O Lord of Nations, Hear Our Prayer

O Lord of Nations (Hennig) - Score Preview-1.png
O Lord of Nations (Hennig) - Score Preview-1.png

O Lord of Nations, Hear Our Prayer


This hymn was written for Thanksgiving 2001, that first Thanksgiving after the terrifying events of September 11. All of us remember exactly where we were when we heard the news of the attacks, and we can still feel the crushing emotions: shock, grief, fear . . . and gratitude.

We hugged our families and thanked God for their safety. We went to church—some people for the first time in a long time—and thanked God for the blessings of this country, for leaders ordained to protect us, and for the common people—rescue workers at Ground Zero, passengers on Flight 93—who performed uncommonly brave acts for their fellow human beings.

We felt the presence of God pulsing even through the smoke, fire, and fear. He had not forsaken us, and we couldn’t help but thank him for what we still held onto. That’s what this hymn is about.

We thank him for a land that is lush and beautiful (stanza 1) and that affords us all that we need: food, medical care, wealth (extravagant wealth relevant to much of the world), meaningful work, and leisure time too (stanza 2).

We thank God for the freedom we have to worship him as we wish and to share the gospel with others (stanza 3). This freedom, which was not part of the terrorists’ culture, seemed itself under attack that September morning.

Then the hymn moves from praise to petition. We ask God to forgive us for taking his gifts for granted and keeping them selfishly to ourselves (stanza 4). In the spirit of 1 Timothy 2:1-4, we ask God to give our leaders wisdom and strength (stanza 5), desperately needed those days of autumn 2001 and needed still today. We ask him to protect us from those who plan acts of terror and treachery against us (stanza 6) so that our country can remain at peace.

And finally, we realize that our nation may very well fall some day—in fact, all nations will certainly fall one day: the Last Day (stanza 7). When our Savior reappears to make the earth anew (Revelation 21:1,5), all national boundaries will dissolve, and we will join a new nation, a “shining band / Of saints from ev’ry tribe and land” (Rev 7:9), and with the Lord of all nations we’ll make our home.

What a day of thanksgiving that will be.

Written September 11, 2006, the five-year anniversary of 9-11.

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