Re-digging the wells of Moravian Revival
I have just returned from a Prayer and Mission consultation, which held in Herrnhut, German, a town, which shares borders with Poland and the Czech Republic. Over 120 worship, prayer and mission leaders attended the consultation from 28 nations of the world. This year marks the 500th year of the Reformation and many Christians are converging in Germany to celebrate the Reformation.
Besides the celebration, many Christians are praying to God for a new Reformation. This time, the reformation many yearn for is a reformation of the revelation of God, a reformation of love, a reformation of the outpouring of His Spirit, a new reformation that would usher a new era in the Church’s history. For me, as a student of revival, it was exciting to join others that share similar passion to re-dig the wells of the Moravian revival.
Revivals always occur, when God responds to His people’s prayers. The Moravian revival was no exception. In 1722, after about two hundred Moravians fled persecution in Bohemia in the modern Czech Republic, they settled in the estate of a wealthy German called Count Ludwig von Zizendorf. The refugees first arrived at a place called Bertlesdorf in the estate of Zizendorf, where they sought refuge. Zizendorf was out of town, when they arrived, but the manager of his estate, a godly man called Heitz, gave them a place on the Count’s estate. Unfortunately, there was no water in the place they settled. But the Spirit led them to a spot, where to the amazement of many critics, who laughed at them, they dug a well and got water.
When Zizendorf returned home, he saw lights swirling up on a hill, so he came to visit the refugee guests and during this period, he dedicated the little community to the Lord. Not long after they had settled in Herrnhut, dissension and squabbles began to erupt among them. When Zizendorf heard about the squabbles, he moved to Herrnhut to admonish the young community to reconcile and grow in love with one another.
On May 12, 1727, after a lecture by Zizendorf, they signed an agreement, called the Brotherly Agreement, agreeing to dedicate their lives to the service of Jesus Christ. Subsequently, the Spirit began to move among them. On July 22, the community covenanted together to meet often to pray and sing hymns. Zizendorf and the refugees spent a great deal of time praying for revival in their midst.
On August 13, 1727, Zizendorf and the Moravians walked from Herrnhut to a church in Bertlesforf. At this chapel, he shared a sermon on the cross and the glory of the Lamb. And as they came to partake of the communion, the Holy Spirit came upon and spilt out extraordinary love for one another. Afterwards, the Lord spoke to Zizendorf from Leviticus 6:13, urging that fire should never go out from their altar; that because of the sacrifice of Christ, they should maintain a 24/7 hourly prayer watch.
The prayer watch that started on August 26, 1727 lasted for 100 years and gave rise to great Missions movement. The Moravians were subsequently led into sacrificial missions ventures. Their heroic mission ventures led some of them to deliberately sell themselves into slavery, so as to be able to go to the plantations in the Caribbean Islands to work and witness. The motto, which the Moravians adopted, as they went to the mission field was: THE LAMB HAS CONQUERED, LET US FOLLOW HIM.