The Hundred-Year Prayer Meeting | Desiring God

The Hundred-Year Prayer Meeting | Desiring God


All over church heritage, we typically find prayer, awakening, and missions actions clustered jointly. God seems delighted to use concerted initiatives of prayer to spur and preserve religious awakenings, and then to use those people awakenings to ship his folks across cultures with the gospel. Few stories, however, reveal these connections as evidently as a tale from the early eighteenth century, when a group of Christians termed the Moravians started a prayer meeting that just wouldn’t stop.

Out of the Mouth of Babes

In 1648, the Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty-Many years War, when Catholic and Lutheran states warred against each and every other for manage of what remained of the Holy Roman Empire. With the war’s conclude, most of the small states in the location defaulted to the religion of their respective nobility. Catholic nobles dominated Catholic lands, even though Lutheran nobles managed Lutheran lands. It was explained that the religion of the prince was the faith of the persons. This was true everywhere you go except in Silesia, which bundled sections of present-working day Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. In Silesia, the Catholic Hapsburg dynasty ruled in excess of both of those Catholics and Lutherans.

For a few of generations, the Hapsburgs prolonged some religious liberty to Lutheran subjects, but that began to alter about 1700. In a reaction to Hapsburgs’ endeavours to desire conformity to Catholicism, lots of Silesian Lutherans resisted. They had been motivated by the Pietist motion, which emphasized biblical authority, the new birth, discipleship, and religion-based activism. In 1708, small children in southern Silesia commenced keeping substantial outdoor conferences that incorporated prayer and singing. They identified as these events camp meetings, a time period that was adopted by American Methodists about a century afterwards.

Revival soon broke out, centered in the town of Teschen. There, a camp assembly led to the founding of Jesus Church, which at some point attracted as lots of as 10 thousand worshipers each individual week and done providers in German, Polish, and Czech. Beneath the leadership of a Pietist minister named Johann Adam Steinmetz (1689–1762), Jesus Church turned a centre for spreading Pietist spirituality all around Europe. Historians typically stage to the Teschen Revival as the starting of the eighteenth-century transatlantic awakenings that shortly spread from Continental Europe to the English-talking planet.

Steinmetz’s admirers provided Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) and the Wesley brothers, every single of whom corresponded with him as identical revivals broke out in their respective contexts. A different Steinmetz admirer was Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700–1760).

Abundant Youthful Ruler

Count Zinzendorf was a Pietist who was also a member of the German Lutheran nobility. He was a protégé of August Hermann Francke (1663–1727), the major Pietist theologian in Europe. Francke taught at the College of Halle and served as a pastor in that town. Drawing upon the insights of earlier Pietists, specifically Philipp Jakob Spener (1635–1705), Francke considered the key to community church renewal was to set up small teams that targeted on Bible review, prayer, and accountability. He was also an entrepreneurial leader who started a number of institutions, which include an orphanage, a hospital, a newspaper, and a religious printing push.

Like Francke, Zinzendorf was deeply committed to Pietism and developing establishments. He was also an eccentric determine who had some significant flaws: Zinzendorf could be large-handed in his leadership fashion, there is evidence that he was not an attentive partner, and he embraced some mystical tendencies that some other Protestants regarded as to be also Catholic in flavor. But Zinzendorf was deeply fully commited to personal evangelism, spiritual formation, and global missions. These three priorities grew to become part of the DNA of the movement he led.

Zinzendorf owned a large estate in Saxony known as Herrnhut, which he opened to Protestant refugees from all above Europe commencing in 1722. Herrnhut attracted believers from Silesia, Bohemia, and Moravia, quite a few of whom had been affected by the Teschen Revival. The premier group of refugees ended up Moravian Pietists, who fled their homeland immediately after endeavours to forcibly transform them to Catholicism. Five several years afterwards, close to 3 hundred Moravians were living at Herrnhut, with Zinzendorf as the de facto leader of the local community. Progressively, the expression Moravian referred much less to the ethnicity of the refugees and additional to Zinzendorf’s emerging denomination.

Pray Devoid of Ceasing

In the spring of 1727, for the duration of a period of inner turmoil inside of the group, some of the Moravians started praying for fresh revival in their midst. By the late summer, pretty much fifty Moravians had committed to pray for one particular hour a working day, one immediately after the other, for 24 consecutive hours, 7 days a week. Spiritual awakening before long came to the Moravians, resulting in their tiny group to improve and drawing more refugees from all about Europe.

“As incredible as it looks now, the Moravians retained up their spherical-the-clock prayer ministry for around a century.”

As is so usually the case in church record, the onset of revival only deepened the Moravians’ dedication to the electrical power of prayer. As awesome as it appears right now, the Moravians kept up their spherical-the-clock prayer ministry for in excess of a century. In fact, it has come to be recognised as the Hundred-12 months Prayer Conference. Though no other known team of Christians has replicated the Moravians’ century-extensive prayer event, a great number of churches and other ministries, often impressed by the instance of the Moravians, have hosted 24-hour prayer meetings for revival, missions, or some other precedence.

Missionary Awakening

One crucial fruit of the prayer revival was a missionary awakening between the Moravians. At the time, virtually no Protestants had been involved in cross-cultural missions. Only a very couple read Matthew 28:18–20 or Functions 1:8, raised their hand, and answered God’s phone to global disciple-making. The Moravians became the idea of the spear for evangelical international missions.

“The Moravians grew to become the idea of the spear for evangelical world missions.”

Beginning in 1732, dozens of Moravian missionaries took the practically unparalleled action of leaving Europe to distribute the gospel to other lands. Early mission fields involved the West Indies, Greenland, Turkey, West Africa, South The usa, and the English colonies of Ga and Pennsylvania. In the latter two fields, the Moravians evangelized Indigenous People. Zinzendorf himself became a missionary in Pennsylvania, exactly where he started the metropolis of Bethlehem in 1741.

By 1791, all over 3 hundred Moravian missionaries experienced been despatched out from Herrnhut. That amount was equal in dimensions to the whole range of Moravians when the round-the-clock prayer ministry 1st began in 1727! The Moravian missions awakening, although little known by Christians currently, predated the so-called modern missions movement by two generations.

Missionary Legacy

The Moravian missionaries not only distribute the good information, but they also spread the Pietist emphasis on the new birth, tiny accountability groups, and evangelism and missions. Moravian missionaries to Georgia played a essential function in John Wesley’s conversion and subsequent revival ministry. Right after afterwards connecting with Moravians in London, the Wesley brothers and George Whitefield launched various Pietist emphases into the emerging Methodist motion, together with a commitment to praying for worldwide religious awakening.

A generation afterwards, a shoe cobber turned Baptist pastor named William Carey (1761–1834) grew to become regarded as the father of the modern-day missions motion. In 1792, Carey posted a treatise titled An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens. Carey argued that the Terrific Fee is a binding command on each individual Christian in just about every technology. His treatise grew to become a manifesto for worldwide missions among the English-speaking evangelicals.

Carey was keenly conscious that he was truly standing on the shoulders of previously missionaries. In his Enquiry, he highlighted a selection of missionary pioneers whom he thought his fellow evangelicals must emulate, including the Moravians. When Carey aided found the Baptist Missionary Culture in 1793 and remaining afterwards that year to serve as a missionary to India, he recognized he was doing what hundreds of Moravian missionaries had finished ahead of.

Prayer, Revival, and Missions

The story of the Moravians and their legacy reminds us that prayer, revival, and missions are generally intertwined. The Moravians committed them selves to prayer for spiritual awakening, and God was faithful to answer that prayer. They also prayed for worldwide missions, and in God’s providence, he named on hundreds of Moravians to develop into the solutions to their very own prayers! The Moravians spread the gospel to unbelievers, distribute evangelical emphases to other believers, and inspired generations of Christians to obey the Good Fee.

It could transpire yet again. God even now responses prayers, promising that “the prayer of a righteous particular person is quite effective in its effect” (James 5:16 CSB). God continue to visits his people today with non secular awakening, reviving cold hearts and stirring dormant affections. There are even now billions of men and women globally who do not know Jesus Christ as their King and Savior. Join me in praying that God would deliver about a new prayer-driven missionary awakening among his folks, for his glory and for the sake of international disciple-creating.



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