The 11th of September has been dubbed “Patriot Day” by the US government, but is popularly known simply as “9/11”, and it commemorates those who lost or gave their lives on this day back in 2001 when four airplanes were hijacked by terrorists and used as weapons against iconic American buildings. (Those of us in Massachusetts are perhaps especially resistant to the name “Patriot Day” because we already have a state holiday called “Patriots Day” which commemorates the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, close to April 19th.)
The American Church is not required to observe this day, of course, being a minor national observance. But although it is of lowly status compared to other national days such as Independence Day, it is a day that weighs heavily on many of our hearts. Ask someone “where they were on September 11th” and you’ll usually get a vivid answer (provided you ask someone who’s not much younger than 30). This being the case, it will probably “feel right” bring this into our prayer life today. Let’s explore some possibilities.
Occasional Prayers #27 & 28 for the Peace of the World are good places to start. #33 for our Enemies is also an important prayer to take up, lest old anger set in. Any other prayer for the nation in that section could be appropriate for today, as we take in the scope of how 9/11 impacted civil and foreign policy, and the way we’ve looked at ourselves and the rest of the world ever since. More generally, #40 for all sorts and conditions of men is a traditional prayer recommended for Morning Prayer, and although it is more sweeping in scope and generic in the specifics, it can be helpful for putting things in context and perspective.
If you want to make a bigger splash in your prayers today, so to speak, pray the great Litany, making sure to include the “Supplication” section at the end. Wednesday is one of the traditional days of the week that the Litany was appointed to be said anyway, so this is definitely worth considering.