by Rev. Dr. Cortroy Jarvis
Chairman of PEC
August 13 is a very significant date in the life of the Moravian Church. It was on this date 1727 that the Moravians had its spiritual rebirth. It began with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the Bertlesdorf Chapel with the Holy Communion and then the 100 year contin- uous Prayer meeting. This year then marks the 291st year since the Moravian Revival.
The Moravian brethren had sprung from the labors and martyrdom of the Bohemian Reformer, John Hus. They had experienced centuries of persecution. Many had been killed, imprisoned, tortured or banished from their homeland. This group had fled for refuge to Germany where the young Christian nobleman, Count Zinzendorf, offered them asylum/refuge on his estates in Saxony. They named their new home Herrnhut, 'the Lord's Watch'. From there, after their baptism in the Holy Spirit, they became evangelists and missionaries.
Fifty years before the beginning of modern Foreign Missions by William Carey, the Moravian Church had sent out over 100 missionaries. Their English missionary magazine, Periodical Accounts, inspired William Carey. He threw a copy of the paper on a table at a Baptist meeting, and said, “See what the Moravians have done! Cannot we follow their example and in obedience to our Heavenly Master go out into the world, and preach the Gospel to the heathen.
That missionary zeal began with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Count Zinzendorf observed “The Saviour permitted to come upon us a Spirit of whom we had hitherto not had any experience or knowledge. ... Hitherto we had been the leaders and helpers. Now the Holy Spirit Himself took full control of everything and everybody”.
When the Spirit came!
It is said that Prayer precedes Pentecost. The disgruntled community at Herrnhut early in 1727 was deeply divided and critical of one another. Heated controversies threatened to disrupt the community. The majority was from the ancient Moravian Church of the Brethren. Other believers attracted to Herrnhut included Lutherans, Reformed, and Baptists. They argued about predes-tination, holiness, and baptism.
The young German nobleman, Count Zinzendorf, pleaded for unity, love and repentance.
Converted in early childhood, at four years of age he composed and signed a covenant: “Dear Saviour, do Thou be mine, and I will be Thine.” His life motto was, “I have one passion: it is Jesus, Jesus only”
It is said that Count Zinzendorf learned the secret of prevailing prayer. He actively established prayer groups as a teenager, and on leaving college at Halle at sixteen he gave the famous Professor Francke a list of seven praying societies he had established.
Everywhere he went; his passion for Jesus con-trolled him. In the Dusseldorf Gallery of paintings he was deeply moved by a painting of the crucifixion over which were the words:
Hoc feci pro te; Quid facis pro me?
This have I done for thee; what hast thou done for me?
As we reflect on another August 13, where are we and what does the Lord require of us? God wants us to be men and women of integrity and model before others what He would have them to become. In addition, God wants us to develop an effective Prayer Life. Developing an effective Prayer Life depends on keeping our relationship with God strong and uncluttered by sin and disobedience.
1 Peter 3:12 says, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
If we strive for righteousness and confess our sins, we will remain close to God. Maintaining our relationship with him is an ongoing process. Every day we need to go to God and ask Him to reveal anything that may be hindering our progress.
In Psalm 139: 23-24 David, a man after God’s own heart, who had one of the best relationships with God said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts, See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
David overcame some horrible sins in his life to be close to God. He was a murderer and adulterer, yet he humbled himself before God and confessed his sins. It allowed him to have gotten closer to God and he kept growing and building his relationship with Him.
David is a great model for us to follow. If God was able to forgive him and build a special relationship with him, then He can do the same with us. If we are faithful, God will draw us close to Him. C. H. Spurgeon once said, “Whenever God determines to do a great work, He first sets His people to pray.” May the Revival begun in 1727 be reignited in us as individuals and in our churches worldwide?
God can make what seems impossible, possible.