Faith Stimulus: The Best-Kept Secret that Transported the Pilgrims to Freedom

By Babs Kincaid


“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36


Suppose you were told the only way out of your extremely adverse trial was to take an adventurous cruise to an unknown land. Would you hop on that daring ship? Suppose you were told that unlike other cruise ships there was no gourmet restaurant, no butler or concierge service, no free drinks, no élite lounges, no fitness classes, no movies, no Broadway shows and no goodie bags. Would you sign on the dotted line to set sail? Sign on the dotted line is exactly what the Pilgrims did. Reality has it that “one hundred and two Pilgrims crammed into a space about equal to that of a volleyball court. Compound that misery by the lack of light and fresh air (all hatches had to be battened down because of stormy weather). Add to it a diet of dried pork, dried peas, and dried fish, and the stench of an ever-fouler bilge, and multiply it all by sixty-six days at sea…” (From the Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel) It doesn’t sound like a luxury liner I would want to sign up for!


What would have motivated the Pilgrims to take on such a horrific challenge? I’m afraid the only way I would have gone would have been kicking and screaming! Jesus said it best to his disciples: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny himself and take up the cross and follow me.” Luke 9:23 Truly the Pilgrims were signing up to follow Christ to the ends of the earth despite the hardships and suffering that they would face.



The best-kept secret that propelled the Pilgrims to be risk takers was their love for God revealed by their relentless Prayer! Relentless and zealous Prayer was their secret weapon against evil and for living an abundant life! When their European departure date arrived their pastor John Robinson “declared a day of fasting and Prayer to prepare them spiritually for the arduous voyage to come. At the end of the day, they had a farewell dinner and sang their favorite psalms” (The Light and the Glory) The Pilgrims life was a reflection of Christ’s love: “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5 Did you catch that their time spent in Prayer was a whole day? Convicting, isn’t it? Isn’t that what Jesus did often?


“All great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.” William Bradford

As the ship was leaving the shore, William Bradford who had been assigned to be acting pastor “may have had a pang of regret. But if he did, it was only temporary, for “they knew they were Pilgrims, …but lifted up their eyes to the heavens, their dearest country and quieted their spirits.” (The Light and the Glory) No doubt this scripture gave the Pilgrims comfort: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 Here is the key to their remarkable walk in Christ “they continued to seek God together, Praying through despair and into peace and thanksgiving.” (The Light and the Glory) I have to ask myself “do I pray through despair and into peace and thanksgiving or stop short of it?”


What you didn’t learn in school about this courageous Pilgrim voyage was “the weary Pilgrims were forced to endure…harassment from the sailors… their self-appointed leader would gloat at their seasickness and delight in telling them he looked forward to …feeding them to the fish. But at the peak of his tormenting, …this same crewman took gravely ill of an unknown fever and died. Thereafter there was no more mocking from the crew.” (The Light and the Glory) It is amazing in the great chess game of life, God protects his own. Check it out from God’s word: “Do not take revenge, my dear friends but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 So nothing like resident bullies to make a trip more memorable right? You know the Pilgrims were engaged in major Prayer over this abuse! Score 100 for God! Now, who is fish bait???

So when the weary Pilgrims finally landed on the shores of Cape Cod, what was their first activity? “They had begun their long journey by kneeling on the dock…to ask God’s blessing; they ended it on the sands of Cape Cod, kneeling to thank Him for that blessing….The Pilgrims never complained about their conditions and thanked God for the merest of blessings.” (The Light and the Glory) Remarkable how closely they followed God's word: "Do everything without grumbling or arguing." Philippians 2:14

The Pilgrims were not just hearers of God’s word, they were cheerful doers of it. Picture this verse: “Devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2 The Pilgrims lived their lives in communion with God. Prayer was not an activity for them, it was their lifeline to God! They stayed intimately connected to God by living this verse: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 So I ask myself, am I devoted to Prayer, being watchful and thankful? Am I joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in Prayer? Wow, that is convicting! When I look at the freedom the Pilgrims achieved and their closeness with God, I am motivated to intimately pursue God more passionately in Prayer. The Pilgrims have left us quite a legacy of Prayer and faith in Christ! They had a vibrant relationship with God and it showed in their fearless lives!!!


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