August 27th in World Evangelism History

On this day in 1727, a prayer meeting, which would last a hundred years and reach across the world, began in a small room in the Moravian community of Herrnhut.

On the night of the 27th, 24 men and 24 women had met together to pray for God to do a work in their own hearts, in their community, and around the world.  They then assigned a man and a woman to pray (separately) a specific hour each day.  With this plan, there would never cease to be prayers going up to God.  As word got out of the prayer meeting, others flocked to join in.  Soon, there was not a single man or woman praying every hour, but a group.  They would specifically pray for countries, their churches, world leaders, and their own brothers and sisters in Christ.  But most desperately, they would pray for God to send missionaries around the world.

Six months after the beginning of the prayer watch, the count suggested to his fellow Moravians the challenge of a bold evangelism aimed at the West Indies, Greenland, Turkey and Lapland.  Twenty-six Moravians stepped forward the next day to volunteer for world missions wherever the Lord led.  And five years after the prayer meeting began, the first two missionaries were sent out of the community.  Within the next 65 years, over 300 missionaries were sent out.

Before you say in your own heart, “This could never happen in my life or my home or my church,” look at the community of Herrnhut in January of 1727, the same year the prayer meeting began.  When Herrnhut began, it represented a mix of nationalities, beliefs, and ideas.  During the early stages of its existence, the Count faced such bitter fighting, dissension and bickering among the people that he feared God could never use this mixture of persecuted Christians.  Many of the members were very young, like the 27 year old count, and very hot-headed.  But the count continually begged God to unite his people with the only thing that God: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  During a Church service in May of 1727, God answered the pleas and Christians were aglow with new life and power, dissension vanished and unbelievers were converted.  The next four months became known as the “Golden Summer”.

On August 5th, the Count spent the entire night begging God to give his people the faith they needed to take that great step in obedience of the Great Commission.  Several powerful, revival type service took place that month.  And the night before the prayer meeting began, the children of Herrnhut had spent nearly three hours together in prayer.  It was these foundation stones upon which the hundred year prayer meeting was built.

The community of Herrnhut had faith to pray.  And faith to change the world.  Christ once asked, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”  If he had returned during those hundred years, he would have found faith.  But the question we ask ourselves is, would he find it today?


The Edge of Glory

Christianity Today

On this day in 1813, Ann Judson, having arrived in Burma just a little over a month ago, wrote in her diary:

 I fear that I have declined in religion the past week. Nothing do I dread so much as becoming cold and worldly minded and losing the life of religion in the soul. Though I have but few temptations, I find that the innate depravity of my heart is constantly showing itself in some way or other. I find it is just as necessary to watch and pray and guard against easy besetting sins in this heathen land as in any other situation. O for a more holy heart more fervent love to God and more ardent longings for the promotion of his cause.

Have been writing letters this week to my dear friends in America. Found that a recollection of former enjoyments in my own native country made my situation here appear less tolerable. The thought that I had parents sisters and beloved friends still in existence and at such a distance that it was impossible to obtain a look or exchange a word was truly painful. While they are still in possession of the comforts I once enjoyed, I am an exile from my country and my father’s house, deprived of all society and every friend but one and with scarcely the necessaries of life.  These privations would not be endured with patience in any other cause but that in which we are engaged.  But since it is thy cause, blessed Jesus, we rejoice that thou didst give us so many enjoyments to sacrifice and made it so plainly our duty to forsake all in order to bring thy wonderful truth to the heathen.  We would not resign our work, but live contended with our lot and live to thee.

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