How 9/11 Taught Me to be Spirit-Led

9/11/01 was the first time in my life I intentionally asked for the power of Holy Spirit in my life. And it not only impacted me, but powerfully impacted over 500 other people.

Here is my 9/11 testimony.

9/11 Twin Towers 1


“Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Luke 12:11-12

On 9/10/2001, I connected through Boston Logan airport to catch a flight to Killington, Vermont to keynote a conference the next day.

As the opening speaker of the conference concluded his presentation, the scheduled 15-minute break began before my presentation was to begin at 9:30 AM EST.

During break, we were taken aback as the hotel staff frantically rolled out large TV’s on carts and began to broadcast the terrifying images from Manhattan. By 9:03 AM, both twin towers had been hit by the hijacked aircraft. Just like millions of other Americas, we were shocked, dismayed and very afraid as we watched both towers discharge huge pillars of smoke and fire.

These images profoundly impacted most of this central Vermont audience as many had family members or friends who worked either in the twin towers or in lower Manhattan.

The conference committee had to make a quick decision: cancel or continue. They chose to continue.

I was the next speaker.


As the attendees regathered, there was a powerfully palpable cloud of fear and uncertainty swirling throughout the room. The conference team exhorted me to find a way settle their minds and hearts away from this surreal disaster. Addressing the audience, the conference organizer quickly reviewed their reasons  to continue and introduced me.

I was speechless.

For the first time in my career as a professional speaker, I had no idea what to say or how to overcome such overwhelming emotions and uncertainty.

Also for the first time in life I intentionally asked God, “What do I say? What do I do? Please give me Your words—because I do not have a CLUE!”

To this day I do not remember what I said.

For it was not me speaking, but Holy spirit speaking through me.

About the only thing I do recall was that I asked the audience to join me NOT in a prayer (remember – this was in the middle of the Bernie Sanders/Ben & Jerry’s ultra-liberal northeast) but to join me in a time of ________ – I do not even remember the words that came out of my mouth.

Whatever the words, they were perfect!

In less than 90-seconds, what began as an overwhelming spirit of fear was replaced with by a palpable spirit of calm!

I scanned the audience and could see these 500+ attendees were collectively relieved – even if for just a few minutes. Amazingly, even a few smiles emerged.

I gave my presentation on talent and business best practices (exactly what you what to hear in a state of national emergency), and I must say it was very well received.

Why was it so well received? It certainly was not anything I did. It was totally Holy Spirit working through me as a willing, submitted vessel.


It took me over a decade to fully realize how Holy Spirit so powerfully led me through this pressure-packed event. I can now say this was the first time in my life I was intentional in desiring to be led by Holy Spirit.

And now, this is the only way I want to live!

Jesus repeatedly said he did not do or say anything on His own, but only what the Father told him to do or say (John 5:19; 5:30; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10).

This too is my quest.

What began for me on 9/11/01 as a foretaste Holy Spirit has transformed into my life’s desire – to teach, write, mentor and shepherd willing saints (particularly in business) on how to always and only #BeLed.

Will you join me?

About Dr. Jim

Dr. Jim Harris is President of The Jim Harris Group, an international speaking and advising firm dedicated to helping believers in business unleash their unfair advantage in the marketplace. He is the author of Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business and numerous other award winning business books.


  • Eric Snyder says:

    Thanks for sharing your 9/11 testimony Jim, good exhortation to seek the Holy Spirit’s direction. It was also a reminder to me that the “small things” need His guidance as well as the emotionally overwhelming times like the attack on 9/11.

  • K.V.Simon says:

    Miracle of grace working out in the power of Holy Spirit is a reality when we are tried in the crucible of crisis .
    That sense of self abandonment on our part will pour out the abundance of our Lord in the hour of our utmost need .
    As children of God we are constantly on trial in the world and Lord who overcame the world is our enriching portion for every challenge .
    His promises and perfections prevail over our infirmities and inadequacies .
    I am reminded of few lines of a hymn :
    What a fellowship , what a joy divine , Leaning on the everlasting arms !
    What a blessedness , what a peace is mine , Leaning on the everlasting arms !
    Our saviour God is our shepherd God . He knows His sheep .
    He carries us on His shoulders all along our life’s journey till our task on earth is done .

  • Brian says:

    Great story, Jim. Love it.

    • Dr. Jim says:

      Thanks Brian – you can sure relate to being in a “pressurized-packed” speaking environment! It is truly a BLESSING that we are able to travel to so many places, see so many sights, meet so many great people AND get paid to do so! And oh, the stories we can tell…….

  • Deb says:

    Perfectly articulated, Jim. Thanks for sharing this today. Your 9/11 guidance and wise choices 16 years ago may have influenced countless other “where were you” stories that still resonate today — and will for years to come.

    • Dr. Jim says:

      So good to hear from you Deb! I’ve learned a lot from you on how to write stories – you edited “The Impacter” brilliantly!!!

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