Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Mark D. Roberts on 9/11

Roberts, a pastor in Irvine, California, puts the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 into proper perspective. Not with a remembrance or analysis, but with a great prayer that -- regardless of your faith -- is worth reading. Here it is in its entirety, with some emphasis by me on the areas where I need His work, or that spoke to me in some way:
Gracious and Merciful God,

As I remember what happened five years ago today, my heart is still heavy with grief. I recall the thousands of people who died in the 9/11 attacks. I think about their loved ones, families and friends who have experienced untold sadness during the last five years, and who will, no doubt, feel an extra measure of anguish today. So I begin this prayer, dear Lord, by asking You to comfort those who mourn today. Draw them near to You and grant them Your peace.

Peace . . . before that tragic day five years ago, it seemed as if peace were in our grasp in an unprecedented way. The Cold War was over. And, though there were places of violence and brutality in the world, the flow of history seemed to be in the direction of growing and lasting peace. But then those planes crashed into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the ground of Pennsylvania, and the hope of peace seemed to explode along with them. Now we were clearly at war, a different kind of war than ever before, a war where the victims were innocent bystanders rather than official warriors. It was scary, and we felt terror.

Since that fateful day so much has happened in our nation and world: the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; Anthrax scares; increased security measures; bombings in Indonesia, Jakarta, Bali, London, Madrid, and elsewhere; a war between Israel and Hezbollah; seemingly endless terrorist attacks in Iraq, and so on, and so on. Sometimes it seems as if our world is being wrenched apart by violence and hatred. And sometimes it seems as if our own hearts are being caught in the web of these emotions. With enemies so terrifying and vicious, it's easy to give in to hatred.

And so I pray for myself, Lord, and my fellow Americans, and all who seek to oppose the way of violence, that in our effort to secure peace and justice, we might not let our hearts be corrupted by darkness. May Your truth keep us on the right track. May Your love protect us. May Your forgiveness cleanse us.

I pray today that You will bring down all in this world who seek to dominate through terror. Squelch their evil plots. Turn their swords into plowshares. And, though it seems almost beyond hope to pray it, I would ask You to transform the hearts of those who seek to augment their power through bloodshed and fear. Only You can do this, Lord. But You can do it.

Grant Your wisdom, all-knowing God, to those in this world who seek to end the threat of terror. Guide the leaders of our nation and other nations. Show them what they would not be able to see on their own. Give them a commitment to truth and a passion for genuine peace. May they seek, not only to bring an end to hostilities, but also to forge a world of justice for all people. Help them to weigh partisan and national interests in the balance of Your kingdom.

Today I want to pray for all who find themselves in harm's way, knowing that, in one sense, no one is completely free from the threat of violence. But I pray especially for the men and women in our armed forces and in law enforcement, that You would protect and guide them. Grant special grace to those who are separated from their families, and to these families as they pray for their loved ones. I ask for Your protection for innocent men, women, and children in Iraq, Israel, and elsewhere, who daily face the threat of bombings.

Thank You, gracious God, for the safety and security we enjoy in our nation even in the midst of such uncertain and scary times. Yet, may we remember that You alone are our true fortress, our solid rock, our eternal stronghold. May we live each day putting our lives in Your hands, living with You and for Your purposes.

O Lord, the time will come when Your peace will engulf our world. That is our hope, and we claim it with confidence in You. Until that day, we ask for a foretaste of the peace of the future. Even as we pray for Your kingdom to come, we ask also that Your will be done on earth today, as in heaven. Let mercy triumph over vengeance, justice over wrong, hatred over love. May we taste Your peace as an appetizer for the future.

On this day of sad remembrance, as on every day, may we seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness. Work Your will in us and through us, for Your glory.

In Jesus's name, Amen!
And Amen.


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