September 07, 2008

The Moravian community of Herrnhut in Saxony, in 1727, commenced an around-the-clock “prayer watch” that continued non-stop for over a hundred years. By 1792, 65 years after commencement of that prayer vigil, the small Moravian community had sent 300 missionaries to the ends of the earth! Could it be that there is some relationship between those two facts? Is fervent intercession a basic component in world evangelization? The answer to both questions is surely an unqualified yes.

The heroic eighteenth century evangelization thrust of the Moravians has not received the attention it deserves. But even less heralded than their missionary exploits is the one-hundred year prayer meeting that sustained the fires of evangelism!

During its first five years of existence, the Renewed Moravian Church at Herrnhut settlement showed few signs of spiritual power. By the beginning of 1727, the community of about three hundred people was wracked by dissension and bickering, an unlikely site for revival! Zinzendorf and others, however, covenanted to pray and labor for revival. Revival came. Christians were aglow with new life and power, dissension vanished and unbelievers were converted. The exploits that followed are surely to be numbered among the high moments of Christian history. Nothing daunted Zinzendorf or his fellow heralds of Jesus Christ - prison, shipwreck, persecution, ridicule, plague, abject poverty, and threats of death.

Looking back to that day Count Zinzendorf later recalled: “The whole place represented truly a visible habitation of God among men.” A spirit of prayer was immediately evident in the fellowship and continued throughout that golden summer of 1727, as the Moravians came to designate that period.  The thought struck some brethren and sisters that it might be well to set apart certain hours for the purpose of prayer, at which seasons all might be reminded of its Excellency and be induced by the promises annexed to fervent, persevering prayer to pour out their hearts before the Lord. On August 27 of that year, twenty-four men and twenty-four women covenanted to spend one hour each day in scheduled prayer. Some others also enlisted in the “hourly intercession.”

The prayer vigil by Zinzendorf and the Moravian Community sensitized them to attempt the unheard-of-mission to reach others for Christ. Six months after the beginning of the prayer watch, the count suggested to his fellow Moravians the challenge of a bold evangelism aimed at the West Indies, Greenland, Turkey, and Lapland. Some were skeptical, but Zinzendorf persisted. The result was that the fresh fire of revival was ignited and set the tone for the forward movement of the Moravian Church.

May the Holy Spirit restore in our day the ancient tools of the watch of the Lord.  May He awaken us to be vigilant and on the alert, in order to cut off the enemy’s plans and usher in God’s purposes in this hour. We ask that the Holy Spirit speak to us about the part we are to play in being watchmen on the wall and our participation in  World Evangelization.  Thank you Jesus for the grace to be effective intercessors! We can do it again. Amen and Amen!