Acts 6: 4 (NKJV), “but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
In the early 1700s a small group of religious fugitives formed a village in a part of Germany called Moravia. They named their village Herrnhut which means “The Lord’s Watch.” While Herrnhut had become a community of religious exiles, many spoke different languages and creeds. There were Lutherans, Separatists, Reformed and others living side by side. Disagreements developed. Relationships deteriorated.
The community was on the way to ruin when the people decided to “give themselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” They began to study the Bible, hold all-night prayer vigils and confess their sins to one another.
On August 13, 1727, an amazing miracle happened. There was a baptism and communion service, and the Holy Spirit moved through the room. A spirit of love came over the attendees. Differences dissolved, and they all embraced one another in love and forgiveness.
They established a 24-hour around-the-clock prayer vigil which lasted one hundred years. Their vision was based on the passage in Isaiah 62: 1-7. “O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord.” Isaiah 62: 6 (NLT)
The influence from the continual prayer was far reaching. Their burden for mission work was birthed. Missionaries were sent all over the world. Many people were influenced by the dedication and commitment of the Moravians including John and Charles Wesley, founders of the Methodist Church and William Carey, missionary to India.
The early church understood continuous prayer was necessary because spiritual warfare is continuous. Prayer became their priority. Shortly after Pentecost, the number of disciples multiplied as did their obligations. It became clear the disciples needed help with responsibilities like taking care of the widows. Instead of sacrificing the ministry of prayer, deacons were chosen to care for the church and its people. The ministry of prayer was paramount, and as the church grew they understood even more prayer was needed.
The same is for us today. The ministry of prayer and the ministry of the word should be a top priority. Can you imagine if we all made prayer a priority? Can you imagine if we all committed to the ministry of the Word? What would our families or communities look like if we all “gave ourselves continually to pray and to the ministry of the word?”
Knowing Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever inspires me to look back and see the work of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am encouraged and motivated to continually pray and seek opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
John Wesley said, “I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation.”
Let us adopt the calling, “all the world is our parish.” The world is hurting. The world needs the good news of Jesus Christ. Continual prayer and ministry of the Word is the answer. We can learn from the early church. We can grow as the Moravian Church. We are here for such a time as this, and the more we continually seek God through prayer, the more He will accomplish His purpose through us.
The Apostle Paul reminds us of our responsibility in 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NLT), “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’”