Her husband died shortly after Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf was born. In her Bible, where she recorded his birth, she wrote:
‘May the Father of mercies rule the heart of this child, so that he may walk honestly and uprightly. May sin never rule over him, and may his feet be steadfast in the Word, then he will be happy for time and eternity.’
He formed the Order of the Grain of Mustard Seed. Their purpose was fourfold: To witness to the power of Jesus Christ, to draw other Christians together in fellowship regardless of their ecclesiastical connections, to help those who were suffering for their faith, and to carry the gospel of Christ to those overseas who had not yet heard. He became the father of the modern Moravian Church.
Count Zinzendorf is best remembered for his beloved hymn, translated into English by John Wesley. Its two most memorable stanzas are mentioned below:
“Jesus, thy blood and righteousness; My beauty are, my glorious dress;
‘Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed, with joy shall I lift up my head.
Oh, let the dead now hear thy voice! Now bid thy banished ones rejoice!
Their beauty this, their glorious dress, Jesus, the Lord our righteousness.
What incredible blessing and good came to God’s church and His world through the ministry of a praying mother!
You may be familiar with the name William Carey (1761-1834), the father of our modern missionary movement. He was the man who said: “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” This saying was more than a life motto. He did both of these things throughout his life… expecting and attempting great things for God.
Carey was a man whom God used in a mighty way to draw many in India to saving faith in Christ. Most of us are less familiar with his sister, Polly, who touched the world for Christ in a mighty way. She was an invalid and for 52 years she could only do two things apart from eating and sleeping. One was writing. The other was praying.
Friends propped her up and she wrote loving, inspiring, illuminating, encouraging letters to her brother in India. She also prayed daily for him. She prayed for his fellow missionaries. She prayed for the translation of the Word. She prayed for the new converts. She prayed they would grow in favor with God and men. She prayed they would learn how to rejoice in everything. She prayed they would live in forgiveness. She prayed they would be rooted and grounded in love. She prayed all of the prayers God taught her to pray for William and his associates in ministry. As a result of her prayers, great things were done around the world.
Ann Hasseltine Judson (1789-1826) is the first lady of American missions since she was the first American woman to go overseas as a missionary.
She sailed with her husband, Adoniram, for Calcutta, India, in 1812. Ordered to leave India, they began their missionary work in Rangoon, Burma in 1813. Ann learned the Burmese and Siamese languages, did translation work, taught Burmese girls, and managed her household and cared for her husband during his 18 month imprisonment in 1824-25.
“I once ran across an old book that has become a prized part of my library. It was a biography simply titled Borden of Yale. It told of a man named William Borden who went to Yale University as an undergraduate and afterward became a missionary candidate to China. Heir to the Borden Dairy estate, he was a millionaire by the time he graduated high school. As a gift on the event of his graduation, Borden was sent on a trip around the world. Traveling throughout Asia, the Middle East and Europe, he experienced a growing concern for the lost of the world. He wrote home to say, ‘I’m going to give my life to prepare for the mission field.’ After making this decision, he wrote two words in the back of his Bible: ‘No Reserves.’
“From there Borden went on to Yale University with purpose and determination. During his first semester he began a campus-wide student movement to meet regularly, read the Bible and pray. By the end of his first year, 150 fellow freshmen were meeting for weekly Bible studies. By the time he was a senior, 1,000 out of Yale’s 1,300 students were joining together in these groups. Beyond the campus, Borden founded the Yale Hope Mission to reach out to those on the streets of New Haven, Connecticut. All of this was set in the context of his call to missionary service, which soon focused on Muslims in China. After graduation, Borden was offered numerous high-paying jobs, but all were declined in order to pursue the mission field. At this point, he wrote down two more words in the back of his Bible: ‘No Retreats.’
“Borden next went to graduate school at Princeton Seminary, where he was ordained to the ministry. After he finished his studies, he set sail for China through the China Inland Mission, stopping first in Egypt to study Arabic. While there, he contracted cerebrospinal meningitis. In less than a month, William Borden was dead. He was twenty-six years old. But before his death, knowing that the steps of his life would take him no further, he had written two more words in his Bible; beneath ‘No Reserves’ and ‘No Retreats’ he had written No Regrets.'” (adapted from Mrs. Howard Taylor, Borden of Yale ’09)
Now, let me tell you about the woman behind this great man! Listen to her words on the eve of her son’s departure for Egypt where he was to go to learn Arabic and learn how to share the gospel with Muslims.
“In the quiet of my room that night, worn and weary and sad, I feel asleep asking myself again and again, ‘Is it, after all, worthwhile?’ And in the morning, as I awoke to consciousness, a still small voice was speaking in my heart, answering the question with these words:
‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…’” The thought strengthened her for that day – the last day she would see him alive.
She wrote later:
“Each day, from his childhood, William and I had prayed that the will of God might be done in his life. And, as we parted on the Mauretania, we prayed again. I wonder if it occurred to him later, as it did to me, that we had prayed that he might be taken to China and made a blessing among its millions of Muslims – but only ‘if it be Thy will.’”
From childhood, Mary Borden had consecrated her William to the Lord. Have you done the same with your children?
Mary Ann Faulkner Thomson wrote the hymn, “O Zion Haste Thy Mission High Fulfilling” in 1871. One of her stanzas goes like this:
“Give of thy sons to bear the message glorious, Give of thy wealth to speed them on their way, Pour out thy soul for them in prayer victorious, And all thou spendest Jesus will repay.”
Clara Elliot trained and gave her son to bear the message of the gospel to the Auca Indians in Ecuador. As a young man at Wheaton College, Jim prayed:
“God, I pray thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you, Lord Jesus.”
Jim Elliot was born in Portland, Oregon on October 8 1927. He was the third child of four. He had two older brothers, Herbert and Robert, and he had a younger sister named Jane. His father, Fred, was an evangelist. His father couldn’t finish school because he had to work. His mother, Clara, finished her studies and opened a chiropractic practice in their home to support the family. She devoted herself to the task of preparing her children for a lifetime of walking with God and ministering to others.
The fruit of her labors is seen in Jim Elliot’s note he wrote to his mother upon his departure to serve as a missionary in Ecuador:
“Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as a heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So, with the strong arm of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly– all of them, straight at the Enemy’s hosts.” — Jim Elliot, age 22, Shadow of the Almighty, p.132.
Recently, one of our leaders at Trinity wrote me: “I was really moved this morning as I read a comment from David Brainerd, “…Lord, let me make a difference for you that is utterly disproportionate to who I am..” ( John 15:5, 7-8 )
David Brainerd did not live to see his impact for the Lord in his lifetime. He died when he was 29 years old and his biggest impact for the kingdom came after his death as hundreds of men and women were challenged to invest their lives for the sake of the lost after reading his journal. The list of folks whom God led to consecrate their lives in service to Jesus were people like William Carey, Henry Martyn, and John Wesley.
There are many lessons to learn from a life like David Brainerd’s, but here’s an important one. At times when we grow discouraged about our own lack of perceived impact for Christ and the times of fruitlessness and meager results, Brainerd’s story reminds us to exercise caution in assessing own own service for Christ. We don’t know the complete story yet and will not this side of heaven.
Thus, let us take courage today from knowing that God continues to use frail and crooked sticks like us to strike the straight blows to advance His kingdom’s rule and reign in this world! This is truly the miracle of the ministry.
May He do so today through us for the glory and honor of His great name!
Here are a few things we believe about missions at Trinity.
We want “to so present Christ Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men, women, boys and girls shall come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their Savior, and serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His church.” (Anglican Archbishops’ Committee of Inquiry into the Evangelistic Work of the Church, 1918).
We believe that every believer must be a global Christian with a global vision because our God is a global God.
We believe that Jesus’ authority on earth allows us to dare to go to all the nations. His authority in heaven gives us our only hope of success.
We believe that His presence with us compels us with delight to go and make disciples of all nations.
Thus, “evangelism means exhorting sinners to accept Christ Jesus as their Savior, recognizing that in the most final and far-reaching sense they are lost without Him. Nor is this all. Evangelism also means summoning men to receive Christ Jesus as all that He is—Lord, as well as Savior—and therefore to serve Him as their King in the fellowship of His church, the company of those who worship Him, witness to Him, and work for Him here on earth.” – J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1991), 39)