The news came through a text message:
“Breaking news,” it read. “Worst shooting in American History. 32 students killed at virginia tech. Please pray for families and friends!”
Nick Hanson, a junior speech communications major, received this text message while he was having lunch in Braiden Hall. He and his friends joined in prayer and set a prayer circle for 2 p.m. on the Lory Student Center Plaza.
“First of all, there is nothing I can practically do,” said Hanson, who is a member of Lifeline College Group through Mountain View Community Church. “Because of this (event), I know God is in control. I am praying for God to have his glory in all of this. God is a good God, just like He was yesterday and like He will be tomorrow.”
Maranda Shively, was there in prayer with Hanson at lunch and sent this text message to her friends, so they all could join in prayer:
“Prayer on the plaza for v. tech students. meeting @ one forty five. tell people and come join.”
Shively said she wanted to touch the lives of people across the country.
“I came to petition to the living God that can touch them even though they’re there and we’re here,” she said.
Students circled and joined hands to pray and chalk messages, not only for the people killed, but also for the gunman, his family and the media.
“It seemed kind of odd to have so much media attention on us while we were praying,” Hanson said. “We don’t want to benefit from tragedy. May people just see a group of broken-hearted people.”
Stephanie Rentel received a text message from a friend and forwarded it on to 10 or 15 others. She came to pray for God’s message to be spread through all available means.
“I feel like there are certain institutions in our society for a reason,” said Rentel, a junior math education major. “If it is something God chooses to do, he can use those avenues in a positive way to proclaim his glory and his truth.”
Rentel was impressed with the way Christians on campus gathered.
“It was neat,” Rentel said. “A whole bunch of believers on campus came together. I wanted to be there to pray about it and just be together. It was an honor to be there.”
The effort, which took less than an hour and a half to coordinate, inspired Hanson.
“We’re just getting as many Christians together to pray for them and that God will be glorified,” he said. “I’m really encouraged.really encouraged.”
College Avenue Editor in Chief Caroline Welch firstname.lastname@example.org.