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.
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 things present,
nor things to come,
nor belligerent hatred;
nor ignorant arrogance;
nor the death of innocent people;
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.