How to Pray for America 20 Years After 9/11

20 years later—Americans remember, pay tribute, and pray

On September 11th, 2001, our nation was forever changed.

Four airplanes hijacked by al-Qaeda—a terrorist organization—crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon near Washington D.C., and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people were killed. Thousands more were injured. And today, the rest of us bear the scars—both seen and unseen—of that tragic morning.

Twenty years later, we pay tribute to the lives that were lost, honor the bravery of first responders, remember the resiliency of the American spirit, and, most importantly, we pray.

We pray because only Jesus can heal the wounds inflicted by heinous acts of terrorism twenty years ago and the wounds we face as a nation today. Only Jesus can restore hope to a nation devastated by a deadly pandemic and unify a people divided by social and political issues. Scripture reminds us that “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them!” (John 3:17 CEV). Jesus saves us from sin and the resulting brokenness we experience. He is still the only answer for our world.

So, as we mark the 20th anniversary of a day that changed our lives and our nation, let’s rejoice in the promise that “Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 CEV).

How you can pray

Billy Graham, a prominent American evangelist, said, “To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees.” We must pray for America and invite God to move in our nation. Here are five ways you can pray today.

  • Pray that hearts will turn to Jesus. As people endure pain and trauma from tragic events like 9/11, pray that they will turn to Jesus their healer. Pray that people across America will accept Jesus as their Lord and embrace his love, peace, and hope.

Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone.

Acts 4:12 CEV

  • Pray for leaders. Pray that our leaders will love God’s Word, model God’s character, and lead our nation with godly intentions. Pray that God will give them strength, integrity, and wisdom and that he will use all leaders for his purposes.

The LORD controls the mind of a king as easily as he directs the course of a stream.

Proverbs 21:1 GNT

  • Pray for a nation dependent on God. Pray that Americans will humble themselves and seek God’s guidance. Pray that every sector of society—media, family, church, education, government, arts, entertainment, sports, and business—will seek to please God and put him first.

Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things.

Matthew 6:33 GNT

  • Pray for a turning away from wrongdoing. Pray that God will open our eyes to the harm we have caused others and ways we have neglected to care for those in need. Pray that we’ll have repentant hearts and begin to operate in new ways that bring healing and support to all people.

Look deep into my heart, God, and find out everything I am thinking. Don’t let me follow evil ways, but lead me in the way that time has proven true.

Psalm 139:23-24 CEV

  • Pray for churches in America. Pray that churches will become places of healing for those who are hurting. Pray that they will bring the hope of Jesus to their communities. Ask God to make them bolder as they spread the aroma of Christ across our nation.

I have complete confidence in the gospel; it is God’s power to save all who believe.

Roman 1:16a GNT

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Nena Podbury
Nena Podbury

Nena Podbury is a Prayer Mobilization Associate at American Bible Society. Originally from the Bronx, she served in children’s ministry for 12 years doing Sidewalk Sunday School. Nena is married with two children, Noah and Emilia.

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