A Patriot’s Prayer on September 11th

One Nation Under God (2)

 

September 11, 2001, 8:46 a.m.: The tick of time heard around the world. 2,976 people from 93 countries lost their lives in New York, at the Pentagon, and in a quiet field in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania. Filled with hate and committed to kill, Islamic terrorists used four airliners as deadly weapons, ripping apart families and decimating dreams.

 

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Lord,

So many lives were affected by the attacks of September 11, and though time does not actually heal all wounds, you can. Though years have passed, you remain faithful, and are close to the brokenhearted, and save those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). Wrap your arms of love around those who remember their lost loved ones on this day. May those who know and trust in you feel the sweet breath of your mercy and grace upon them. As you comfort those who have not put their trust in you, may they have such a quickening in their spirits that they will know, without any doubt, that you are drawing them with loving kindness (Jeremiah 31:3). God of forgiveness, bring light to those who wish us harm, and by your Spirit, enable your people to love and pray for those who hate us.

These acts of terror were designed and delivered with precision for a calculated effect. What the terrorists didn’t anticipate was the reawakening of tired patriotism and the rebirth of a dying national motto: In God We Trust. People began to value the freedoms they took for granted, seek the God they thought was a fairy tale, and treasure the family they still had.

In the blink of an eye, those who fought for themselves now fought for others. Those who needed love now gave love. Those who thought they didn’t have enough now understood they had it all. Those who presumed upon freedom’s unending providence without guard now stood as patriots in its defense.

 

Reagan

 

 

Father,

Thank you that what the enemy planned as evil against us, you made it turn for our good (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28). You are able to redeem destruction, beautify ugliness, sanctify unworthiness. Thank you that, as we fix our minds on you, you will keep us in the perfect peace that transcends understanding and mounts guard over us (Philippians 4:7; Is. 26:3). Thank you for the reawakening fires of revival and the renewal of right spirits within (Psalm 50:10). Continue to grow our knowledge of and faith in you. All honor, glory, might, and power belongs to you, Lord, our Rock and Redeemer!

With time, however, hearts turned once again. Twelve years after an attack that brought our country to its knees in grief and prayer, and to its feet in patriotism and victory, we have slipped into mediocrity, expecting the benefits of freedom without undergoing “the fatigues of supporting it.”

We no longer ask what we can do for our country, but what our country can do for us. We no longer look for what we can do for our fellow man, but for what our fellow man owes us. We no longer praise the Power that has made and preserved us a nation, but instead hail entitlements and handouts. We no longer work to make one out of many, but seek to divide and shame. We no longer uphold virtue and religion and morals, but instead squash them and call them intolerant and hateful.

 

A Nation Gone Under

 

 

Lord of all,

We call upon your name, and ask forgiveness for the wickedness of our land. We turn to you and ask your grace and mercy on our people. May it not take another tragedy to turn our eyes to you in humble repentance. Restore unto us the joy of your salvation (Psalm 51:12). May your church rise up once again to boldly proclaim your truth, in love, regardless of the cost. May we be wise as serpents and harmless as doves (Matt. 10:16). Forgive us when we cower and refuse to confront sin, both within the church and without. Forgive us also when we refuse to grant the same mercy and grace to others as you have to us. May we stand on the truth of your Word and lay claim to your empowering grace to live and love in a manner pleasing to you. Give us passion for your purposes and may our hearts break for what breaks yours. May we be open and sensitive to your conviction and guidance. Surround us with your Spirit, love, and mercy.

It is time for us to remember and proclaim that we are one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all. It is time to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27). It is time to love our neighbor as we do ourselves (Luke 10:27). It is time we stand for truth, kneel in prayer, and lay down our lives for our friends (John 15:13). It is time.

 

Country

 

Sovereign God,

Draw near to us as we draw near to you. Do surgery on us and cut out the very root of all that is not of you. Replace those things with the fruit of your Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (Galatians 5:22&23). Enable us to be courageous as we stand for you and for our country, and surround us with a hedge of protection. Faith, courage, and prayer birthed and guided our great nation – may we return to them and put our trust in you. Give our leaders discernment, understanding, and knowledge. Protect us from physical harm and spiritual attack, and daily grow us more into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Fill each home with your love, protection, and Presence. It’s in His name we ask, God, please bless the United States of America! Amen.

 

 

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And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.“

The Battle of Baltimore was one of the most consequential and momentous battles in the War of 1812, a war fought between the U.S. and the Great Britain from 1812 to 1815. On September 12, 1814, the British launched land assaults at North Point and sea invasions at Fort McHenry, attempting to capture the Port of Baltimore.

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American militia staved off the attacks of 5,000 British troops on land at North Point, so British forces turned full attention to Fort McHenry. On September 13, nineteen British ships aimed all their fire power on the fort, and pelted it and the 1,000 American soldiers holding it with rockets, mortar shells, and 1,500 – 1,800 cannonballs for 25 hours straight. They then arranged a land attack on the fort, sending a party ashore.

Francis Scott Key, a 35-year-old American lawyer and budding poet, was located on a British truce vessel that night, where he worked to negotiate and secure the release of a physician who was captured by the British. From his position, he could see the glow of exploding cannon shells as the greatest Navy in the world at that time rained its fury on a fort protecting Baltimore. Rain obscured his view of the city during the night, but as bombs burst and rockets exploded, he saw something familiar: a 30-foot American flag, adorned with 15 stars and 15 stripes, flying high above the fort.

War of 1812

 

American troops opened fire on British forces as they landed on the shore, and the artillery from the warships failed their mission – Fort McHenry stood firm. The British retreated, marking the turning point of the war.

As the smoke cleared and dawn broke on the morning of September 14, Francis Scott Key began to pen the words to “The Defense of Fort McHenry” on an envelope. His poem was set to music, and became known as “The Star Spangled Banner,” and became our national anthem in 1931.

Today, we stand just as our anthem’s writer did – watching helplessly, waiting breathlessly, and wondering if our flag will stand. Our rights and freedoms are once again threatened, and the smoke of crumbling values obscures our view of the glory of this great country. We strain to see through the mist and struggle to catch a glimpse of God’s grace that made many into one and preserved a nation for over 200 years.

Yet our national anthem itself provides answers – glimmers of hope in a dark world. The Star Spangled Banner has four verses, each one ending as the first: O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave. The final verse of Key’s inspiring song drapes the previous three in admonition for principle characteristics that secure future peace and victory.

 

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

 

Happy Independence Day, friends. God bless your celebration, and God bless the United States of America!

God Bless America

 

 

 

 

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