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As we approach the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving, it's good to remember what happened in November 2020 in a profound—and perhaps prophetic—way during the 400th anniversary of the signing of the Mayflower Compact. I told this significant story in my newest book, God and Cancel Culture.

In some ways what happened then was more significant than the more famous first Thanksgiving, which happened after the first harvest, because it gave us the basis for our form of government. The Mayflower Compact, signed before the Pilgrims came ashore, was based on the consent of the governed and on their profound faith in God.

When the governor of Massachusetts shut down all the festivities planned to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the landing in 1620 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two bold women decided the event could not go unnoticed.

Michele Bachmann, former Minnesota congresswoman and co-chair of the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast, and Jody Wood, a descendant of the Pilgrims and director of New York City Intercessors, decided they could not let this significant anniversary go unrecognized. In three short weeks the two women organized a private three-day event, including a global broadcast, from the first place where the Pilgrims met, prayed and voted.

As we reported on charismanews.com at the time, the two women invited charismatic leaders to participate, including Kevin Jessip, president of Global Strategic Alliance and co-chair of The Return, a global prayer and repentance movement, and Jon Hamill, co-founder of Lamplighter Ministries, both Pilgrim descendants.

I have a personal interest in the Pilgrims because my family has a historical connection to that era. I am a direct descendant of both William Brewster, who helped found Plymouth Colony and served as its senior elder and spiritual leader, and the French Huguenots, who came to the New World in 1688 after some of the worst religious persecution in European history. As persecution rears its head in our day, I feel strengthened to stand because of the example of my brave ancestors.

Few Americans will recall that the Mayflower Compact was the first document to establish self-government in the new world and represents an early, successful attempt at democracy. It shaped the colonists' view of themselves and paved the way for future colonists to seek permanent independence from British rule. The inclusion of all the passengers as signers also expressed a principle that would anchor the U.S. Constitution: All men are created equal.

Hamill, a descendant of Richard Warren, one of the signers of the original Mayflower Compact, said it this way: "The move of the Holy Spirit was with them. In fact, when they wrote the Mayflower Compact ... they said, 'in the presence of God, and one of another.' They honored the presence of God, knowing that God had sent them apostolically across the waters to found a nation in freedom, to found a nation in covenant with Christ."

It's obvious how low we have fallen culturally, morally and politically in 400 years, even as technology and knowledge advance at astounding rates. Yet Mike Bickle, whom I also interviewed, still sees what is unfolding today as part of God's plan as foretold in Psalm 2, a message he first preached 40 years ago, long before the growing persecution we now see in our nation.

As darkness deepens, Bickle believes, a beautifully prepared bride will come forth, a great harvest of souls will come in and the miraculous power of God will break out around the globe. As Thanksgiving approaches, we can thank God for this Christian heritage that formed the basis of our country and know that no matter how bad things may look, prayer has a powerful impact.

"God's not going to let our country go down," MyPillow's Mike Lindell told me for the book. "We are one nation under God. The most important thing that everybody can do is pray."

Listen to Charisma founder and CEO Stephen Strang read this column on his Strang Report podcast at this link.


Stephen Strang is the founding editor of Charisma. His latest book, God and Cancel Culture, released Sept. 7. Purchase signed copies for yourself and others at stevestrangbooks.com

This article was excerpted from the August issue of Charisma magazine. If you don't subscribe to Charisma, click here to get every issue delivered to your mailbox. During this time of change, your subscription is a vote of confidence for the kind of Spirit-filled content we offer. In the same way you would support a ministry with a donation, subscribing is your way to support Charisma. Also, we encourage you to give gift subscriptions at shop.charismamag.com, and share our articles on social media.

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