Prominent conservative evangelical leader Pat Robertson has asked his followers to join in on prayer to cast a “shield of protection” as Hurricane Florence approaches the United States.
In a video shared online by Right Wing Watch, the televangelist cited a passage from the bible in which Jesus commanded the wind and water on the Sea of Galilee to “be still.”
While delivering remarks in Virginia, which is home to his Christian Broadcasting Network and where thousands are bracing for Florence’s arrival, Robertson asked if his followers could invoke the same words from the passage to accomplish a similar result “if we are together with one accord.”
Robertson then asked his congregation to “put a hand out toward the Atlantic” and to repeat after him.
“In the name of Jesus, you Hurricane Florence, we speak to you in the name of Jesus, and we command the storm to cease its forward motion and go harmlessly into the Atlantic,” Robertson said.
“Go up north away from land and veer off in the name of Jesus. We declare in the name of the lord that you shall go no farther, you shall do no damage in this area,” the evangelical leader continued.
He went on to declare a “shield of protection” over parts where “innocent people” are bracing for the hurricane, which is already reportedly packing winds of up to 140 mph, according to CNN.
“In Jesus’ holy name, be out to sea!” Robertson continued.
He also said that the “shield” has worked in the against previous hurricanes.
“It’s almost hilarious to see them try,” he said. “They try to get in and they can’t, and then they go north and they turn around, try to come back in. They can’t do it.”
A state of emergency has been declared in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia ahead of Florence’s arrival.
President Trump has signed off on emergency declarations in South Carolina and North Carolina to free up federal funds for the areas.
More than 1 million people on the East coast have been ordered to evacuate as the hurricane is expected to make landfall later this week.