9/11: Never Forget…. to Pray?
There are at least two groups using today to encourage people to pray: the Cry Out America prayer team, which is encouraging people to gather in court houses and pray. According to their website:
On September 11, 2008, Christians across America gathered at county courthouses from noon to 1:00 p.m. in all 50 states to remember the tragedy of September 11, 2001, and to pray for a Christ-awakening in the Church and in our nation.
I have no problem with people praying, but I cannot figure out why they are going to be doing it in courthouses. And while I fully support everyone gathering together, remembering our moment of tragedy, and drawing strength from each other, I don’t think that the events of 9/11 should be used as “the catalyst for a great Christ-awakening in our nation”. According to an article on the Christian Post Billy Wilson, executive chairman for Awakening America (the group organizing the prayer gatherings) claims:
Our stated goal for Cry Out America is to claim this day of prayer to fully awaken America to return to the Lord and to mark this significant day in its history with powerful prayer for every state, every county, and every heart.
Am I wrong? Shouldn’t this day be about remembering those who tragically lost their lives when the planes were hijacked and the Towers were destroyed (by religious fanatics no less)? About remembering how, for a short period of time, we came together as a nation, and despite varying ideologies stood behind our nation’s leaders as a united whole? I don’t think Jesus really has much to do with that.
Unfortunately, even the Presidential Prayer Team doesn’t seem to think so. While President Obama is merely observing a moment of silence and participating in a wreath-laying ceremony to pay respect to those killed during the attacks, the Presidential Prayer Team – a national ministry that encourages Americans to pray daily for the nation, its leaders, the president and the troops – will host an online event on Friday during which people can honor the victims and pray online. Now, that’s not so bad, as I said, I think honoring those lost is important. But the fact that they are calling the online event “Never Forget…to Pray” is weird, and that Scott Fehrenbacher, president and CEO of the Presidential Prayer Team, thinks that this event will serve as “a ‘catalyst’ for Americans to return to praying for the nation” makes me uncomfortable.
“As Americans, we can all remember how we reached out to God in the face of the 9/11 attacks,” said Scott Fehrenbacher, president and CEO of the Presidential Prayer Team. “We didn’t worry about red states or blue states, but we rekindled the spirit of America as a vulnerable nation that depends on God.”
I didn’t think that was the lesson we learned – I certainly don’t remember reaching out to God – but I do remember reaching out to my neighbors. If I don’t pray, does that mean I don’t love my country and care about the victims of 9/11? And really, it’s sort of ironic to be calling on God for an event that was to all intents and purposes caused by an overzealous belief in him.