1722. Count Nikolaus Zinzendorf allowed persecuted Christians, coming from different areas that are today in Czech Republic, Poland and Germany, to settle on his property. Psalm 84:3 was chosen as the foundation verse:
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
They were more than glad that they were finally permitted to love God according to their faith, without having to hide from the church and government.
The name of the settlement, Herrn-hut, reminds of two things: that God will watch over this settlement (to be “under the watch of the Lord”), and that the inhabitants are being called to be watchmen in prayer (to be “on the watch of the Lord”).
It started out with lots of kindness and mutual service, but soon the situation was becoming increasingly chaotic. The different inhabitants had different beliefs and thus started to withdraw into small groups and quarrel about the right doctrine. Zinzendorf heard about this and came to Herrnhut.
1727. During this time (that was later called the summer of revival) many prayer gatherings and personal conversations took place. Even the children were a part of this revival.
On 13th August, when the inhabitants took communion together, the Holy Spirit achieved what all conversations and attempts to find solutions ultimately failed to do: He brought reconciliation, unity and a common focus. This had been named the wonderful outpouring of the Holy Spirit and was the beginning of the Moravian Church. (We as Jesus-Haus Herrnhut, officially called: Christliches Zentrum Herrnhut e.V., are a charismatic church that was founded only in 1992.)
1727. Only 14 days after this special communion service they began to take turns in prayer, day and night, 24/7. They decided to ignite a voluntary sacrifice of intercession, also so that the adversary would not succeed in extinguishing Herrnhut. For this hourly prayer they chose Isaiah 62:6-7:
On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.
This prayer chain continued for at least 100 years.
Since 1732. Herrnhut sent missionaries to the Caribbean, Greenland, America, and many other areas. At a time in history when most of the Church understood mission primarily as a mission within the church, the Herrnhut people deliberately sent simple members of the church to ethnic groups and colonies who had never heard the gospel before. They were willing to give their whole lives for this cause. During that time the famous motto was being coined: May the Lamb receive the reward for his suffering.
2021. Today, the Moravian Church has 1.2 million members worldwide, 21,000 of them living in Europe (source). The town of Herrnhut, including the surrounding incorporated villages, has about 6,000 inhabitants and various churches and denominations. It is also known internationally for the production of a specific kind of star made of paper or plastic (Herrnhuter Sterne), and the publication of The Daily Texts every year since 1731.
We consider it a privilege to live and minister in a place of such significant spiritual heritage.