Four armed men wearing masks entered a Missouri church earlier this month with the alleged intent to rob it or worse. They were ultimately overwhelmed, not by a hail of bullets but instead by a hail of prayers.
Marquaello Futrell, pastor at All Creation Northview Holiness Family Church in Ferguson, told KSDK that he knew right away when four masked men walked into a Sunday morning worship service on Feb. 12 — with guns on their waists and bags in hand — that his instincts and prayer kicked in.
"I immediately just had the hairs on the back of my neck, I’m like, 'OK, something’s about to happen,'" said Futrell. "Me being a former police officer, I immediately noticed their waistbands, I’m like, 'There’s something there.'"
The former St. Louis police officer's suspicions were confirmed by a church member's report that one of the men dropped a gun.
Keenly aware that tragedy was just one bad decision away, the pastor made sure to keep his flock from panicking and the suspected gunmen from realizing the police were on their way.
The pastor can be seen making his way down the center aisle of the church in an archived livestream of the incident (around 55:00 in the video), and boldly addressing the masked men: "What's your name? ... In the purple, tell me your name. I can’t hear you."
After prompting each of the young men to account for himself, Futrell asks them, "Who sent you out here? ... Y'all just saw the church and decided to come? Talk to me."
Futrell told Fox News' Laura Ingraham, "We found out later they were wanted in connection with two robberies from convenience stores. ... We believe that they were intending to rob us, do some harm, but we believe that God is the greatest power and we cannot be defeated, so I had those instincts."
Futrell later noted that his camera crew worked to capture close-ups of the suspects, "because I knew we needed some face recognition," and that he had quietly asked the director to "lock the doors and keep the children safe."
The pastor can be seen in the footage engaging not only his congregants but what appear to be staffers near the suspected gunmen, standing at the ready.
"Let's praise God for them coming. I said praise God that God sent them in here," said the pastor. "That what a devil meant for evil ... you messin' with 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."
Further defusing the charged situation, Futrell says, "God's about to change the plot of the enemy."
The pastor can be seen turning to the young men's prospective victims and telling them, "Lift your voice and shout out to God!"
Futrell asks the young men to let him pray for them.
Churchgoers can subsequently be seen encircling the alleged would-be robbers, laying hands on their bowed backs, and praying "for the unction of the Holy Ghost."
"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. That when you walked on the ground, you walked on Holy Ghost turf,” he said. "You stepped foot on All Creation parking lot. You encountered the move of the Holy Ghost, and I just believe that you all will never be the same again."
KSDK reported that the young men left without incident after receiving the blessings.
"I believe they felt the power of God lifted in their hands, then they left," said Futrell.
Sunday Morning Worship - Sunday Feb. 12, 2023youtu.be
The Ferguson Police Department indicated that law enforcement is still searching for the men, who left the scene in a black Dodge Charger with tinted windows.
Pastor Futrell later noted, "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."
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