”The very zealous Moravians had found a worthy leader in Zinzendorf. He was a man of serious devotion, fervent prayer, and was known for his commitment to radical holiness. In modern terminology, we would say that he had a tremendous hunger for God.” Unnamed quotes by Pitts Evans
As we arise in 24-7 prayer, it is important that we look at our historical roots. Understanding the historical beginnings of day and night prayer should challenge us for the future. The prayer movement is quickly spreading around the world, but it is not without commitment and hard work. As we begin establishing 24-7 prayer in our cities and see the largeness of the task, we may be tempted to ask ourselves several questions. “Is 24-7 prayer possible for our city?” “Has this ever been done before?” “Can we have faith for such a big venture as day and night prayer? “Will it be worth it? “What is the value of such intensity in prayer hour after hour and day after day?” These questions are legitimate because we need to really believe in prayer in order to pay the price. It will cost each one of us time and effort. We can’t begin and then quit. We are in this for the long haul.
These questions have an answer that should motivate each one of us to continue. Yes, this has been done before. In fact, there has already been a 100-year, non-stop prayer meeting with absolutely fantastic results. Day and night prayer is certainly possible. The way has been paved before us in the spiritual realm. It has been done in a place called Herrnhut (meaning “on watch for the Lord”) in Germany. It can, therefore, be done in your city. It is going to be worth more than we can right now comprehend. And it is of the highest value. This 24-7 prayer meeting launched a worldwide missionary movement! The results of the 24-7 prayer movement that you and I are entering into will shake the entire world and will reach from one nation to another. There will not be a place on earth that will not be touched dramatically by 24-7 prayer. Therefore, we must not give up because of the difficulties. We must look forward with anticipation to what God is going to do through united prayer and fervent devotion.
“For more than one hundred years, beginning on August 26, 1727, there was a Moravian brother or sister somewhere engaged in prayer, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Among the brethren this meeting was known as the ‘Hourly Intercession.’ There was literal prayer without ceasing for one hundred years. The prayer focus soon moved from those at Herrnhut to lost souls in Europe and around the world. The Lord gave the entire community a burning desire to see sinners come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and this fueled young Zinzendorf’s fire for evangelism.”
An Intense Devotional Life
The Moravian 100-year, continuous prayer meeting was started in 1727 by Count Zinzendorf. He was a deeply spiritual man and traced his intense devotional life to one event on a single day when he visited an art gallery and saw a portrait of Christ wearing a crown of thorns on his head. At the bottom of the picture was written, “All this I did for you, what are you doing for Me?” “The nineteen year old Count was powerfully touched in a very personal way by the Holy Spirit. From that moment, Zinzendorf realized that he could never consider himself a follower of Jesus Christ and continue to live the carefree life of a European nobleman. To the horror of friends and family, he dedicated the rest of his life to the service of Jesus Christ.”
Count Zinzendorf gave inspirational leadership through the love that he had for the church and for prayer. His acceptance of even strangers, his selflessness and the great love for the Lord and people inspired others. He had a powerful interest in prayer. He would set aside whole days and nights to fast and pray when he was a university student. This 100-year, non-stop prayer meeting began because of his faithfulness in prayer in his small corner of the world called Herrnhut. The group of men and women he led in this 100-year prayer meeting were called the Moravians. The Moravians followed the example of Zinzendorf in living a holy and loving life. “In every detail of their lives – in business, pleasure, in Christian service, in civil duties – they took the Sermon on the Mount as a lamp to their feet.” Their powerful motto was “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; and in all things, love.” Their testimony has spread all around the world but it began during one Communion service.
“The Holy Spirit fell on the group as on the day of Pentecost. Hearts were radically changed, and prayers were answered beyond expectations. Many more villagers began to set aside time for earnest prayer. Soon, prayer was gong on 24 hours a day. Even the children organized prayer circles. This wave of prayer did not cease for a hundred years. So transformed was the village that John Wesley, visiting in 1738, called it the happiest place on earth!” Joe Martin
The Moravian Mission Movement
“The focus of prayer at Hernnhut became world missions. The Lord gave the entire community a renewed call of the Great Commission, to go into all the world and preach the gospel. This resulted in the greatest concentration of Christian workers being sent out into foreign missions since the first century. ‘In the two decades that followed, the Moravians sent out more missionaries than all Protestants and Anglicans had sent out in the previous two centuries.'”
Shortly after this 100-year prayer meeting started, Count Zinzendorf felt strongly that they were to spread the gospel of Jesus to the unreached people around the world. The focus of prayer became world missions. They all felt the call of the Great Commission. So many workers were then sent out to the nations.
The continuous prayer meeting that God is presently initiating around the world will have the same focus. This is the time to bring in the harvest in every nation of the world. As we pray we will receive the heart of God for the nations. We will receive the burden of the Great Commission, and we will receive the anointing to reach our neighbors. We will no longer be able to contain or restrain the empowering and convicting force of the Holy Spirit. This is where we are headed.
I would like to tell you my experience in the harp and bowl prayer meetings that I am involved with in my church. I believe that we are beginning to move into more prayer for the nations and for the lost. Last week almost every prayer was concentrating on the lost. As we were praying Scripture, there was a harmonious direction in prayer towards the harvest and towards lost souls. God is directing our intercession. His heart is towards the lost and the nations. This prayer meeting was very powerful, and I believe it is because God is saying something. He seems to be showing us that it is time for all of us to open our eyes and look onto the fields, for they are ripe for harvest (John 4:35). He is beginning to focus us onto the lost just as he did with the Moravian prayer movement. This prayer movement that we all are becoming part of is going to usher in the second coming of Christ.
Ways to Apply the Moravian Example in 24-7 Prayer Meetings
Let the Moravian example challenge you to rise up higher in prayer than you have ever been before. The following quotes taken from the Moravian prayer movement are ways to apply this in your prayer meetings.
- “He dedicated the rest of his life to the service of Jesus Christ.” – Pray that those in your prayer meeting will grow in an intense devotional life personally. Expect God to deepen everyone’s dedication to the point of sacrificial living.
- “The Lord gave the entire community a burning desire to see sinners come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ” – Open your heart to those who do not know Christ. Be a witness and shine God’s light outside of the prayer meeting.
- “The Lord gave the entire community a renewed call of the Great Commission, to go into all the world and preach the gospel” – Incorporate times to pray for the lost and for the nations. Be willing to reach out to the lost where you live.
- “This resulted in the greatest concentration of Christian workers being sent out into foreign missions since the first century.” – Expect that God will call some from your prayer meeting to go to the nations. Be willing to go or to send as God directs.
- “This fueled young Zinzendorf’s fire for evangelism.” – Expect God to burden those in the prayer meeting for evangelism and for your city. Cry out to God for your city. The Moravians had a burden for the lost.
- “He was a man of serious devotion, fervent prayer, and was known for his commitment to radical holiness.” – Expect God to move those in your prayer meeting into radical holiness. There is no room for sin in one who is hungry for holiness. Confess all known sin on a daily basis.
- “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; and in all things, love” – Let unity and harmony be a high priority in all of your prayer meetings. Do all things in love.
- “In every detail of their lives – in business, pleasure, in Christian service, in civil duties – they took the Sermon on the Mount as a lamp to their feet” – Live out the Sermon on the Mount as best you can as a group and individually. Let your life shine for Christ in the marketplace.
- “Prayers were answered beyond expectation” – Expect God to answer prayer. Look forward with anticipation for the answer to your united prayer. Expect souls to come to Christ in your city.
- “I have one passion; it is he and he alone.” – Narrow your life down to a passionate pursuit of Christ.
“Zinzendorf’s motto, ‘I have one passion; it is He and He alone,’ would fan into a move-ment that God would use to change the history of His church.” Joe Martin