Prayers for 9/11 (Patriot Day): Prayers for the Anniversary of September 11th and to Remember the Lives Lost

Hands Praying

September 11th, 2001 unquestionably represents one of the darkest days in history and lowest points of humanity.

While we may heal with time, we certainly will never forget what happened, we can continue to pray for all of the lives lost and impacted on that terrible day.

Prayer was the response of many that day. 

Students and faculty at Creighton University, a thousand miles away in Omaha, Neb., packed the church for the noon Mass, with a crowd so large, people stood in the aisles of the church, as seen in these photos from the school’s archives. A similarly large crowd flocked to a prayer service that evening.

Just a few miles from Ground Zero at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Cardinal Egan prepared to celebrate a lunch time Mass at the famous Fifth Avenue church in Manhattan.

“I thought we’d have the usual group for a daily Mass — about 500. The cathedral was packed. People were out on the streets,” he told the National Catholic Register.

Egan later described the impact that 9/11 had on New Yorkers as an event that “woke us up.” 

“It was evil,” he said, “but the people reacted with renewed commitment to the Lord. It might have done us more good than we suspect.”

More than 20 years later, the anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks is still an occasion in which we gather together for prayer.

We may not stand side by side physically, but we’re united in Christ when we lift up our hearts in prayer to remember this day.

Here are some prayers you can consider on September 11 or anytime when you want to remember all of those impacted by the evil events that day.

Pope Benedict Prayer at Ground Zero

God of understanding,

overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,

we seek your light and guidance

as we confront such terrible events.

Grant that those whose lives were spared

may live so that the lives lost here

may not have been lost in vain.

Comfort and console us,

strengthen us in hope,

and give us the wisdom and courage

to work tirelessly for a world

where true peace and love reign

among nations and in the hearts of all.

Pope Benedict XVI

(via The Vatican)

Pray with the Beatitudes

Consider praying with the beatitudes on the occasion of September 11th:

Blessed are they who mourn,

for they will be comforted….

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,

for they will be shown mercy….

Blessed are the peacemakers,

For they will be called children of God.

Matthew 5:4,6,7,9

9/11 Anniversary Prayer

God of Peace and Mercy, on this anniversary for September 11, we lift up the souls who perished on that day. Welcome them with loving arms into Your kingdom. Comfort their families and friends. Help us to mourn alongside them with a constant compassion that can only be rooted in You. May we look to the first responders that day to inspire us to live bravely and courageously, and to selflessly protect others in need. May we look to those who opened up their homes to the stranded and displaced that day to stir us to be more hospitable. Having seen the face of evil and darkness, may we be steadfast and faithful in pursuing You, our perpetual Light. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.

Intercessory Prayers on September 11

  • For liturgies or prayer services on 9/11, consider these intentions/prayers of intercession:
  • For our military, police, firefighters and all first responders, may You bless them, keep them safe, and help them to make good decisions. We pray to the Lord.
  • For all veterans, from all wars, may You strengthen us to help and serve them. We pray to the Lord.
  • For peace in all places of the world that experience violence, we pray to the Lord.
  • For our world leaders, may they unite to create a world where life is protected, not destroyed, in a place where peace flourishes, even when different groups of people disagree. We pray to the Lord.
  • For those who were not yet born on September 11, may they never experience in their lifetime such a profound act of evil. We pray to the Lord. 
  • For the grace to be forgiving and show mercy, we pray to the Lord.

If you’d like to make a donation to help those impacted by September 11, consider a contribution to the FDNY Foundation, the New York City Police Foundation, or the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships and support to the children of those killed or badly injured during the 9/11 attacks.

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