They came just as they were: out of the dormitories in jeans and khakis, in suits and white shirts and conservative dresses from downtown, and some with ashes still flaking off their shoulders. They huddled behind the protective walls in the great quad of Columbia University and shared their stories of fleeing down the streets, calming the traumatized and waiting in line for hours to give blood.

About 150 people came to the steps of Low Library at 6 p.m. on Tuesday to hear Charles Drew of nearby Emmanuel Presbyterian Church reassure them that the Lord is in charge in the midst of the upheaval. "You should exalt Jesus while the nations rage," Drew told them. "God is in charge, and in the end we have hope."

Across the city, New Yorkers were drawn to prayer. Here's Life Inner City and other ministries set up prayer stations on the streets so that fleeing refugees could stop and take a moment to gather spiritual resources. Churches like Primitive Christian Church near the World Trade Center area and Marble Collegiate a little further uptown sent people into the streets to tell people fleeing the disaster area that they could come to rest, refresh and pray. Many churches held prayer services Tuesday evening. Many more are planning them for today.

Drew says that "people were mostly stunned. I am still reeling. There are a number of people missing."

After announcing where people could get help and give blood, the pastor divided the crowd into prayer groups. Participants shared their experiences and comforted each other. One woman from Wall Street talked about how traumatized a friend was after seeing the second plane crash into the World Trade Center tower above her head. Another prayer group comforted a recent graduate from Columbia, ...

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