A Prayer for September 11

Here is an updated version of a prayer I wrote in Wynne Chapel on September 11, 2001:

God of all people and all nations, 

Today we come before you in prayer  

to remember all the people— 

from all over the world— 

who lost their lives in the tragic events  

of September 11, 2001. 

We pray that you will bring comfort  

to their loved ones on this difficult day. 

We confess on behalf of all people  

that some things haven’t changed in twenty years. 

We woke up this morning  

in a world where tragedies still happen; 

where people die, 

where people kill, 

where people hate, 

where people judge others  

based on nothing more  

than their nationality or their religious faith. 

We recognize that suffering  

is a part of human life 

and that some of that suffering  

is the result of our failure— 

as human beings— 

to respect and cherish and care for each other. 

Forgive us. 

Comfort us. 

Don’t leave us. 

Help us remember that although tragedy is  

part of the truth about the world,  

it’s not the whole truth. 

Keep us mindful that we also live in a world  

where ordinary people  

exhibit extraordinary love  

in the most horrible  

as well as the most common situations. 

Today we remember and give thanks  

for all the people 

who responded to the tragic events  

of September 11, 2001  

with heroic, selfless, and sacrificial actions. 

Keep memories of them alive among us  

so that their example may inspire us 

to build a world  

that is worthy of their sacrifice.  

Light a fire in us. 

Make us impatient with the cheap habits of  

violence and vengeance, 

contention and strife. 

Give us the wisdom and passion  

to figure out a better way  

to live together. 

Give us the strength and courage and resolve  

to treat all people  

with humility and hospitality;  

with honesty and honor.   

And remind us again and again and again 

that neither death,  

nor life,  

nor angels,  

nor rulers,  

nor things present,  

nor things to come,  

nor powers,  

nor terrorism;  

nor belligerent hatred; 

nor ignorant arrogance;  

nor the death of innocent people; 

nor uncertainty;  

nor frustration; 

nor height,  

nor depth,  

nor anything else in all creation  

will be able to separate us from your love for us  

or from our obligation to love each other.  

In Your Holy name we pray. 


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