The Lord's Prayer – Answer to 9/11
After the 9/11 attacks, the Lord's Prayer is incredibly comforting.
Categories: Abundance, Loss, Loving and Forgiving
On September 11, 2001, I was working in Washington, DC. It was a day I do not need to re-describe here, one in which the city went from its regular pace to being a city under siege in a matter of minutes. It was accompanied by the startling sight of fighter planes flying overhead and smoke rising out of the Pentagon. That morning, I knew that if everyone left their offices all at once it would create a major traffic jam. So I decided that before I went home, I would take time to pray until I really felt the calm of God's presence, right there in my office. I started with the Lord's Prayer. The notes below show the progression of thought that day as I turned to God. I share it now as a continuing prayer.
September 11, 2001
They told us we could go home -- encouraged it, in fact. But I chose to stay a little while, to clear my thoughts, to reach an inner calm. I am suddenly and acutely aware of where I am, working as part of the national security establishment of the country, in an office in a federal building, right downtown on the Mall in Washington, DC.
I offer words of comfort to people in the office. Everyone is startled and wonders what will come next. There's an overwhelming feeling that "there's nothing we can do." We huddle around the radio. It narrates. It gets repetitive, as if hearing it the first time weren't enough.
We hear about the two towers collapsing in New York. We hear about parts of the Pentagon collapsing. It seems impossible. People are evacuating most offices in the city…
I think there is something I can do. It's to be actively conscious of God.
Where is that feeling of safety? It comes with charity, a feeling of brotherly love for our fellow man. "Our Father, which art in heaven…." I feel pity for the people who feel driven to inflict such horror. I feel compassion for the unwitting victims of this tragedy. We're all connected. It's not "over there" somewhere. There must be room in my heart to love unconditionally. This is going to take work.
"Hallowed be thy name." Nothing like this can be done in God's name. God's name brings peace, calm, assurance, comfort, the expectation of good. All immediately come to their neighbors' assistance. Bosses usher their flocks of employees to safety, out of the building, out of harm's way.
"Thy kingdom come." In my consciousness, God's laws prevail. It is not a place of mass hysteria, gridlock, panic, terror, or fear. Those are what you see and feel when you take your eyes off of the spiritual reality. God's kingdom is permanent. Only good can be permanent.
"Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." God is victorious, not vengeful. The motive is to heal, guard, and protect, not kill. As we heal, we grow spiritward.
The Lord's Prayer gave me comfort and helped me move forward through the difficult days and weeks that followed. It remains close to my heart -- a prayer I often turn to with confidence and trust. On September 11, more than ever before, people were openly talking about "God" in the work place and praying for each other. It was a pretty powerful shift, and I'm sure a lot of people felt that. Like Daniel's consistent prayer, turning to God in moments of crisis -- and at any time -- replaces the "spirit of fear" with "power," "love," and "a sound mind."