Dr. Julius Zant, a Maryland pastor, has shared how he deflected a robbery attempt by invoking the name of Jesus - an incident he said proves "the power of God is real."
While conducting a Bible study at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, an armed man entered the church, gestured as if he had a gun, and demanded everyone's wallets and phones.
"He has this black holster and it looked like it had a gun in it and he's demanding this and one of the ladies actually took out her phone and out it on the table," Zant told ABC 47.
"I stood up and said, 'No, we're not having this. We're not doing this.' And I walked up to him and said, 'Leave in Jesus' name," the pastor continued. "When I told him we were worshipping God, he changed. His demeanor changed, and it was as if an awareness came to him that perhaps this wasn't the right thing for him to do."
Zant said the robber tried to attack him again, pointing the weapon at his neck, but kept insisting he didn't want to shoot. The pastor, a retired medical doctor, told the man he didn't have to do anything and that the armed man eventually left without incident.
"In this situation it was a matter more-or-less of just standing in the gap. People were being threatened. And it was just a response to the situation," he said.
Pastor Zant says there's an important take-away from the scary situation.
"The power of God is real. You know, the Lord is my Shepherd. He prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemy. It is real. The power of God is real. The protection of God is real."
The Thursday Bible study at St. Andrews Episcopal Church will meet as usual this week, and the church is speaking with local law enforcement on how they can improve their security, according to ABC.
Since 2012, more than 13 fatal shootings have happened at houses of worship, The Associated Press reports. In the last five years alone, gunmen have taken lives at churches such as New Life, First Baptist and Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C..
The Sutherland Springs shooting in Texas earlier this year has prompted churches across the country to look into increasing security measures. 26 people -- including children -- were killed in the Nov. 5 attack, the state's deadliest mass shooting in modern history. The massacre came to an end after Stephen Willeford, a nearby neighbor and church volunteer, grabbed his own AR-15 and helped chase down gunman Devin Kelley.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that the Sutherland Springs massacre shows why more people should carry guns in churches.
"This is going to happen again," Paxton told Fox News, since "you can't necessarily keep guns out of the hands of people who are going to violate the law."
"All I can say is in Texas, at least we have the opportunity to have conceal carry," Paxton said. "There's always the opportunity that the gunman will be taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very many people."