Count Zinzendorf and His Christian Community

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Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf was a pious nobleman who served in the court for the king of Saxony. Being a generous man, he allowed a small group of Moravian refugees to establish a village on his estate. This village was named Herrnhut, and under Zinzendorf’s leadership became a unique Christian community. Zinzendorf was one of the most influential leaders of the modern Protestant missionary movement. In addition, he was responsible for the rebirth of the Moravian Church, authored many hymns, and pioneered ecumenical evangelism. Nevertheless, above all, he launched a global missionary movement that set the stage for other missionaries such as William Carey and the “Great Century” of missions that would follow.
Zinzendorf’s Approach to Missions
In 1731, Zinzendorf’s zeal for missions was sparked while attending the coronation of King Christian VI in Copenhagen. Zinzendorf met a Christian slave from the West Indies, who urged for someone to go back to his homeland and witness to his fellow slaves. When he returned to Herrnhut, two men willingly volunteered for this task. Thus, in 1732, Zinzendorf sent his first two Moravian missionaries to the West In¬dies. Moreover, these were the first Protestant missionaries sent on a mission from the modern missionary era. Many people refer to William Carey as the “father of modern missions.” However, this title belongs to Zinzendorf, who was engaged in modern missions 60 years before Carey. In 1735, a missionary group went to Geor¬gia, and then Penn¬syl¬van¬ia. Zinzendorf took special care sending missionaries into almost every part of the known world. Within 20 years, he sent missionaries to Greenland, Lapland, Georgian, Surinam...

... middle of paper ... Nevertheless, if Zinzendorf’s example of the Night Watch was followed today it would have a major impact on world missions.
Moreover, Zinzendorf did not limit prayer to the evening hours. He also had the custom of incorporating the “Hourly Prayer.” Zinzendorf had a group of twenty-four men and women who pledged themselves to pray for one hour in the twenty-four period. Each person took turns and interceded for the needs of the community and its missionaries. To determine who would pray at what time, names were drawn by casting lots. The Moravians twenty-four-hour prayer chain started in 1727 continued unbroken for over one hundred years. Christians today can be motivated by Zinzendorf’s emphasis on praying for missionaries around the globe. Church groups and mission organizations could establish the same ideas and have a continued unbroken prayer before God.

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