were you when you first heard about 9-11? I was in my office when in between appointments the staff told me about a strange incident in New York City. After each 50-minute session I received a new update on the worsening situation. I left early that afternoon and picked up my son from elementary school. I remember not being sure how to tell him what had changed about our world since I had dropped him off that morning.
Can it possibly have been seventeen years ago that America had our first terrorist attack on American soil? It seems the shock has turned to numbness as we have digested more and more acts of violence that stun and disturb our souls. On 9-11-2001 our church was packed with people flooding through the doors to pray. Democrats and Republicans stood together on Capital Hill singing God Bless America it seemed that every one of them knew the words. Seventeen years later, we are just as desperate for prayer! We need to cry out for God’s blessing over our country.
The 9-11 memorial seems the perfect time to gather for prayer. In 2018 the theme for the National Day of Prayer was UNITY. Ephesians 4:3 was the key verse: "Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." I have a black rubber bracelet that has the word unity in all caps and the phrase “Pray for America.” When I found out the theme for the National Day of Prayer, I was surprised. In our current climate unity is a bold ask of God. Still, I started asking God for unity in America. Somehow, I could not take off that bracelet. I’ve been wearing it since May. It reminds me to pray for our nation and ask God for the unity that a country needs so that we are free to worship God in peace. I found this prayer for unity by Rev. Wintley Phipps after 9-11 and it makes a great prayer for today.
A Prayer for Unity
We pray today that from the ashes will rise a new spirit of beauty and unity in America.
Already, all across this nation our hearts have been knit together into a new tapestry of one America.
Because of this tragedy, we have been bound together by a silver chord of hope and brotherhood and sisterhood.
What was meant to drive us apart has really drawn us together.
May we always remember.
And so today we ask, God, that you would wipe the tears of all in need of comfort.
That you would warm the heart of one who would grow cold from bitterness.
That you would lift the head of that one who is bowed down in sadness.
That you would touch the discouraged and remind them that love will always conquer hate.
We thank you, God, for making us such a resilient people. We know that we are.
And we pray now for the strength to rise again, to build again, and to live free from fear.
We pray that you will help us rebuild our broken lives and mend our broken hearts.
We pray that you will give us the courage to face evil and the faith to believe that good will never be defeated.
Hold us close to your heart.
And through our tears, and through our sorrow, may we all see a new vision of a new tomorrow.
Now seventeen years later Americans are just as desperate as we were on 9-11. We need unity. We need God’s blessing. Prayer can make a difference in our nation and our world. Will you pray for America to be unified in God’s love? Will you pray that your fellow Christians seek God’s blessing for our nation through their prayers? Let’s bow our heads and hearts in prayer to the One who is our true hope.