A Christian prayer service will be held at the Lincoln Memorial tomorrow afternoon in the nation's capital, one month since the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The ministers who are organizing the event will lead an anticipated 1,000 people in laying 6,000 yellow roses at the memorial to represent the dead and missing.

The 1 p.m. gathering is sponsored by several ministries, including Washington-based Faith and Action, a politically conservative, 50,000-member organization that encourages pastors to be involved in politics. Other sponsors are the National Association of Evangelicals (nae), which has 51 member denominations, and Creation Festivals, which sponsors Christian pop music events.

Richard Cizik, acting director of the nae, says prayer and praise will be the focus.

"The world has a spiritual vacuum that needs to be filled," he says. "This kind of need needs to be answered by a spiritual response."

Rob Schenck, president of Faith and Action, says people of all faiths will be welcome at the gathering, but the prayers will be Christian.

"The interreligious services have been very positive and a very good thing," Schenck says, "[but] there is a difference between services where prayers are offered in many ways and in many names, and our biblical mandate to pray in the name of Jesus."

"We want to really call up the people of God to intercede for our leaders," says Harry L. Thomas Jr., director of Creation Festivals. "It's also a time for the churches to be there, to reach people with the gospel." Creation Festivals donated the roses for the event, and Thomas will pray over them before they are laid at the memorial.

Schenck says the service will allow people to observe the passing of a month since the September 11 attacks, and to recognize the change at the World Trade Center and Pentagon sites from search and rescue efforts to recovery.

"There really is no hope of finding people alive," says Schenck, who has served as a chaplain at both sites. "The laying of flowers in the nation's capital gives families, friends and fellow citizens a meaningful way to lay these victims to rest."

Still, Cizik says, the tone will be hopeful and upbeat as participants pray for the United States, its military, and Afghan and Sudanese refugees.

"Our mission is to encourage faith not fear, hope not doubt, and love not hate, and for Jesus to be lifted up," he says.

Schenck says the groups' decision to meet at the Lincoln Memorial reflects the balance between grief and hope.

"Not only was Abraham Lincoln an American martyr, but the Lincoln Memorial is itself a very spiritual place," Schenck says, noting the scriptural references etched into the monument's north wall.

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The National Park Service is providing tightened security for the event. The ministers hope that the free public transportation offered by the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority this weekend will encourage people to come. Planning for the event began two weeks ago.

Schenck says there is a new openness to Christianity in Washington that amazes him, even after 20 years of ministry.

"There is a very hopeful attitude in Washington," he says. "We've seen people more spiritually inquisitive. They're reaching out in prayer, and they want to know more about God."

LaTonya Taylor is editorial resident at Christianity Today.

Related Elsewhere:

More information is available at the Faith&Action Web site.

Christianity Today's previous coverage of life after the September 11 attacks include:

Activists well acquainted with terror | "Jerusalem Women Speak" tour gains relevance for audience members struggling with new fears. (Sept. 27, 2001)
The Hard-Won Lessons of Terror and Persecution | Overseas Christians reflect on painful experiences. (Sept. 26, 2001)
Day of Terror, Day of Grace | In the wake of fatal attacks killing thousands, Christians steer America toward prayer, service, and reconciliation. (Sept. 25, 2001)
Judgment Day | God promised that calamity would follow disobedience. So why are we quick to dismiss it as a reason for the September 11 attacks? (Sept. 25, 2001)
Where I Minister, Grace Abounds Over Sin | At Ground Zero, a New York pastor becomes a symbol that God is present and available. (Sept. 24, 2001)
Books & Culture Corner: Myths of the Taliban | Misinformation and disinformation abounds. What do we know? (Sept. 24, 2001)
Now What? | A Christian response to religious terrorism. (Sept. 21, 2001)
To Embrace the Enemy | Is reconciliation possible in the wake of such evil? (Sept. 21, 2001)
After the Grave in the Air | True reconciliation comes not by ignoring justice nor by putting justice first, but by unconditional embrace. (Sept. 21, 2001)
Film Forum: Shock Waves Tear Through a Shock-Value Industry | How can we think of movies at a time like this? (Sept. 20, 2001)
Was September 11 the Beginning of the End? | Observers say geography and gravity of attacks have led to little prophecy speculation. (Sept. 19, 2001)
The End of the World (Trade Center) | Dispatches from out of the dust. (Sept. 19, 2001)
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Active Christian on Flight 93 Hailed as a Hero | Wheaton College graduate and others "figured out how to do extraordinary things" aboard United plane. (Sept. 19, 2001)
With Grief and Anger, the U.S. Mourns Its Losses | A week of official services and impromtu demonstrations follows shocking attacks. (Sept. 18, 2001)
Orthodox Church Near Ground Zero Hopes to Rise Again | Members hope to rebuild 169-year-old structure, which stood only 500 feet from the World Trade Center. (Sept. 18, 2001)
Churches Meet Needs at Ground Zero | Brooklyn pastors and parishioners thank God for survival, but help victims and families cope. (Sept. 17, 2001)
Church Mourns 'Father Frank' | Fond memories comfort those who knew retired priest killed in World Trade Center attack. ? (Sept. 17, 2001)
Books & Culture Corner: The Imagination of Disaster | "We thought we were invulnerable." Really? (Sept. 17, 2001)
Taking It Personally | What do we do with all this anger? (Sept. 14, 2001)
'Is That Thunder?' | With metal cracking at the World Trade Center, New York pastors cry out to God. (Sept. 14, 2001)
Shaken Christians Turn to Prayer | Impromptu services usher in the bereaved by word of mouth, road signs, and e-mail. (Sept. 13, 2001)
Christians Provide Comfort in the Shadow of Calamity | Still "stunned and reeling," New Yorkers seek support at prayer service. (Sept. 13, 2001)
Illinois Pastor on Fatal Flight | Jeffrey Mladenik, 43, was involved in workplace ministry, international adoption. (Sept. 13, 2001)
Communication Troubles Challenge U.S. Church Relief Agencies | Aid work continues amid atmosphere of shock, fear, and sporatic harrassment. (Sept. 13, 2001)
Reflections on Suffering | Classic and contemporary quotations for dark times. (Sept. 13, 2001)
When Sin Reigns | An event like this shows us what humans are capable of becoming—both as children of darkness and of light. (Sept. 13, 2001)
In the Belly of the Beast | Christians, calling terrorist attack "satanically brilliant," minister at epicenter of World Trade disaster. (Sept. 12, 2001)
Churches, Agencies Respond to Attacks | Leaders call for prayer, justice, and mercy. (Sept. 12, 2001)
Muslims Fear a Backlash | No matter who is responsible, observers feel a reaction will still be present. (Sept. 12, 2001)
A Wake-Up Call to Become Global Christians | The deadly attacks on America will provoke many responses, but Christians are commanded to love our neighbors. (Sept. 12, 2001)
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Nation's Religious Leaders Urge Calm, Pray for Peace | Churches will maintain prayer vigils for victims and leaders. (Sept. 11, 2001)
Church Leaders Around World Deplore 'Unspeakable Horror' of Attack | Christians urged to unite in prayer as they unite in shock and denunciation. (Sept. 11, 2001)
Experts Say Spiritual Roots Will Aid in Coping With Catastrophe | Pray and connect with others, advise nation's chaplains. (Sept. 11, 2001)
Fear and Hate | In times like this, as in all other times, Christians have a responsibility to love above all else. (Sept. 11, 2001)
God's Message in the Language of Events | In the face of evil, we must focus on keeping our hearts right. (Sept. 11, 2001)