Each year on the memorial of 9/11 our memories resurface and grief is poured out. Unfortunately fear and insecurity also tends to rise at this time, fuelled by continued terrorist threats and fear. At a time like this it is important to turn to prayer – to pray for those who still grieve, for those who are still angry, for those who see this as a time to plan further acts of terrorism. Above all it is a time to pray for those whose lives are still vulnerable because of war and terrorism. It is a time to pray for peace, reconciliation and understanding across the seemingly impenetrable barriers that separate us.
For the tenth anniversary I wrote a prayer which I continue to read and try to live up to each year. Others too write regularly for this day and I thought that this year I would post some of the best prayers and liturgies I have found that draw us towards God, towards peace and towards tolerance rather than towards fear and anger at this time. For that reason I have chosen prayers from a variety of faith perspectives, not just Christian. I find that mediating on what those who believe differently than I do think, is often a first step to reconciliation and forgiveness. Many were written for the 10th anniversary but are still pertinent today.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has links to some great prayers, liturgies and reflections.
A collection of prayers and liturgies written for the Kentucky Council of Churches.
Huffington Post has this great collection of prayers from different faith perspectives.
This prayer which I read on reWorship was originally posted on Engageworship.org a few days ago. It is designed to help congregations reflect on their memories, and centre around God and how he meets us in tragedy. There is a PowerPoint you can download, or you could just print the words in a service booklet.
Please let me know of others you think should be added to this list.
I continue to adapt my own prayer for this day as I meditate on the horrors of war and terrorism, the plight of refugees and the atrocities and useless killing and maiming that result.
God so much violence, so much pain, so much heartache.
May our remembrances of this day instill within us a horror of war,
And help us stand against the atrocities caused by terrorism.
As we grieve with those who still mourn,
And share memories with those who cannot forget,
May we be stirred by your love and compassion for all.
As we remember those who bravely responded,
And gave their lives to save others,
May we draw strength from their selfless sacrifice.
As we stand with strangers who became neighbours that day,
Sharing and caring for people they did not know,
We give thanks for their generosity and hospitality.
May it remind us of the call to be good Samaritans,
Reaching out across race and culture to other victims of violence.
So many in our world have lost loved ones to terrorism and war,
So many have been displaced from homes and country,
May their plight fill us with a longing for peace.
Let us seek for understanding and reconciling,
And not turn from your kingdom ways.
Above all God may we remember your faithfulness,
And learn to trust in your unfailing love.