Like most people, today’s 9/11 anniversary stirs up a lot of memories. When I heard about the attack, I was headed into a 9:30 English 1101 course. As I fumbled with the key, a student casually said, “You know the World Trade Center towers in New York? Yeah, well, they’re not there anymore.” What he was saying didn’t really sound true, so I wrote it off as an exaggerated news story and started class.
An hour or so later, I was sitting at my desk eating lunch when a colleague across the hall answered her telephone and began to shout, “Oh, no, Oh, no, Oh, no!” The student’s comment came back to me then. An Internet search made it real. Something had happened. Something serious. Something terrible. Something that no one since my grandfather’s generation had experienced. We had been attacked on U.S. soil, and our lives would forever be changed.
Classes went on that day, as the University president supposedly said that cancelling classes would be a win for the terrorists—as if we could think about comma splices and narrative voice on a day when our sense of peace and security had been shattered by terrorists flying airplanes into office buildings.
My brother, an airline engineer, was flying that day. His plane was grounded in Texas, and a day or so later, he and three strangers rented a car to drive home to Atlanta. Four strangers in a car. Sounds like a movie title, but it played out in thousands of cities around the country. Frightened people with disrupted routines, desperate to get home to their loved ones, to touch them, to know that they were safe and to let them know they were safe as well.
This summer, my family spent a few days in New York city and visited the 9/11 Memorial. The Survivor Tree, the names memorialized on the plaques that surrounded the fountains, and the continuous flow of water into the deep well at the base of the fountain were all amazingly peaceful symbols at what had long been a site of chaos. I felt honored and privileged to spend a few moments recognizing the loss and praying for those left behind.
Today I will be praying for the families affected by the tragedies of that day once again. I also pray for those who would inflict death and destruction in the name of religious devotion, as well as for those who fall at their hands. You can join me in praying for persecuted Christians around the world. If you need specific requests, go to the website of The Voice of the Martyrs at www.persecution.com. There you can read the stories of those who suffer daily because they refuse to stop sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost.
If you want to go even further in praying for the persecuted church, consider participating in the International Day of Prayer, a day when Christians around the world pray intentionally and specifically for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. This year Day of Prayer will be Nov. 1, and several resources are available for you to use individually, with your family, or with your church.
Don’t let today go by without spending part of it in prayer. This world can be a frightening place, but the Prince of Peace wants to change that, one heart at a time.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)
I am a regular contributor to The Alabama Baptist newspaper, and I also write and edit for several religious, business and educational outlets through my business, McWhorter Media and Marketing.
One of the greatest privileges of being a writer is the opportunity to share the stories of others with a larger audience. I love to do that!
Sharing my own stories is much more challenging, though no less important to making sense of the challenges of Faith and Family in everyday life.
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