Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The Moravians began to pray and they didn’t stop. Twenty-four men and twenty-four women began praying one hour each day. They scheduled themselves so prayer would be on-going every minute of every day. That intercessory prayer group evolved into an around-the-clock, around-the-world prayer movement -- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year -- which continued without interruption for more than 100 years!
In 1732, just five years into the 100 year prayer, the Lord stirred the hearts of two Moravian men for the suffering slaves of St. Thomas in the West Indies. Leonard Dober was a potter and David Nitschman was a carpenter. They decided the best way to win the slaves of St. Thomas for Christ was to voluntarily sell themselves into slavery. Leonard and David eagerly volunteered for this “open door” of ministry for the gospel. They boarded a Dutch ship on October 8, 1732. As the ship left the harbor, their friends and relatives onshore could hear them shouting from the lower deck over and over again: “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering . . . May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of his suffering.” Those were the last words heard from these brothers as the ship disappeared over the horizon. They simply believed the Lamb Jesus had purchased elect men for God with his blood from among every nation, tribe, and language group. Leonard and David recklessly went after some of them for Jesus. This became the rallying cry of the Moravians for more than a century as they led the way in the radical evangelization of hostile peoples, often enduring unbelievable hardship and horrific martyrdoms for the name of Christ.
The Moravian missionaries were fearless in their gospel exploits and suffered a tremendous loss of life. As quickly as they were killed off, others stepped forward to take their place. They really did not care if they were killed, and even prayed for the privilege of dying!
Do you know how the Moravians decided who got to go as missionaries when new opportunities arose? They cast lots for it . . . for it . . . not to avoid it! The attitude of the whole community was that they were all called to go and send. They might be called upon at any moment, so everyone lived in constant readiness. When the lots were thrown down, they eagerly gathered around, hoping for their name to be called out. It was like winning the lottery! When twelve missionaries died from disease on St. Thomas, the Moravian leadership in Herrnhut gathered the community together, threw down the lots, and chose twelve more to replace the ones who had died!
These people took the Great Commission seriously and personally. In just the first 15 years of the prayer revival, churches were established in the Virgin Islands, Greenland, Turkey, the Gold Coast of Africa, South Africa, Suriname, the Arctic, Algiers, Sri Lanka, Persia, Ethiopia, and among the Eskimos and Indians of North America.
Find out more at To Every Tribe