With the 7th anniversary of 9/11/01, my mind went back to that day, a day that I shall always remember. I was a seminary student, and was in a prayer class at the time the first plane hit the World Trade Center. A group of us were sitting outside joined together in prayers of thanksgiving. We were alerted by a classmate to come inside immediately.
As we entered the building, we could feel the tension and the fear that was mounting. We went into the library where a group of people were clustered around a television. As we stood there watching in horror, another plane flew into the second tower. A gasp and shrieks filled the room. Men and women alike began to cry. "What is happening to our world?" was all I could think.
Someone said, "Let's pray." We formed a circle and began to pray together, to bring our minds back to the truth that God is active and present even at at time when everything seems to be turned upside down.
I went to Silent Unity, the 24/7 prayer ministry. There was a need for more volunteers to help as the calls were coming in fast and furious from all over the country and the world. I quickly sat down and took a call. It was a woman who had a loved one on the first plane to hit the WTC. I felt as if my breath had been sucked out of me. This person needed a prayer and I did not know that I could do it. I knew that the loved one was dead. I said silently to myself, "Help me." That was my first prayer. And then the words came. I don't know what I said. But whatever it was, the woman on the other end thanked me profusely. It was what she needed to hear.
I realized at that time that prayer is not just about asking for something. It is about drawing our attention to the truth, which we may lose track of when things seem to go crazy in the world and in our lives. It is a way to become centered on the truth that we are never alone, that God is always present and working in and through us and others. It can bring us peace and calmness in the midst of the most frightening times.
When you are experiencing a challenge of any kind, remember the power of prayer. It may not change the circumstances that you are dealing with but it will definitely change you.