Campus on Lockdown – Prayers in Text Messages

By Donna Magnotta
 I hung my bulky
winter coat in the closet, tossed my keys on the kitchen counter,
kicked off my shoes and changed into my comfy slippers. This
is my normal routine when I arrive home from my part-time job as a teacher
aide. It  was Tuesday, December 3, 2013
and my Christmas to-do list was on my mind as I walked into the den to check
the answering machine. The number 4 in red, was blinking. Hmm. Four messages? That’s unusual.
     I pressed play
and this is what I heard: “This is an important message from the
University of New Haven. The University of New Haven is
currently in lockdown.
There has been a 
report of a suspect with a firearm in the vicinity near campus. We will
keep you advised of further developments as they become
available.” BEEP
“This is an important message from the University of
New Haven. The University
of New Haven is currently in lockdown. There has been a
report of an Asian
male with a rifle on campus grounds. Police are conducting a
building to building
search. We will keep you advised of further developments as
they become available.”
BEEP click BEEP click “End of Messages.”
     My first selfish
thought was, maybe Erica isn’t on campus
I quickly walked
to the kitchen counter and rifled through the papers where I
kept her class schedule.
My hands trembled as I rummaged through the papers. I
couldn’t find it.  I picked up the phone
and dialed Erica’s cell. It rang once. The call connected but Erica wasn’t
Erica? Can you hear me?”
me,” she whispered.
Oh, this can’t be
  I grabbed my cell phone and
     me:  r u
     Erica: yes
     me:  ok
what’s happening?
     Erica: we r
sitting on the floor in the dark
     me:  i m
praying and will email my prayer group. ur safe where u r
     Erica: there is no lock on this door but i
think the bldg is locked. im scared.
     me:  try
2 hold it 2gether. i know its scary but im sure police & security
     will keep you
safe and God is watching over u… i pray for ur safety
     & protection
evry day and evry week in my prayer group! We just
     prayed 4 ur
school last nite.
     As I ministered
to my daughter through texting, God was ministering to me.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous and on the verge of
But then I thought of God’s promises. I trust you Jesus. You
promise never to leave
us or forsake us. Surely God is my salvation;
I will trust and not
be afraid.
I thought of the ladies in my Moms in Prayer
group and how every Monday night we pray for safety and
protection for our children’s schools and colleges. And how, less than 24 hours
earlier, we had lifted up Erica’s college in prayer. God’s peace spread over me
like a warm blanket and made my fears evaporate like a mist.  I can
do all things through Him who
     I quickly emailed
my Moms in Prayer ladies with the subject line, urgent prayer
request.  I
found out later that two of my sisters-in-Christ stopped what they
were doing in the middle of the day to pray on the phone
that the suspect would
be caught immediately, for darkness to be brought into the
light and for Jesus’
safety and protection for everyone on campus.
     What seemed like
hours later but was in fact only about 45 minutes, Erica forwarded
a text from campus police which said, “Suspect in
Custody, continue to shelter in place until further instructions.”
My reply text was, Thank u Jesus!
     The “suspect
in custody” turned out to be a commuter student. I don’t
know what he had planned to do that day, but I am eternally
grateful that
he was caught before the world had to find out.  Ironically it was the swift
thinking and action of a homeless woman who “saw
something and said something”
as the ads advise. God uses all of us for his purposes and
plans.  The college
community has set up a Good Samaritan fund for the homeless
woman to help
her get back on her feet. 
We are all so grateful for God’s wisdom, providence
and protection. Yes, he does answers prayers, period, the
end.  And that is why we keep praying in
our Moms in Prayer groups, exclamation point! 
Why wait? Find a Moms in Prayer group near you! 

Donna Magnotta   has been praying in a Moms in Prayer group since 1994. She co-leads a
weekly high school/college and career group of six women and lives in Mamaroneck, NY with my husband,
Charlie, of 27 years and our two young adult daughters, Michelle, 25, and
Erica, 22. 

Comments 3

  1. Yes, Amen and Amen! This example of God's sovereignty is such an encouragement. And God uses modern technology like texting to get the word out to prayer. So thankful for your faith, Donna, and your faithfulness in prayer over so many years, and for your faithful group of moms who joined with you to pray this through. The homeless woman reminds me again how God uses the quiet, unknown, unexpected, "upside down" folks (like Naomi and Ruth and Boaz in the Bible) to further His kingdom. What an amazing God we serve! Thank you for taking the time to share this!

  2. you know, I don't know how to quickly come up with a fancy reply, but this is coming from many emotions. Im sorry your daughter had to go through that horrible experience, and you, as a mom, standing "outside". Im thinking of how "God works all things for the good of His people"- in response to the homeless woman. If this tragedy at the campus had never taken place, would this woman have been "ministered" to under the umbrella of the Good Samaritan program? I was moved. God is AMAZING!!!!!

  3. Thank you Jesus! God has us in the groups for such a time as this and so many others we are not even aware of. He cares enough to minister to us through his words and our praying sisters, a lifeline to cling to in these treacherous times. Thank you for sharing your story. So glad everything turned out okay. Thank you Jesus!

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