Memorials of Answered Prayers from 9/11
A few weeks before Al-Qaeda set out to murder almost 75,000 Americans on September 11, 2001, the Lord prompted his intercessors to action.
A new believer I was discipling at the time had a vision of a rocket heading toward New York City, and my bride, Joyce Swingle, another contributing writer to www.HeadlinePrayer.org, sensed oppression related to President George W. Bush days before 9/11. These revelations inspired the Light Company, a spiritual warfare prayer team at our church (www.WestchesterChapel.org), to pray for protection for our president and our city.
Pastor David Wilkerson of Times Square Church sensed something was about to happen. He called all of their missionaries home, and they made 2,000 sandwiches, which were ready on September 10. On September 11, church members understood the Lord’s prompting as the sandwiches became lunch for rescuers.
Gretchen Burkholder was working near the Twin Towers a few days before 9/11 and felt prompted to go to the top, despite her aversion to heights. On the observation deck Holy Spirit led her to pray for people from all over the world who were visiting the World Trade Center that day.
A missionary pilot saw hijackers in visions before the events took place and prayed for protection.
Though the attack went through, there were thousands of stories of people who should have been there, but miraculously were not!
Because of the bravery of Todd Beamer and other passengers, Flight 93 was wrestled away from the terrorist who was probably flying it toward the White House.
Because of the design of the Pentagon, damage was contained to a small section of the building. My brother-in-law was in the Pentagon that day, but his life was spared.
Because New York City was voting that day, many were late to work at the Trade Center.
A friend of ours was planning to go into the Trade Center before a meeting he had in Westchester County, just north of NYC. His wife convinced him to wait and go straight to Westchester.
In a comment on my article Twenty Years after Our Darkest Day the Light Still Shines Patricia M. prayed, “Father, thank You that my daughter’s breakfast meeting at The Towers was cancelled.”
I performed my one-man play The Revelation that Friday on Long Island and learned that the Long Island Rail Road was delayed half-an-hour that morning, saving many lives.
In my play Five Bells for 9/11 I tell the story of Lana HoShing, who was in the South Tower when the North Tower was struck. The intercom announced that people were safe and should stay in the building. She heard the voice of the Lord urging her to leave the building, and Holy Spirit led her all the way home.
After performing Five Bells on the 10th anniversary, a fire fighter who was in the audience told me he was waiting in a hotel being used to stage rescue workers who were running into the Towers to save many. Every fire fighter in the city was called in, even if they were retired. That fire fighter’s unit was called in, but as they were running out of the hotel they saw reflected in the North Tower the falling South Tower. They turned around and ran back inside the hotel. This fire fighter sensed the Lord prompting him to turn right as soon as they entered the hotel. He did, but the rest of his team was buried by debris.
At the end of the day, only 4% of those targeted actually died. That’s a lot of answered prayer and lives spared!
In my interview with Ann Van Hine, the widow of the fire fighter I portray in my play I asked her why we should remember 9/11, and she said, “The Bible tells us to tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of our Lord (Psalm 78:4). There are praiseworthy deeds that need to be remembered.”
The Lord prompted the people of Israel to set up memorials of how He helped them in various times. In Joshua 3 and 4, when the Lord led them across the Jordan River to the plains of Jericho, He asked them to create two memorials. Joshua picked a man from each of the twelve tribes to go back into the river bed, while the waters were still backed up, and each selected a rock for a memorial that they set up at Gilgal. Joshua also set up a memorial of twelve stones where the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant had stood when the waters backed up.
We need memorials of how the Lord has helped us in our lifetime.
Five Bells for 9/11 is a memorial to how the Lord was with individuals on that dark day, and the title is a reference to another memorial: In days gone by, fire bells were rung in codes. They told which crew was called where and what to expect when they got there. Even the horses recognized the codes and would get antsy when their code was rung. The code that was rung when a fire fighter fell on duty was five bells, four times in a row. It would make a really long service to ring five times four for each of the 343 fire fighters who fell on 9/11, but after every performance I (or a local fire fighter) ring a bell for one of them. The performance I’ve posted at www.RichDrama.com/FiveBells honors Shawn Powell of Engine 207.
Frank Silecchia found a memorial. When the North Tower fell onto World Trade Center Building Six it created an open air atrium. In the wee hours of September 13, Frank entered that space and came upon a cross of steel, stuck in the rubble like the Cross of Calvary. He instantly recognized it as a symbol of hope, a sign the Lord had not abandoned us on 9/11.
In Five Bells, I portray Frank introducing Father Brian Jordan to what is now known as the Healing Cross of Ground Zero. Father Brian heard that the cross was going to be taken away for analysis with the rest of the debris, but he had a friend in the office of Mayor Rudy Giuliani, recognized by some as a national hero then as he is now. Father Brian shepherded the Healing Cross past the secularists who wanted all religious symbolism stripped from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. You can see the Healing Cross, a memorial that the Lord did not abandon us on 9/11, now in the final room you come to on a tour of the 9/11 Museum. Father Brian wrote a book about what it took to get it there: The Ground Zero Cross.
Let’s pray fervently for safety in the U.S. and around the world, now that the Taliban’s victory over America in Afghanistan has energized terrorists around the globe. We hope we don’t even hear what tragedies our prayers prevent!
I’m sure there were many others the Lord prompted to pray before 9/11 than I have reported here.
If you were one of them or know of someone who was, or if you know someone who was targeted for destruction that day and was spared, please post the story in the comments below. Or just post a prayer of thanks to God for going before us. Let’s make this page a memorial.
Rich Swingle has taught and performed in 39 nations on six continents, mostly with his own one-man plays. Rich adjudicated at an acting competition in which Justin Sterner competed as a youth. Rich and his bride, Joyce Swingle, another contributing writer for IFA, now have 37 screen children. The Swingles live in New York City. www.RichDrama.com. Photo Credit: Rich Swingle.
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