Our church’s sermon series has been on the latter half of Acts in the past month. The Book of Acts unfolds the history of the New Testament church, with countless events and stories in the 2000-year church history testifying to God’s hand caring for and leading His people. In the long history of the church, the Moravian Brethren revival remains one of my favourite stories.
Regarding the Moravian Brethren, the first person that has to be mentioned is Nicolaus Zinzendorf, a devout German nobleman. In the early 18th century, he took in a group of Moravian Brethren believers when they were persecuted. Nicolaus not only let them take refuge on his land but also built a village for them to live in, called “Herrnhut”. Subsequently, believers from Lutheran, Baptist and other denominations came to live in Herrnhut to take shelter from religious persecution. However, it wasn’t long before rifts arose. Serious conflicts emerged among believers from different denominations as they sought to safeguard the doctrines of their own denominations.
They were all hard-line believers who had faced immense tribulations from persecution and war during the Reformation. As you can imagine, it was near impossible for them to compromise and accept their differences. In an attempt to maintain unity and rekindle love amongst believers, Zinzendorf resorted to praying fervently with a small group of humble and upright brothers. In addition, he took on himself the work of reconciliation between different denominations relying on the love and patience from Jesus Christ. God heard their prayers, and one day during a meeting, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit worked miraculously in people’s hearts – brothers confessed their sins to one another and repented; rifts dissolved and in its place, acceptance and understanding. What happened that day was described as being similar to the events at Pentecost recorded in Acts chapter 2. God carried out His work of revival and that group of believers were transformed. They were not only willing to humble themselves and accept one another, but they started engaging in different ministries, including continuous prayer watch for 100 years, and sending out missionaries to mission fields near and far.
The story of the Moravian Brethren tells us that true revival originates from an earnest pursuit of God Himself, and revival is God’s own work, far exceeding what humans can imagine. The result of revival is not just the pursuit of extraordinary spiritual experiences, but submission to one another in the Lord and a long-term vision in missions. With the Lord’s help, may true revival be experienced at CPC, beginning with prayers.