You can gain great insight for prayer by doing research about the history of a place, both positive and negative.
My own leadings to do research on “spiritual history” began in 1986. What George Otis saw and described in his book Informed Intercession is that the spirit of a place is deeply influenced by its history. Land is defiled by what has happened on that land, or so the Bible tells us. People have habitual ways of thinking and living that attract either the Spirit of God or demonic spirits, which then have an ongoing influence over that piece of property. You can gain great insight for prayer by doing research about the history of a place, both positive and negative.
Often negative research yields the greatest insights, because people usually remember the positive things about their history without any need for research. But people repress or try to hide the negative things. Negative patterns (sin) become pockets of hidden satanic influence, particularly in unexamined beliefs, which may be demonic strongholds (Lev. 18:24-25, 2 Chron. 7:14, Hos. 4:1-3, 2 Cor. 10:4-5). So powerful are these strongholds, sometimes, that they can seem normal, as though everyone ought to believe this. A good example of this was “Manifest Destiny,” which was the belief that white people are destined to simply replace the first Nations on this continent. This led to the widespread acceptance of policies of extermination and genocide, that even Christian people accepted for a season.
Why is this belief a stronghold? Because it conflicts with the pattern of sound teaching, “faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6). God does not condone genocide.
As we spiritually mapped this area on the north side of the James River, we became aware of many patterns of thinking and behavior that grew into our nation like viruses, unchecked and unrepented. These are all examples of strongholds.
Here are some patterns that began here, which spread out from here across the country:
- Pocahontas, favorite daughter of Chief Powhatan, was kidnapped in 1614 by Thomas Dale and carried away from her family permanently.This broke the heart of her father. This type of behavior was later practiced all across our nation when the U.S. Government conspired with Christian churches to force Native children to attend Indian Boarding schools in the 1920’s and ‘30’s. This was a form of kidnapping and cultural genocide, all done under the guise of “Christianity.”
- Lord De la Warre, governor of Jamestown, wiped out the Paspahegh village, men, women and children, in the first recorded massacre in U.S. history.What had the Paspaheghs done to deserve this? They had the misfortune to be the tribe that hosted Jamestown, which was on Paspahegh land. Trace this pattern, which happened at Sandys Point on the north side of the James, to the famous Sand Creek massacre against the Cheyennes in 1864—and countless other similar events throughout our tragic history with Native peoples.
- In 1614, King James formed the first treaty with Native people, right here near The Clearing.It became the first of over 200 broken treaties, trashed when English people wanted land that Native people occupied. (This was also why Pocahontas was kidnapped, to apply pressure on Powhatan to give up land—his boyhood home South of Chimborazo Park in Richmond. A handful of English men used Pocahontas as leverage against the most powerful chief in Virginia.)
- The English wanted the land for tobacco plantations.
For a hundred years, Virginia was entirely a tobacco state. It was for this purpose that Natives were driven off their lands, especially riverfront land. Also, the very first off-loading of African slaves happened near here at Sandy’s Point, where the Paspahegh village had been located, from the very same ship that had taken Pocahontas to England.
Most people are unaware of these early tragedies. But their importance is that they established spiritual precedents. Once those precedents got established, they became habits of thought and behavior—justifiable in the culture of the day, and for the foreseeable future in America.
By biblical standards, these were strongholds of thought that powerfully molded the behaviors of future Americans. Have we repented from these behaviors? How can we cross the threshold of repentance, so that we are living by the opposite spirit?