EUCLID, Ohio (Christian Examiner) -- Held at gunpoint, a young Christian man escaped robbery earlier this month when he prayed aloud for his assailant.
Shaquille Hairston a 21-year-old Christian believer was on his way home from his job at a downtown Cleveland Hotel around 3 a.m. on June 3 when a robber followed him off the bus and pulled a gun on him, demanding his belongings.
Hairston, whose Facebook profile lists him as a pre-med student at Bowling Green State University, told Fox 8 News when he hesitated that the man used the pistol to strike his head and threatened to shoot him.
"I told him...I really don't have anything and he took the gun, he swung and he hit me in my head really hard," Hairston said.
In fear, Hairston handed over his wallet and phone and began to pray as if to ready himself for what could be the last moments of his life.
"If that was gonna be my last night living, I wanted to go out knowing that God was with me and I had God on my mind and if I did go, I would be with him when I wake up on the other side," said Hairston who Fox 8 reports regularly attends New Direction Church of God in Christ in Cleveland.
His cry to God that morning changed the tragic ending of a crime committed in desperation.
It was also a wake up call for Hairston -- and hopefully for the first-time robber who claimed to be unemployed and told the student he had never mugged anyone before.
"This happened for a reason, he needed it and I needed it," Hairston told Cleveland.com.
"My concern has been on him, and that God will touch his heart and tender his heart so he won't even feel that he have to do that," Hairston said.
He recalled the moment when the situation turned and he prayed for the man and his family. He nvited him to church and offered to help him find a job.
"Then he was like, 'Man, just keep your stuff. I'm so sorry for this. You were the wrong type of person to do this to."
After his story aired on local news stations, Hairston posted on his Facebook page "to God be the glory," when his friends praised his courage and applauded the power of prayer.
Focused on God's ultimate glory that comes through redeeming the spiritually lost, the young man said his focus now rests on forgiving his attacker and praying for his peace and salvation.
"I would tell him I forgive him," Hairston said. "I would ask him 'Do you know God? Do you believe in God?' and whatever his answer is I would tell him that night God was with me and he was with you as well."
Hairston filed a police report and turned in evidence the burglar left behind.