September 11: Nineteen Years Ago, Prayer, and Our Need Today for the Lord
It was a Tuesday morning nineteen years ago today that our nation was shocked to the core. At least for a time.
We awoke to the strangest of sights—of New York City’s World Trade Center’s North Tower smoking, then engulfed in flames, fatally struck by hijacked American Airlines Flight #11 at 8:46 AM (EDT). 81 passengers, 11 crew perished.
Moments later (9:03 AM), United Airlines Flight #175 penetrates the North Tower between floors 77 and 85. 56 passengers, 9 crew.
Virtually at the same time (8:46 AM), United Airlines flight #93 out of Newark was seized by additional four terrorists. Due to the heroics of the passengers and dramatic fighting in the cockpit, the flight ended tragically in a Pennsylvania field, saving either the White House or the U.S. Capitol.
Unbelievably, yet another flight had been hijacked (8:54 AM), American Airlines #77, which returned from a flight pattern over southern Ohio to D.C., crashing into the western side of the Pentagon at 9:38 AM.
Immediately, all United States airspace was shut down.
Even today, It is painful to rehearse these details. Both towers completely collapsed. 2,977 people died. 265 on planes. 125 at the Pentagon. 19 hijackers committed suicide. 6,000 others were injured.
And for a time, America went back to church. We got on our knees, weeping and wondering. Vulnerable, needy, crippled, angry, humbled. Jobs in sackcloth, ashes, sores everywhere. The losses staggered our soul. We had to pray, did we not?
DOES OUR SENSE OF DEPENDENCE LAST?
At the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Duke University’s Mark Chaves studied how much lasting impact 9/11 had on our sense of need to worship God and pray. “There was an expectation that 9/11 would increase people’s religious belief and practice…and it did have that immediate effect. Interestingly though, it was very short lived. Within a few weeks, church attendance rates declined back to the level where they were right before 9/11. Religion is not much effected by events, in the short term yes, but not in the long term.”
Despite dramatic crisis events which periodically occur, the larger truth is the last 80 years have witnessed a dramatic drop in the number of Americans truly interested in seeking the Lord. Dr. Chaves’ 2015 study documented that among Americans born before 1935, 94% claimed religious affiliation. For the generation born after 1975, the number drops to 71%. 68% of Americans over 65 say they have no doubt God exists; only 45% of those ages 18-30 share that same conviction. The early 1970’s were a turning point, ushering in a steady downturn in religious affiliation and interest.
OUR NEED TODAY – Connect and Pray
What’s our response to the uncertain turmoil of this most challenging year, 2020? Have you chosen to pray more, to be on your knees, to be closer to the God whom we truly need? Or is this merely a temporary crisis which, when beyond it, will permit us to get on with our lives the way they were?
“Our nation is in trouble like never before in our lifetime,” Franklin Graham has written. “We have no hope without God.” He is asking us to connect and pray together.
Christ Community Church, let’s be on our knees as we ReConnect in ministry this Fall, beginning this Sunday. If you can, register and Gather to worship. As you are able, join in Women’s Connect and Men’s Connect gatherings. Meet personally or virtually with your Connect Group…Indeed volunteer to start a new Connect Group.
Pray for personal repentance, and for people everywhere to truly repent. Pray for opportunities to share the love and gospel of Christ. Pray for a sweeping movement of God’s Spirit.
May I urge you? Invest time praying together. God loves to call those called by His name to prayer (2 Chronicles 7:14). Our wonderful city, our county, our state and nation, our world – we all truly need the powerful movement of God’s Spirit to bring life from above, and a fresh connection with Him and with one another.