A St. Louis pastor and his congregation stopped their church from allegedly being robbed after using their surroundings to their advantage and the best tool in their arsenal, prayer.
The members believe the men were overwhelmed by the power of prayer despite being armed, changing their minds from their original plan to stick up the building during service.
Pastor Marquaello Futrell, the senior pastor for the All Creation Northview Holiness Family Church in Ferguson, Missouri, said on Sunday, Feb. 12, a group of young men entered the worship service with firearms in their waistbands, KSDK reports.
Futrell, who served as a police officer for 10 years, said he relied on his experience in law enforcement and his work in the ministry to help him assess the ordeal.
The incident was captured on Facebook Live.
Futrell said he saw one man come into the sanctuary carrying two bags. That man began talking to the church’s children’s services director, which caught the clergyman’s attention.
He said, “I immediately just had the hairs on the back of my neck I’m like, ‘OK, something’s about to happen.'”
Soon after the first young man came in, four additional men entered with masks covering their faces.
The pastor said, “Me being a former police officer, I immediately noticed their waistbands, I’m like, ‘There’s something there.'”
Futrell said his instinct was to go into prayer and direct the spiritual words toward the men.
Another member saw one of the young men drop their gun, and this prompted the pastor to instruct the director to “lock the doors” in an effort to “keep the children safe.” He also instructed his media department to focus on the faces of the young men.
The service went on as scheduled, according to the Christian Post, with members worshiping and praising God. And about one hour in, the live stream captured the preacher approaching the back and saying, “In the purple, tell me your name. I can’t hear you.”
After asking his name, he asked why they came to church on that day.
He asked them, “Who sent y’all here? Y’all just saw the church and decide to come? Talk to me.”
At that point, he sent the congregation to pray over the men, “I said, praise God that God sent them in here. That what the devil meant for evil– you messing with a Marquaello Antonio Futrell.”
“Don’t you play with me, I still got a cop anointing, and I still know what’s going on, and I still know what’s about to happen,” he said. “God’s about to change the plot of the enemy. Lift your voices and shout unto God for what he’s about to do.”
The pastor then asked if he could pray for them, and the young men agreed. All at once, the church enveloped them and started to pray.
Futrell said to the young men, “See that wasn’t so bad brothers. Thank y’all for letting us pray for you. And we’re thankful that for whatever reason, the Lord let y’all come here.”
The alleged would-be criminals left the premises, and the preacher shared the footage of the service with law enforcement.
The Ferguson Police Department confirmed the men departed in a Black Dodge charger with tinted windows and remain at large.
This incident comes less than a year after crooks bombarded Pastor Lamor Miller-Whitehead’s Brooklyn church, Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministry. The masked men entered the church and robbed the pastor of what he reports was $1 million worth of jewels during the live stream.
Fortunately, the recent Missouri church altercation turned out way differently.
When asked about the incredible shift that could have ended in a massacre or burglary, the minister said he leaned into his faith.
“I just heard the Lord say, this is what happens when you illegally trespass,” he said. “That when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard. The flood will never be greater than the standard.”
Even with the “spiritual covering,” the pastor said the incident prompted the church to implement active shooter drills, even with young children in the congregation, just in case something like this happens again.