Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Remember When . . . The Nation Fasted and Prayed?

With my latest book finished and simmering and edits underway on Ring of Secrets for my looming deadline, I've been dividing my time between reading/revising and developing a new idea. And oh, how much fun that is!

This new one will be set around the early-early days of the Revolution, in 1776. But as I launched into my oh-so-fun research, I discovered something in Jefferson's account of the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration.

June 1, 1774. The Boston port was scheduled to be shut down by the British in retaliation for a certain episode of tea-dumping that you may have heard of. Politics between the colonies and England were fast deteriorating--so quickly that Lord North, the Prime Minister at the time, was happy to get sneaky. He came up with a "conciliatory plan" designed to divide us against ourselves. Said, basically, "Yo, any colony that sides with us rather than you neighbors won't be taxed any more. Eh? Eh??"

But not everyone was paying attention to the events in New England. Not everyone could be bothered. Not everyone was convinced that independence was feasible, desirable, or right for the time. Not everyone was even considering it as a question to be discussed. Which, as you might guess, irritated those leading the movement.

So Jefferson and company decided to get their attention. How? By calling for a nation-wide day of fasting and prayer on June 1, 1774. "No example of such a solemnity had existed since the days of our distresses in the war of '55, since which a new generation had grown up," Jefferson writes. He figures that this will "call up & alarm their attention."

Now, knowing that Jefferson was a deist rather than a man of faith, a "moral liberal" if you will, I know well this was a manipulative move. He probably didn't really fast and pray, he just knew that demanding everyone else do it would make them go, "What? Why? What's going on? Is something wrong?"

And it worked. That's what I really love about these days of prayer called for by our leaders. They are powerful, powerful things. I've heard amazing stories about the results of the one Churchill called for in England during WWII. And of others in American history. Because as we well know, when that many people take to their knees and pound the gates of heaven with their prayers, we're in effect taking authority over the powers in our world. 

I had no idea until I read Jefferson's account that such a day happened back in 1774, a year before the first shots at Lexington and Concord, two years before the signing of the Declaration. But that really does mark the time when people all through the colonies began to realize that something loomed on the horizon. 

Naturally, I had to toss in a prologue to  my new book . . . and naturally, it's on June 1, 1774. ;-) This historic day of fasting and prayer only gets a passing mention, but I thought it a perfect day to begin my story. A day when no one would wonder why my heroine went off into the woods by herself to pray. When no one would think it odd that she wanted to be alone. When no one would suspect her many secrets . . . ;-)

10 comments:

  1. I never knew this either. It really is amazing to read accounts like this and then see what God has done.
    This also makes me even more excited for your new books! I think that they are going to have to be added to my list of books to read...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mwa ha ha ha. ;-) My diabolical plan all along, of course--intrigue you and make you want to read that book I haven't even written yet! LOL

      Delete
    2. You have done that with all of your books!! I love history and I want to read each and every one of your books...and the ones that are coming. This is rare for me. For most authors, I will enjoy their books and look forward to reading them but not usually to the point of searching every library for them!! Unfortunately, I have not read any of your books...yet. I will perservere in the search!

      Delete
    3. Have you tried requesting them through Inter-Library Loan? Apparently the LFY titles are some of the most sought after in the ILL, and my local library said they get a TON of requests through it for them. It's a definite option, if your local system doesn't have it! I get most of my research books through ILL.

      Delete
  2. I never new either - so very interesting (and I LOVE how you worked it in your prologue. You're SO smart (and a little bit sneaky!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's me, sneaky as all get-out when it comes to including fun facts in my books. ;-)

      Delete
  3. We as a people of faith (mennonite, and rather on the conservative side, but not most) do not actually go to the voting poles. We prefer to unite in prayer that the person of God's choice will become the leader. Controversial? Yes. But as we can see through history, effective. i have always looked forward to reading your novels, Roseanna, and this one is high up on my list. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's really awesome, Marianne! By voting you cast a single voice--by praying you can effect the voices of millions. A wise choice indeed.

      And thanks! My working title for this one right this moment (subject to change, LOL), is By Her Quill, and if the publisher makes an offer for it, it'll be a 2013 title. I'll keep you updated on the blog. =)

      Delete
    2. Uhm, you could vote AND pray...

      Delete
  4. Excellent post and teaser for your next story, Roseanna. I love your enthusiasm for history and for story. You write compelling fiction, every time.

    Blessings, Mark

    ReplyDelete