Charisma News Service, Dec. 18 -- Nationwide prayer has been urged to protect President-elect George W. Bush from the so-called former "Zero-Year Curse" on the White House. Intercession leaders are calling for "reaffirming warfare prayer" over the supernatural link they believe was behind the death in office of seven presidents.

They say that the curse was finally broken, after widespread prayer, with the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, who survived an assassination attempt the following year. Before Reagan took office, every president elected in the "zero years" from 1840 on had died while president.

Now that the 2000 presidential contest has been decided, media reports have resurrected the story of the curse. Because of the "superstitious ... speculations," it is important that Christians "reaffirm the cancellation and breaking" of the past curse, said Gary Bergel, president of Intercessors for America (IFA).

In an appeal to supporters, he wrote that new "warfare prayer" was needed "to cancel prophetic predictions being made by various astrologers and occult 'oracles' that 'the 2000-elect must die,' because of Zodiac 'conjunctions' and numerological calculations purportedly showing ominous 'vectors' for the new president."

Researching IFA records of the group's involvement in the 1980 prayer effort, Bergel said he found a "dual" system of death decrees involving the White House. The first was placed by Native American chiefs and medicine men in retaliation for the confiscation of land, and the massacres and breaking of treaties by the U.S. government.

Tenskwatawa, the brother of Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, recognized as a "prophet," was said to have placed a death curse upon Gen. William Harrison after being defeated at the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe in Indiana. Bergel said that Native American lore recorded that Tenskwatawa decreed that "Harrison would one day be chosen as the Great White Chief, but he would die in office, and after him, every Great White Chief chosen every 20 years thereafter would die."

Harrison became president in 1840 and died the following year of pneumonia. Lincoln was elected in 1860 and assassinated in 1865. James Garfield was elected in 1880 and assassinated the next year. William McKinley was elected in 1900 and assassinated the following year. Warren Harding was elected in 1920 and died of food poisoning in 1923. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected in 1940 and died of a stroke in 1945. John F. Kennedy was elected in 1960 and assassinated in 1963.

Bergel said that the White House had also been affected by seances conducted by First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. He said that prayer was also needed for more recent occult occurrences and practices at the White House, such as First Lady Nancy Reagan's reported use of astrology, and First Lady Hillary Clinton's receiving the laying on of hands from a Native American shaman.

Although he believes the curse had been broken in 1980 through prayer and fasting, Bergel said it had to be "reaffirmed" now, "because Satan would desire to use these new speculations to undermine faith and promote fear and superstition, and to draft false 'prophecy' by which he might 'inspire' and prompt possible revengeful acts of violence."

Bergel said that it was important that Christians who had prayed long and hard through the election contest not give up now, but pray for protection for President-elect Bush, his forthcoming administration and others in leadership.

Bergel's call was echoed by Charles Carrin, an evangelist and writer who has also researched the White House curse. "We must continue to pray. We cannot assume that it's done and go back to sleep. It was a sleeping church that caused the curse to prevail that long, anyway."

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