(A vital intercessory campaign that made the Queen’s reign possible.)
One way and another, the nation has spent much time this year reflecting on the Queen’s long and noble reign. None of this would have come about, however, had not Edward VIII abdicated his throne in order to marry Wallis Simpson. Important documents that have recently been declassified reveal his sympathy for Adolph Hitler as well as the Fascist cause in Britain, along with a deeply antisemitic stance, as this biographical article demonstrates well.
Such a king could never have played the vital role that George VI did, both in calling the nation to prayer, and in his strategic partnership with Winston Churchill in the desperate struggle against Hitler. And, then, of course, it was his daughter, the young Princess Elizabeth, who came to the throne and devoted herself to serving under God.
We have written before about some of the ways in which Rees Howells and the Bible College of Wales were led to pray during the Second World War, and how the Lord answered their heartfelt and radical prayers. Relatively few today are aware of the heavy burden the King of kings laid on them to pray for King Edward to abdicate.
One of the things we are most keen to emphasise here is that God has certain very bold prayers that He wants us to pray. Not only does He have specific purposes and preferences, but He invites us to join Him in His sovereign work by prayer and intercession, taking hold of His authority and praying them into being. This is when we find ourselves caught up in the heavenly work of intercession that has been the primary ministry of the Lord Jesus Himself since the Resurrection, as well as during His time on Earth. (Rom 7:25; Rom. 8:34. See also Ezekiel 36, where the Lord demonstrates His willingness to make the pleas of His people a vital factor in bringing about the final outcome. (Ezek. 36:37))
This excerpt is taken from Norman Grubb’s book, Rees Howells – Intercessor starting from page 231 and the section THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER AND KING EDWARD VIII.
Some years later, in 1936, there came the serious national crisis over King Edward VIII and his proposed marriage to Mrs. Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee. In this again the Lord led the College to take a stand in prayer. The diaries of the daily meetings give the following account:
December 4. “The news about the king has come to light in the morning papers, and the Director tells us how serious conditions are. We came back in the evening and pleaded with the Lord to guide the king, and give wisdom and discernment to all those concerned in this crisis.”
December 5. “Day of prayer in College. Situation in England very grave, because it concerns not only our land but the British Empire.”
December 6. “Day of prayer and fasting in the College. We pray for the Empire in its present crisis. The Lord reveals that it is His will for Edward to abdicate. Mr. Howells was as strong as a lion in the fight and declared, ‘Edward to reign, or the Lord has not spoken by me.’ There is a wonderful victory as we believe in the evening.”
December 7. “There is thanksgiving over the victory of yesterday. The papers reveal that while at the end of last week the king was challenging the position, now he is anxious to do only what will be best for the Empire.”
December 9. “Believing for the Lord to help King Edward to make decision according to God’s will, and that his soul may be blessed.”
December 10. “Came back at 2:30 p.m. to ask the Lord to control the country, now that the news of the abdication of King Edward VIII is known.”
December 11. “We are thankful for this believing of the Holy Spirit. The Lord has saved the Empire and raised the standard of life in our beloved land.”