Patriotic Prayer: Something Good Rose from the Ashes of 9/11
- Friday, September 01, 2006
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” --Lamentations 3:22-23
September 11 marks the fifth anniversary of terrorist attacks on our soil. As Americans prepare to commemorate the event that forever changed the world, The Presidential Prayer Team (PPT) is challenging all Americans to honor the fallen innocents and heroes — of both that day and the ensuing war on terror — by celebrating the renewed strength and good that God has lifted from their sacrifices.
Evelyn Smith is an ordinary person with a simple yet extraordinary observation: “The good thing that came out of 9/11 is that all of a sudden it was O.K. to pray.”
Smith is one of three million people who are part of PPT’s grassroots effort to rekindle America’s rich cultural heritage of prayer. The organization was launched one week after the 9/11 strike. It has received the endorsement of people like the Rev. Franklin Graham and Christian music artist Michael W. Smith, but the organization’s strength comes from regular citizens — spanning denominational and political leanings — who were stirred by 9/11 to infuse their patriotism with prayer.
“Serving as an intercessor with PPT has been an unparalled spiritual experience for me,” said Elizabeth Wayne. “My knowledge of our system of government has greatly expanded, and my appreciation for our country's leadership and history encourages me to engage in deeper prayer activity.”
PPT started in an adult Sunday school class in Scottsdale, Ariz., with individuals concerned about the course of our nation after the contentious elections of 2000. Church elders had encouraged class leaders to expand to the Internet, and there was talk of doing so later in 2001. The 9/11 assault prompted immediate action because the nation needed the mysterious unity and comfort that earnest prayer has provided believers since the beginning of time.
Since its humble beginnings, PPT has expanded its ministry to include a 60-second radio program called American Inspirations, which highlights the lives of people who have made a difference in America because of their faith and commitment to prayer. The ministry then began its Adopt our Troops initiative at the onset of the War on Terror.
Sgt. James Allen spent 15 months in Iraq with the U.S. Army 258th Heavy Combat Engineer Arizona National Guard. “The prayers, comments and letters from The Presidential Prayer Team kept me and my comrades-in-arms safe and secure,” he said. “We on many occasions were missed by seconds with roadside bombs and other attacks. We came home with only one major casualty. Thank you America for your prayers and love!”
Lest anyone believe that the staggering patriotism on the heels of 9/11 has waned, consider Pastor Jerry Lambeth and his small church in upstate New York, near Fort Drum Army base.
“Since 9/11, [our church] comes to the altar to pray PPT’s prayer requests each Sunday morning and/or evening and then sings God Bless America before returning to our seats,” said Lambeth. “I agree with Dr. James Dobson, during his March 1, 2006 broadcast, that slow changes are coming to America as a result of the prayers of God's people. Galatians 6:9 tells us to ‘not grow weary in well doing, for we shall reap if we faint not.’"
To aid pastors in their efforts to fuel America’s patriotic prayers, PPT began offering Preacher’s Packs in 2006. These packs have been provided for Memorial Day, Independence Day and, now, Patriot Day (September 11). They contain a complete sermon, worship helps, a bulletin insert, prayer guide and short inspirational video.
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