The next battle of intercession was over the air-raids, and the crisis of the “Battle of Britain”, when Goering made his great attempt to gain mastery of the air in preparation for the invasion of England. In each of these vital matters, nothing was left to chance or a shot-in-the-dark type of praying. Everything was examined in God’s presence and motives were sifted, until the Holy Spirit could show His servant intelligently that there was an undeniable claim for prayer to be answered. Then faith would stand to the claim and lay hold of the victory; and there would be no rest until he had God’s own assurance that faith had prevailed and victory was certain. It was not just praying and then hoping for the answer. We quote from notes taken in the meetings at that time:

On September 2, 1940, Mr. Howells said: “I want to see if we have a claim to be free from care when these planes are around. We ran to stand in the breach to save the Jewish children from Hitler, when he was throwing them out. Can we now claim protection for all the missionaries’ children? Unless my faith is equal to the occasion for protection, I should bring every one of the children up to the shelter tonight, and I would be there with them. Must we have fear because others have fear? If I trusted God to bring these properties into being, I am going to trust God to protect them. I want you to get a foundation for this trust. “We need a real foundation for our faith, in case the raids will last for months. Can we trust Him in the impossible in this, the same as in finance?

“The only thing I am afraid of is that I should miss God’s will; many people are afraid of consequences. I must be clear on this point, for God says, ‘If it is the consequences you are afraid of, don’t come to Me for protection.’ There is a great difference between a selfish fear of consequences, and wanting God’s protection because you have a work to carry out for Him. Have we really got victory?”

Mr. Howells’ mention of the shelter to which he said he could take the children, referred to his obligation to provide a shelter for the day scholars, then numbering about 300. But for the scholars and the missionaries’ children, numbering about sixty, who were part of the College family, the Lord had told him to provide neither shelters nor gas masks (although any individual was perfectly free to have one if he should wish). God fully vindicated his stand throughout the war, by not allowing a bomb to fall on any College property, although the town with its strategic docks had some very heavy raids. But to continue from the journals:

September 3 (After a heavy raid in the night). “I am sure the Lord took me up town to see about 2,000,000 Pounds worth of property on the ground. I thought, ‘Was it worth taking Penllergaer, if this is what happens.? Is it worth carrying a burden anti agonizing for the sake of the Kingdom?’ I saw what these properties will be like, unless God protects them. I found myself praying for the town, as much as I had prayed for the College the night before.”

September 4. “The situation in the country because of air raids may become very serious. We have never walked this way before. The important thing is to find out where God is in this. When you are in danger every night, it takes you a long time to be sure that you are under God’s protection. Can you say you are safe in the air raids? Has God told you? You may try to use the Word of God without having His power behind it. If God is going to deliver from this hell, there will have to be some power released. Unless you are sure of your own victory, you will never be able to pray for the deliverance of the country. We have bound the devil over and over again, and I hope we shall do it again when God’s time comes in this war.”

September 7. “How many people have been moved, by the affliction of these air raids? If you can believe that you have been delivered from hell, why can’t you believe that you have been delivered from air raids? I have always found something that has given me joy all day long and my joy today is that we have God’s protection. But unless we are really trusting Him, where does the praise come in? This peace the Saviour ‘gives is not an artificial one. It is so deep that even the devil can’t disturb it. You can’t hear things in the Spirit, while you have any turmoil or fear in you. You can’t take a shade of fear into the presence of God.”

September 8. National Day of Prayer. 9 a.m. “Our country has only the outward form of religion, neither cold nor hot, like the church at Laodicea. May God bring the nation back. Our one cause for praise is that the enemy has not been able to invade our country.”

At the midday service, just as Mr. Howells began to speak, the Nazi planes passed overhead; the guns in the field below crashed out and the siren sounded; but he went on with his message, and “the congregation was held spellbound.” It was at this point that the burden of prayer for protection and the questionings of the past few “days changed into praise and certainty. Full assurance of victory was given, and it rings out in Mr. Howells’ words: “What victory! Those who are in the Spirit see it is victory, because He has found believing in us. What joy! What praise! God would probably not give faith for victory in the war, until personal victory was first gained.” The all-clear sounded as the service finished. They sang in closing: “Death is vanquished, tell it with joy, ye faithful.”

In the afternoon meeting of the same day, he said: “I could now put it in print that no devil can touch anyone here. There is no need to pray any more. When you believe, you finish with prayer. We have never been in such victory before, carrying on exactly as if there was no war. How could we get victory for the world, unless we had first believed it for ourselves? You can’t trust in anything except believing prayer. How the Holy Ghost came down this morning in the communion service and told us of His victory!”

September 9. “The Holy Ghost has found faith equal to what He wants to do. Take care you are believing. Believing is the most delicate thing you can think of. It is like a vapor. You might easily miss it. The victory happened yesterday’ morning, and if you didn’t see it, you may never see it. From this time on He can guide this battle, but He couldn’t do it before without faith.”

September 10. “What if millions of prayers went up on the Day of Prayer, and no one had believed? After the victory of Sunday there is great liberty to pray that God will really deal with the devil in the Nazis and put an end to this wicked system. Our prayer for London is that God will turn the tide now and save life. No doubt the enemy is pouring scorn on last Sunday’s National Day of prayer.”

September 11, with the Battle of Britain over London and the south of England at its fiercest: “There have been so many places bombed in London, even Buckingham Palace has been touched. I was burdened to pray for the King and Queen, and I believe our prayer will be answered. I am just watching how God will take hold of the enemy.”

September 12. ‘We prayed last night that London would be defended and that the enemy would fail to break through, and God answered prayer. Unless God can get hold of this devil and bind him, no man is safe. If we have protection for our properties, why not get protection for the country? What wonderful days these are.”

September 14. “Because we have believed, God has made known to us what is to come to pass. Every creature is to hear the Gospel; Palestine is to be regained by the Jews; and the Saviour is to return.”

Mr. Churchill, in his War Memoirs, gives September 15 as “the culminating date” in that Battle of the Air. He tells how he visited the Operations Room of the R.A.F. that day and watched as the enemy squadrons poured over and ours went up to meet them, until the moment came when he asked the Air Marshal, “What other reserves have we?” “There are none,” he answered, and reported afterwards how grave Mr. Churchill looked, “and well I might,” added Mr. Churchill. Then another five minutes passed, and “it appeared that the enemy were going home. The shifting of the discs on the table showed a continuous eastward movement of German bombers and fighters. No new attack appeared. In another ten minutes the action was ended.” There seemed no reason why the Luftwaffe should have turned for home, just at the moment when victory was in their grasp. But we know why.

After the war, Air Chief Marshal Lord, Dowding, Commander-in-Chief of Fighter Command in the Battle of Britain, made this significant comment: “Even during the battle one realized from day to day how much external support was coming in. At the end of the battle one had the sort of feeling that there had been some special Divine intervention to alter some sequence of events which would otherwise have occurred.”

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