At the back of the prayer room in Kansas City is a scripture quotation by someone we see at IHOPKC as something of a hero – Count Nicolaus Ludwig Von Zinzendorf. The reason being that Zinzendorf led a group of Moravian refugees in a community at a place called Herrnhutt in the 18th Century. They were responsible for a one hundred year prayer meeting and sparking the first wave of the modern missions movement. Books have been written about the Moravians (which I encourage you to read). However for the purposes of this blog I want to highlight three areas where believers today can learn from Zinzendorf and his community of Moravians.
1. Missions begins and ends in prayer – The Moravians are known for their prayer meeting which began as a commitment to “hourly intercessions” which went around the clock, however it is my experience that it is impossible to touch the heart of God in prayer and not touch His heart for mission. I have met in the past year or so with the leaders of some of the top missions agencies on the planet. There has been much talk about the Prayer Movement and the Missions Movement coming together, however when I dug a little deeper I discovered that many of these organizations were birthed from the place of deep and at times continuous intercession.
If you neglect prayer, you neglect the heart of God and you will soon come to neglect the mission of God and simply become a humanitarian aid agency (humanitarian work is not wrong, it is just I believe as a Christian if we do not offer the cup of cold water IN THE NAME OF JESUS, we offer false hope and deliver false justice). So mission begins in prayer, but it also leads to prayer. The fundamental purpose of mission is so that man would be reconciled to God so that man can approach God in worship. The end of missions is the nations raising their voice in worship before the throne of God. The Moravians knew this well and we would do well to learn from them
2. Missions is about all of life and not just the spiritual part – We often make an unhelpful dichotomy between sacred and secular. The professional clergy was introduced into the church predominantly in the fourth century as the priesthood as opposed to the laity. Luther came stating that we must recognize the Priesthood of All Believers. We are all priests. While vocational ministry exists, I love a quote by Prof. Cecil Pawson (David Pawson’s father) who said “There is nothing secular but sin”. The Moravians tools this to heart and saw their identity primarily as Christians, missionaries, priests of God, messengers of the gospel, but also were skilled in various vocations. This meant they could travel to the furthest reaches of the globe, practice their skill as a shoe maker, a baker, a tinker etc yet primarily be a missionary. The world needs more believers who will see business as mission, especially if we are to reach the most unreached parts of the earth with the gospel of Jesus.
3. Missions is all about Jesus – The watchword of the Moravians was “That the Lamb would receive the reward of his sufferings”. The Moravians knew the meta-narrative of the gospel well, they knew their part and they knew where they fit into history. This gave them an unshakeable peace, which John Wesley was in awe of in the midst of a gale force storm on the open seas. They knew it was ultimately about the price Jesus paid in his first coming, so that he could have a pure and spotless bride at His second coming. They lived that the Lamb of God would get His inheritance.
A History of 24/7 Prayer – a brief overview I wrote a few years ago
Lord of the Ring – Book about Zinzendorf and the Moravians
False Justice – A book by my friend Stuart Greaves that deals with the issue of humanitarianism without Jesus