This Wednesday the 11th November is the 400th anniversary of an incredibly significant event in American history: the arrival of the Pilgrims to New England, and the signing of the Mayflower Compact.
Four centuries ago, 102 passengers aboard the Mayflower docked in the safe harbours of Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. Tradesmen and adventurers were among them, but the ship had set sail for a group of Puritans who had fled religious persecution in Europe to search out a new world where they could practice their faith without fear or opposition.
The Mayflower’s intended destination had been the Colony of Virginia, though stormy seas and short supplies had forced the group to seek shelter early some 730 kilometres up America’s east coast.
Informed by their Christian belief in both human depravity and moral accountability, those aboard understood that disembarking to establish a new colony without any form of government would soon lead to anarchy. So they drafted the Mayflower Compact and had all the men on board sign the document.
The Mayflower Compact became the first governing document of Plymouth Colony, but it was also far more than this. In the words of U.S. President Calvin Coolidge,
The compact which they signed was an event of the greatest importance. It was the foundation of liberty based on law and order, and that tradition has been steadily upheld. They drew up a form of government which has been designated as the first real constitution of modern times. It was democratic, an acknowledgment of liberty under law and order and the giving to each person the right to participate in the government, while they promised to be obedient to the laws.
What we in the modern era so often miss is that these democratic ideals didn’t appear from a vacuum. Rather, they were built upon the Christian faith of our forebears. “In the name of God, Amen,” is how the Mayflower Compact begins. Then it goes on:
Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country… Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation…
America has faced many challenges since that time, including Revolution and a Civil War — but it has emerged as the world’s superpower. And despite the secularism of modern times, America remains a land of great faith. Its preaching and worship is heard around the world, and it has sent more missionaries than any other nation in history.
But like many Western nations today, America is rapidly changing. A surging secular elite appears poised to snuff out religious freedom if enough opportunity is afforded them. And the church is weakened, suffering an identity crisis as they have shrunk from the “moral majority” to what many now see as the immoral minority. As many have observed, Christian faith has become a cultural identity to Americans rather than a living, vibrant relationship with Jesus.
For all of these reasons — and especially in light of the quadricentenary of the Mayflower Compact and the Pilgrims’ declaration that America belongs to God — people from all over the world are joining with Americans to rededicate the nation to God, and to pray for a powerful move of the Holy Spirit.
Called 11-11Jesus, this event promises to activate 20 million Americans to line main streets, encircle the perimeter of the United States, and stand on mountain tops and high places to worship God in unity. At 11am local time, wherever people have gathered, they are encouraged to proclaim with one voice that America is one nation under God, and that Jesus is Lord.
Remarkably, though this event was planned long ago, it has coincided perfectly with the chaos surrounding the 2020 U.S. election result. While several battleground states swung late to Joe Biden, there are significant claims of potential voter fraud which the Trump campaign and the Republicans are taking before the courts.
John Robb, the Chairman of the International Prayer Council, is also calling for prayer and fasting on the 11th of November, to uphold America at this critical time in its history. On Wednesday, he will be gathering with other intercessors and Christian leaders in Province Town — the site where the Mayflower Pilgrims disembarked.
Among the issues he encourages believers to bring before God on the 11th November are that any schemes to undermine the election would be brought to light; for courts to act justly; for any spiritual powers coming against America to be bound; for the Trump team to conduct themselves with God-given wisdom and restraint; and for America to return to its Judeo-Christian values and commitment to truth and justice.
While elections and leaders come and go, what matters most in America and other Western nations is that we return to God and rededicate ourselves to the way of Jesus.
Coincidentally, we have already set aside each Wednesday as a weekly day of prayer and fasting for Australia. So we encourage you to join with us, and with Americans and people of many other nations to mark this 400th anniversary of faith and freedom—and to pray for this nation that has had such a resounding spiritual impact on the world.
Join the conversation by writing your prayers below in the comments section.