(DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)

On this 17th anniversary commemoration of Sept. 11, now called Patriot Day, will you bow your heads, joining me in prayer? Heavenly Father, we remember the sights, the sounds ... the horror.

  • The images of exhausted, ash-covered first responders
  • The chirping sounds of the trapped firefighters' location devices coming from the pile
  • The dogs that were there, first searching for survivors, then searching for bodies
  • The pictures of missing loved ones tacked on every telephone pole and billboard
  • The sad procession of family members walking up to the staging area to see the actual devastation

But Lord, we also remember those thousands who came from all around the country and indeed the world to do whatever they could to help.

  • The crime investigators who did the grisly work of evidence handling
  • The forensic workers who did the unthinkable job of identifying the dead
  • The chaplains and counselors and administrators who came to do the essential work needed to give the survivors what they needed
  • The crane operators and construction and demolition experts who entered the burning pile so others could safely search.

We remember the grief and the sorrow of a nation,

We remember the pain from the images seared into our national conscience of that day; our lives being forever changed.

But we also remember the unity that crossed party lines, singing "God Bless America," the land that we love, knowing You stood beside her and You guided her through that day. And You guided her through those nights after with Your light from above.

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We remember the 2976 precious people from 93 nations living in our nation dying that day. We know it was not just America attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, but it was the world.

And we remember the men and women who have served and who are serving our nation, our great military and first responders. They find themselves in harm's way in distant lands and on our streets, fighting and defending our freedom and serving with all their hearts to help others.

They fight for the self-evident truths that all mankind is created equal, endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And in You, O Lord—the one who is the way, the truth and the life—is true life.

We bless them, God. We bless our service members. We bless their families, and we pray that our military and all who are overseas will safely return into our loving arms. But we also pray for your healing for all those families who lost a loved one in the wars we have engaged in because of 9/11.

We know that Your justice rolls on like a river, Your righteousness like a never-failing stream. And we stand on all Your sacred and true promises, knowing that You will bring a great awakening to us once again. You will bring the healing from the tree of life that all nations need.

We humble ourselves before You. May Your grace be poured out upon us all.

Most of all we remember You, oh God. As your servant Moses said, and the hymn writer penned, we now pray:

Oh God our help in ages past/ Our hope for years to come

Our shelter from the stormy blast and our eternal home

Under the shadow of Thy throne/ Still may we dwell secure

Sufficient is Thine arm alone/ And our defense is sure

Before the hills in order stood/ Or earth received her frame

From everlasting Thou art God/ To endless years the same

Oh God our help in ages past/ Our hope for years to come

Be Thou our guard while troubles last/ And our eternal home.

Amen.

Jared Laskey, M.Div., M.A. Christian Ministry, is senior pastor of Destiny Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia He is a combat veteran, who served with 2nd Battalion 8th Marines, deploying to Iraq (2007-08) and Afghanistan (2009). You can follow him on twitter @jaredalaskey and purchase his co-authored Veronica's Hero. You can subscribe to his podcast and check out Fireborn Ministries.

Jim Jenkins, D.Min., M.Div., has been serving in the ministry for over 30 years as a Naval Reserve chaplain, pastor and Bible college professor. He was reactivated as a chaplain to serve at Ground Zero after 9/11. He is the founder and overseer of the Jude 3 Fellowship in Monmouth, Oregon, and author of Fatal Drift.

This invocation was written to be prayed by Pastor David Foote, M.Div., M.A., at a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony in Norfolk, Virginia. David is the senior pastor of Family Bible Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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