Written by guest blogger, Felita
It was May 2001, and I was attending Glory Tabernacle, a non-denominational church in Washington, D.C. A young friend of mine, Henry, came to me one day and said he felt the Lord was calling him to do a prayer walk around the Washington, D.C. mall, every weekday morning at 6:00am, beginning June 1st. He asked me to join him in this venture. As a woman who always struggled to get up early and pray, my initial thought was, “there’s no way!” To my surprise, however, I answered him with a resounding “yes!” In my heart, I knew something was happening. I felt compelled with an urgency and even an excitement that was not from me. Despite my fear of not being able to wake up early, I had to answer the call.
When June 1, 2001 arrived and my alarm went off at 5:15am, I laced up my sneakers and groggily headed out to the Washington Mall. Henry asked several others from our church to join us, and we had an excellent turnout that first day. Henry explained that we would meet at 6 am between the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol. We would seek God for His direction and guidance and pray from our hearts. Other than the start date, Henry did not have a timeframe in mind. We would continue to pray until we felt the Lord release us. As I recall, there was no real agenda or direct plan. We would gather and pray as we were led by the Holy Spirit.
So what did we feel led to pray? We prayed for the protection of our nation, our nation’s capital and it’s leaders, and the protection of our city. Although we didn’t understand it at the time, we really had a burden for the District of Columbia and we were obedient to the prompting of the Lord. As we walked through the center of the city praying, we could clearly see the White House, the U.S. Capitol, and the Washington Monument, among many others landmarks.
For over three months, I never missed a day of prayer. Some days as many as twelve people showed up, and some days it was just Henry and me. Rain or shine, many or few, we showed up and walked around the Mall every day for over the entire summer of 2001.
On September 11 we met at six am like normal, walked and prayed, and then departed for our regular work days. Just two hours later the unthinkable occurred — the largest terrorist attack in our nation’s history. That one event would change everything.
The next day, September 12, we met again as usual, however, D.C. was on lockdown and we could no longer meet in our usual location. As we looked around at the small group of folks that had gathered, it dawned on us that God had used our small group in a mighty and powerful way. The Lord revealed to us that through our prayers and the doubtless prayers of many others, that the terrorists were not able to enter our nation’s capital on September 11th. They got as close as the Pentagon, which is just a stone’s throw away, but we firmly believe they could not enter the city of Washington, D.C. Why? Because D.C. had been bathed in prayer for several months prior to that most unpredictable and undesirable event. Satan and his weapons of war were not allowed to enter.
Reports later indicated that one of the airplanes that crashed in rural Pennsylvania was headed for the U.S. Capitol and the one that hit the Pentagon had targeted the White House. It’s hard to imagine the devastation and turmoil that would have happened had they succeeded in hitting their actual targets. Indeed our nation’s Capital was spared. It was all so surreal.
Not long afterwards, Henry shared that he felt we were released from our prayer initiative. We felt like we had done the job that God had given us to do.
And ever since those early mornings during the summer of 2001, I have always been able to wake up early and start my day with the Lord. It is no longer a struggle. How could it be? I saw the power of God so very clearly in my own life!
Even now, almost 15 years have past, and it still amazes me how the Lord works in such awesome and miraculous ways. In closing, I am reminded of a Bible verse which I think sums up our experience during the summer of 2001:
“Every place where you set your foot will be yours.” Deuteronomy 11:24
(side note: All photos were taken by Heather at the Newseum, Washington, D.C. May 2016.)
6 thoughts on “steps of faith -a 9/11 story”
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Awesome read! I read the Circle Maker by Mark Patterson and this made me think of that book…
I love you dedication and your willing to listen to the Lord.
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Thanks Denise!!! Appreciate you reading!
The POWER of prayer! Thank you for sharing!
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Well, how inspirational is this that the Lord is still moving and pressing on peoples hearts!. Some will say” why didn’t he prevent the whole 9/11?” but that is a whole other theological debate. The silver lining here is that prayer can be powerful and effective to somehow shift things in the spiritual world. I am reminded of a time I went to the National Mall with Heather back in 2000 I think and I was NEVER political but there was a call to pray for our nation and I said I want this kind of conviction. As I stood among many other folks, the speaker asked who would pray for our country and asked us to kneel on the grass. I did and I felt moved to pray for the upcoming election. I gave up my lunch hour to pray for 40 days. Unlike you Felita, I didn’t always go through with it and sometimes missed that opportunity, but I mostly did and since then have had a sense that it is my God given duty to be informed and vote on issues I feel are important. I have been a voting citizen ever since. I feel called to do my little party with my one voice. thanks for sharing.
Thank you friend. I remember that event as well. I also don’t understand why God didn’t prevent all of 9–11. It’s hard to understand. Kind of like the Titanic, where 1700 people died and only about 500 survived. Why didn’t everybody survive? I really don’t know. These are hard questions. But the bigger picture is that for some reason God answers prayers. Love you friend.