“Prayer moves the hand that moves the world,” famed 19th Century London preacher Charles Spurgeon once said. In the Second World War, the founder of a little Bible college in Wales proved just how true that really is.Former coal miner Rees Howells founded the Bible College of Wales in the city of Swansea in 1924 and led it until his death in 1950. So noteworthy was his life and history-changing his exploits, that Norman Grubb immortalized them in his 1956 book Rees Howells: Intercessor. It seems when Hitler emerged he not only fought Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt, he was also contending with Howells.In 1934, Howells launched the Every Creature Commission, inspired by Jesus’ commands in Mark 16:15 to take the gospel to every creature. The premise was to inspire 10,000 missionaries over the next 30 years. However, in 1936, Germany sent soldiers into the Rhineland and broke the Locarno Treaty, putting Howells' vision in peril.“It meant nothing less than a European war and the consequent hindrance to the spread of the gospel. Only those who were in the College can realize the burden the Holy Spirit put on us. "'Prevail against Hitler, He said to me,' and it meant three weeks of prayer and fasting,” Howells said.The College held multiple prayer meetings daily, but eight days in, Howells told them their efforts had to reach a whole new level.“God is calling for intercessors — men and women who will lay their lives on the altar to fight the devil, as really as they would have to fight the enemy on the western front." He expressed assurance that if they prevailed, war would not erupt.Europe did not break out in war then, nor did it occur when Hitler swooped on Austria. A later dispute over Czechoslovakia led to the 1938 Munich conference between British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and Adolph Hitler. As Grubb explained, “Britain was still totally unprepared. War seemed inescapable and the leaders of the nation called for a day of prayer. God made the challenge very real to the College and for days the conflict was bitter. It was essentially a clash of spiritual forces — a test of strength between the devil in Hitler and the Holy Ghost in His army of intercessors.”An interesting, recurring aspect Grubb found in the prayer journals kept by the college is how participants felt a divine sense of urgency on some matters, later followed by a sense of breakthrough. Only later would earthly news reach them about any of it.“At the height of the battle the one prayer that the Holy Ghost gave to the College through His servant was, ‘Lord, bend Hitler.’ A point came when that cry of travail changed into a shout of victory. The devil had to give way,” Grubb wrote.So confident was Howells that he took out an advertisement on September 17 in the South Wales Evening Post advertising the college’s meetings “will take the form of Praise and Thanksgiving because God has again averted a European War.” This, even though the Munich Pact was not signed until September 30.Although Chamberlain’s proclamation of "peace for our time” aged poorly, it was at least peace for a time. British Ambassador to Germany, Sir Neville Henderson, wrote later how a good part of Hitler seemed to realize the peace pact was against his better judgment.“Hitler felt irritated with himself. A section of his followers were always egging him on to fight England while she was militarily unprepared. They reproached him for having accepted the Munich settlement and thus having missed the most favorable opportunity." "An uneasy feeling lest they might have been right contributed to Hitler's ill-humor…. His Voice told him that… there could be no more propitious moment for a [war] than that October,” wrote Henderson.“He had acted on several occasions in direct defiance of the advice of his stoutest followers and of his army, yet the event had always proved him to be right. Until Munich. There, for the first time, he had been compelled to listen to contrary opinion and his own faith in his Voice and his people's confidence in his judgment were for the first time shaken.”Henderson recalled Hitler spoke “somewhat bitterly” to Chamberlain when he said, “You are the only man to whom I have ever made a concession.” It seemed the prayer, “God, bend Hitler” had been fulfilled.After the Second World War finally did break out, the college embraced the call to pray like literal, posted soldiers. It is a fascinating read to watch the impressions they received, the prayers they offered and the way the war transpired. Hitler’s failed campaigns in Dunkirk, Egypt, Moscow and Stalingrad were all preceded by the prevailing prayers of a little Welsh college. But, such accounts must wait for another column.