Mathew Backholer,  Prayer,  Rees Howells,  Spiritual Warfare,  Worship

D-Day 80th Anniversary, 6 June 2024, Rees Howells and the Intercessors at the Bible College of Wales

Rees Howells, a powerful intercessor, led a fervent prayer movement at the Bible College of Wales in the years leading up to D-Day. Believing in the power of spiritual warfare, Howells and his students didn’t just pray for victory, they wrestled in prayer against the demonic forces hindering the Allied cause. Their specific focus on victory for D-Day is seen as a pivotal intercession that helped secure victory, ultimately impacting the entire European front leading to the end of World War II.

It was twenty-five years ago that I first came across a copy of Vision Hymns (1941) at the Bible College of Wales (BCW). This powerhouse of prayer and intercession was founded by Rees and Lizzie Howells a century ago and dedicated to God in June 1924.

During my time in Swansea, the ministry was under the Directorship of Samuel Rees Howells, son of the founders. I read Vision Hymns with interest and quickly realised that the majority of the songs, hymns and choruses were personal to BCW and unique as songs of praise and worship. I spoke to some of the elderly staff members who were in their early to mid-eighties. They had been in their twenties when they were students in the mid to late 1930s before war broke out with Germany in September 1939. Some had seen times of revival at the college when the Holy Spirit swept in to deal with the inner nature and motives of many. Then filling them to the full!

I discovered these songs of worship were acts of spiritual warfare and intercessory declarations, originally typed sheets of paper and eventually covering three bound editions. They were written, sometimes prophetically, during dark years when the Third Reich, Nazi Germany was extending its long and broad tentacles across Europe, North Africa, with its intentions beyond and their stated thousand-year reign. Rees Howells embraced worship as warfare and participated in it daily. The Holy Spirit taught him the power of prophetic declarations and prophetic praise.

Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms

– Ephesians 6:10-12.

The hymn ‘The Lord the Mighty God of Jacob’ mentions D-Day when the Allied troops began to liberate Europe on 6 June 1944. As it is the eightieth anniversary of D-Day and the only BCW hymn that mentions this historical event, it seems appropriate to include some of the stanzas. The last two lines in each stanza are the same and therefore the title could also be ‘The Strong and Mighty One in Battle.’ This hymn is dated to late 1945.

The third stanza mentions the Magna Carta and concerns the hope of the intercessors at BCW that all rights found in England’s 1215 Charter (Magna Carta of King John) of freedom would be given to all nations in the formation of the United Nations (UN). From 25 April to 26 June 1945 representatives of fifty countries attended the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco, California, America, where they drafted and signed the UN Charter. The UN officially began on 24 October 1945 after many countries had ratified its Charter. The UN voted for the nation of Israel in 1947, which saw biblical fulfilment in 1948 according to the God of Jacob.

The Lord the mighty God of Jacob,

The Lord of Hosts is His name,

  The strong and mighty One in battle,

For ever, evermore the same!

  Forth to the conflict of the ages,

He leads His armies in array,

  War on the powers of Hell He wages,

His clarion call we must obey!

  The Lord the mighty God of Jacob,

The Lord of Hosts is His name,

  The strong and mighty One in battle,

For evermore the same!

The Allied Powers of late did conquer,

The dreadful foe of God and man,

  The Continent they liberated,

And all went well according to plan.

  Their only aim was the destruction,

Of Nazi tyranny and sin;

  And Europe’s fullest liberation,

On D-Day the Lord said they would win!

  For He, the mighty God of Jacob,

Was with them, praise His holy name,

  The strong and mighty One in battle,

For evermore the same!

And what is then the glorious outcome,

Of this invasion truly great?

  In every country, every kingdom,

In every nation, every state,

  The Magna Carta has been ’stablished,

With rights and liberties unknown,

  Dictatorships have been abolished,

And crushed beneath the glorious STONE!  

  “All hail Thou mighty God of Jacob,

The Lord of Hosts is Thy name,

  The strong and mighty One in battle,

For evermore the same!”1

In July 1944 it became known to Rees Howells and the community of the Bible College of Wales that the Nazi regime had murdered four million European Jews. This increased to six million by 1945. This made Rees Howells and his team of students and staff even more determined to see the nation of Israel, re-established in the Holy Land, according to Bible prophecy.

Rees Howells speaking in July 1944 noted, (and I paraphrase), “Why would any Jews of Europe want to go back to Germany or be resettled in Europe? They want to be settled and safe in their own Land of Promise.”

Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, with their voices they shall sing together; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord brings back Zion. Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem! For the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God

– Isaiah 52:8-10

When the war was over, entire days were given over to intercession for the re-establishment of the nation of Israel, a Jewish State, especially from October to November 1947 when the United Nations (UN) were in discussions, and a vote was cast on 27th November in the UN headquarters in New York, USA. A nation was born in a day and the Jews, exiled for 1,900 years from their God-given land began to return in large numbers.2  

Find out more about the book here.

By Mathew Backholer. Find out about Mathew’s books here.

1. Used with permission from Rees Howells, Vision Hymns of Spiritual Warfare Intercessory Declarations by Mathew Backholer.

2. Used with permission from Rees Howells’ God Challenges the Dictators, Doom of Axis Powers Predicted by Mathew Backholer.