"It could have easily been my airplane," says Scott McClain, an American Airlines pilot from West Chicago, Illinois.

Two of the hijacked planes were American Airlines flights.

Like Christians across the United States, McClain and other believers participated in impromptu prayer services in America's heartland and tried to make sense of the September 11 disaster.

Staff at Wheaton Bible Church in Wheaton, Illinois, held a prayer service within hours of the attacks. Learning about the service through e-mails, word of mouth, and a sign posted along the road, about 150 people attended the 6 p.m. gathering.

There, pastor Rob Bugh read Psalm 46, which begins "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."

"The point of the psalm is that when everything is unraveling, we can be certain we have comfort in God," Bugh said. "We want to say, 'Yes, God, we know you are in control. Yes, God, we want to affirm that.'"

Worshipers read passages and prayed at microphones in the front of the large sanctuary before Bugh led a prayer for government, emergency personnel, and the injured and bereaved.

John Gration, a church member, said that his family waited three hours before learning that Gration's son, Scott, an Air Force brigadier general who works in the Pentagon, was unharmed.

"God, we live in Disneyland," Margit Amstutz prayed softly. "We have our comfortable homes and our fat tummies, and we don't seek you with our whole hearts. We let immorality seep in among us. We don't honor and worship with all our hearts. We compromised the gospel, and we compromised holiness, and now our nation has paid a price for having left you, Lord."

"Our prayer focus is that this would create a hunger for more people to know God," Bugh says. "Something ...

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