Ten years ago on this day the United States was attacked by Muslim extremists working for the terrorist group Al Qaeda. Two planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City, a third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and a fourth plane crashed in rural Pennsylvania. Almost 3000 American civilians lost their lives on September 11, 2001—a greater number than were killed during the bombing of Pearl Harbor 60 years earlier.
All of us who are adults can remember exactly where we were when we heard about hijacked planes or what we felt as we watched the Twin Towers fall. It’s not an exaggeration to say the events of 9/11 changed this country and the world. That day probably changed us too. On the tenth anniversary of 9/11 there are reasons to give thanks, reasons to mourn, and many reasons to pray. So join me as I lead us in prayer.
O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we worship and adore you, for you are our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though mountains be moved into the heart of the sea. We will not be afraid though skyscrapers tumble and fall, though terror alerts are raised and the constant noise of wars and rumors of wars is all around us. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; you utter your voice; the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
We live in an uncertain, sad and dangerous world. We always have and always will. But your sovereignty is secure, your loved is fixed, and your promises are altogether sure.
We turn to you, heavenly Father, as our rock and our refuge, as our King and our comforter. We pray that you continue to sustain all those who lost loved ones on 9/11. Show them mercy. Give them comfort. For those who believe in you, minister by your Spirit and the truths of your word. For those who are far from you, use this tragedy in a new way a decade later to draw these broken-hearted men, women, and children to yourself.
We thank you Lord for the fire men and police officers who risked their lives, and often gave their lives, to search for and rescue the victims of 9/11. We thank you for the opportunities many have had, like Lisa Beamer, to witness to the hope of the gospel in light of 9/11. We thank you for the men and women of our armed services who have fought bravely in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere during these ten years, some of them paying the ultimate price, so that we can have security at home and others can have freedom abroad. Thank for the yearning for freedom in parts of the Arab world. Thank you for the downfall of evil men like Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. Thank you that despite many threats and scares, we have not had another 9/11 in this country. This is an undeserved gift and we praise God from whom all blessings flow.
We ask that you give wisdom, courage, humility, safety and strength to President Obama, to his cabinet, to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and to all who are responsible for making tough choices to try to keep this country safe and prevent needless suffering in the world. We pray for good policies, good intelligence, good character, and good decisions that we may lead peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way.
We pray for Muslims in this country and around the world. Give them the safety and freedom we all deserve as creatures made in your image. Most of all, give them the eternal safety that only comes through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the freedom that only comes through faith in him.
And finally, we pray that you wage war against the terror in our own hearts—our rebellion against you, our pride, our worry, our disobedience, our hatred, our cowardice, our intolerance and our overtolerance. May we see every disaster—be it hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, or terrorism—as an opportunity and a summons to repent. Help every American to realize—as well as every Chinese, Korean, and Arab Muslim—that far worse will befall us on that day when the rocks and mountains crumble and people all over the world flee from the wrath of the Lamb. May every moment of adversity and prosperity point us to Christ. Keep our eyes fixed on the Author and Perfector of our faith. Let us run to Christ. Let us cling to Christ. Let us find forgiveness in Christ. Let us find assurance in Christ. For the only true promise of peace, in this life and in the next, is found in Christ. We gladly confess that he is our only comfort in life and in death.
Some trust in chariots; some trust in horses; some trust in the Koran; some trust in their wealth; some trust in their ancestors; some trust in their degrees; some trust in tanks and talks and predator drones. But we trust in the name of the Lord our God. It’s in his name of the Lord Jesus that we live and move and have our being, and it’s in his name we pray, Amen.