What is Herrnhut? Why is this name so significant and symbolic today? The name means watch of the Lord. This prayer movement began in 1727 and helped birth the “Great Awakening” in America. It began with twenty people (radical remnant) who have released the favor of God upon what they had desired to accomplish.
Herrnhut was birthed from prophetic word that was spoken. Many important historical moments had manifested from a dream, vision, or a visitation from God. The promise will come and is usually birthed out of hardship and persecution. I have found that every demotion is an opportunity for promotion. Every wound or hardship can be currency in Heaven and spent for God’s Kingdom purposes.
Spiritual authority is given to those who understand persecution, betrayal, hurts, setbacks, and being treated unfairly. The secret is overcoming our adversities by trusting in God and walking in forgiveness.
The Moravians faced much persecution throughout history which led to Herrnhut. The Moravian movement began with Christian Martyr John Hus being burned at the stake in the 1400’s. Read this account of Herrnhut below and may hope rise up out of the desperate circumstance you may be facing. The answer to change America and save our nation is recorded in history. Can we learn from lessons in the past? I believe we can as theradical remnant is surfacing. He wants to use each of us.
Herrnhut – Impacted America
The greatest revival in modern history was begun in a little village which was formerly known as East Germany. It was a town called Herrnhut and led by Count Nicholas Von Zinzendorf. In 1727, a group of Moravians fled persecution in Czechoslovakia and immigrated to Germany. Zinzendorf allowed them to settle on his estate. They came and built a village they called Hernnhut which means – “The Watch of the Lord”.
Earlier in their history a prophet by the name of Malchoir Schaefer, gave a prophetic word that stated, “God will place a light on these hills that will illumine the whole world.” This may appear to be impossible as a group of 300-400 people in a little village could birth such a word. These were refugees, kicked out of their own country that was living in an obscure place in a backwater corner in Germany. Can you believe that God would do something here that would affect the world?
Point to Ponder: “We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth.” – Andrew Murray
In 1722, Zinzendorf bought the Berthelsdorf estate from his grandmother and installed a Pietistic preacher in the local Lutheran church. That same year Zinzendorf came into contact with a Moravian preacher, Christian David, who informed the young Count of the sufferings of the persecuted Protestants in Moravia. These Moravians known as the Unitas Fratrum were the remains of John Huss’ followers in Bohemia.
Since the 1600s, these saints had suffered under the hands of successive repressive Catholic monarchs. Zinzendorf offered them asylum on his lands. Christian David returned to Bohemia and brought many to settle on Zinzendorf’s estate, forming the community of Herrnhut (The Watch of the Lord). The community quickly grew to over three hundred.
Yet due to divisions and tension in the infant community, Zinzendorf gave up his court position and became the leader of the brethren, instituting a new constitution for the community.
On August 13th, 1727, they went to a nearby village of Berthelsdorf to meet together in the Lutheran Church for a communion service. Count Zinzendorf got up to lead the service and got part way through when the Spirit of God fell. No one who was there ever gave a detailed description of what happened. They just said the fire of God fell, there were signs, wonders, and miracles, and they were never the same again.
Fire on the Altar
There was a new spirituality that characterized this community, with men and women being committed to encouraging one another in the life of God. August of 1727 is seen as the Moravian Pentecost. Zinzendorf said August 13th was “a day of the outpourings of the Holy Spirit upon the congregation; it was its Pentecost.” The next week they said, “How do we keep this going? God’s presence is with us. How do we keep it?”
They turned in their Bibles and found that in Exodus 29: 41-43, God gave instructions and how to live in His presence! If you keep the fire burning on the altar (Exodus 29, Leviticus 6:13), I will dwell with you! They determined to keep the fire on the altar. They divided the clock into watches and took turns praying 24 hours a day 7 days a week!
Within two weeks of the outpouring, over twenty men and women covenanted to pray “hourly intercessions,” thus praying every hour around the clock. They were committed to see that “The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out”.
Point to Ponder: “Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” – Corrie ten Boom
The numbers committed to this endeavor soon increased to around seventy from the community. This prayer meeting would go non-stop for over one hundred years and is seen by many as the spiritual power behind the impact the Moravians had on the world. The result was that the glory of God rested in their midst.
A Missionary Movement Born
The Spirit of God began to send them out as missionaries. In the 1700’s missionaries went from there to Greenland, North and South America, South Africa, Australia, and even Tibet. They also went to England and one person that was saved there through their ministry was John Wesley. He met a Moravian Bishop Peter Bohler as they were crossing the Atlantic on a ship in the mid 1700’s.
They came upon a storm and the ship was being overwhelmed. The British passengers were in a panic state as they thought they were going to die. John Wesley was stunned by the calmness of the group of Moravians led by Bohler. These German Moravians were singing hymns and had this sense of peace. Wesley thought they were unaware of the storms severity and they were about to perish.
He approached Peter Bohler and said we are about to die. Bohler responded by saying, “We’re not afraid to die. We die daily.” This impacted Wesley so much that he resolved to learn about these people. He went to Herrnhut and caught the fire of the Lord and brought revival to England.
Point to Ponder: “God does nothing except in response to believing prayer.” – John Wesley (Famous evangelist who spent 2 hours a day in prayer)
Wesley was a spark that led to the first Great Awakening. The nation was “transformed” and England was saved from a bloody revolution that France endured.
The revival in England affected America. It was called “The Great Awakening” which transformed America as it swept through the colonies. Church attendance doubled in America. The U.S. Constitution was written, for most part, by men impacted by the “Great Awakening”. The very foundations of our government were influenced by this prayer movement where people were faithful to take watches before the Lord and pray.
Point to Ponder: “Whole days and weeks have I spent prostrate on the ground in silent or vocal prayer.” – George Whitefield – (A great Evangelist during American Revolution era, during the first Great Awakening in America)
The missionary zeal from the prayer room at Herrnhut has hardly been surpassed in church history. The spark initially came from Zinzendorf’s encounter in Denmark with Eskimos who had been converted by Lutherans. The Count returned to Herrnhut and conveyed his passion to see the Gospel go to the nations. As a result, many of the community went out into the world to preach the gospel, some even selling themselves into slavery in order to fulfill the great commission.
A simple statistic would best convey the impact that this prayer movement had upon the world. Normally, when it comes to world missions the Protestant laity to missionary ratio has been 5000:1. The Moravians however saw a much increased ratio of 60:1. By 1776, some 226 missionaries had been sent out from the community at Herrnhut.
It is clear through the teaching of the so-called “Father of Modern Missions”, William Carey, that the Moravians had a profound impact on him in regard to their zeal for missionary activity. The impact of this little community in Saxony which committed to seek the face of the Lord day and night has truly been immeasurable.
Point to Ponder: “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.” – Robert Murray McCheyne
From this “Watch of the Lord” laborers went into the harvest field of the world. We need to impact our culture as never before. The Christian voice must resound and be heard loud and clear. There is no telling how many millions of souls were saved because of Herrnhut. They were a radical remnant! God will certainly intervene into man’s affairs today in our nation if we seek Him wholeheartedly.
Can churches, ministries, and individuals come together today to take prayer watches? Yes. The prayer closet is a key as individuals must take personal time before the Lord. Can you commit to ½ hour a week or more? Why not take a daily watch in prayer at a designated time each day and seek the Lord?
You can declare the region you reside in will be the next Herrnhut and a model to the nation.
NOTE: The Moravians came to the United States and settled in North Carolina. They also came to Michigan!