Nicolas Zinzendorf was born of German nobility on May 26, 1700. His father died shortly thereafter, and Nicolas was placed under the care of his maternal grandmother and later his aunt. His grandmother strongly supported the Pietist movement and read Scriptures to Nicolas in both Hebrew and Greek. By the age of 6, Zinzendorf was so deeply moved by the atoning death of Christ for him that he resolved to live the rest of his life for Christ. This resolve never wavered and, indeed, was reinforced at a deeper level at the age of 9 when he expressed his desire to have a living communion with Christ. This wish was quickly honored by the Lord. "The Savior fulfilled my wish," he would later write, "when I began to love Him, though but a child. I heard His voice repeatedly in my heart, and saw Him with the eyes of faith....I continued to converse with Him when I was quite alone...Thus, for more than fifty years, I have conversed as it were personally with the Saviour..."
Near the end of his formal schooling, in 1719, Zinzendorf traveled to Europe where he met and became friends with a Catholic cardinal. Here, he also became critically ill and fully expected to die. Upon recovering, He left Paris for home but carried with him the sense of the common faith shared by all believers. This conviction drove him to the purchase of a large estate in Germany that was later to be known as "Herrnhut," a refuge for oppressed and persecuted Christians of every persuasion and denomination. The first and largest group that began migrating to this shelter were called "Moravians." Eventually, 300 people from all over Europe called Herrnhut home. For almost 3 years the fractuousness of the world intruded into Herrnhut and brought it to the brink of dissolution. It was at this point that Nicolas Zinzendorf, in shear frustration, sat them down and preached to them for 3 hours on the blessed of Christian community. It was from this moment that repentance began to break their hardened hearts as the Holy Spirit began to move upon the disperate community of bickering Christians and soon swept the entire community. From this newly bonded body of Christ was birthed the great awakening in Europe and America. [See "Faith of our Fathers"-The Moravians- on this website for further details.]
Through the Divine inspiration - and obedience - of one person, whose sole desire from childhood was to bring souls to Christ, we see the entire world flocking to heaven's gate. The great inland China missionary thrust of Hudson Taylor was birthed from the influence of the Moravians of Herrnhut. John and Charles Wesley were dramatically changed by their influence as were the Indians of North America.
On the morning of May 9, 1760, Nicolas Zinzendorf went home to His beloved Saviour. Speaking to those gathered around him, he reflected: "Could you have thought it, that the prayer of Christ, 'that they all may be one,' would be so blissfully fulfilled among us?...Did you suppose in the beginning, that the Saviour would do as much as we now really see...I only entreated of Him a few of the firstfruits of the latter, but there are now thousands of them...what a formidable caravan from our church already stands around the Lamb!" Then he whispered to his friend, John de Watteville, "Now,my dear son, I am going to the Saviour. I am ready. If He is no longer willing to use me here, I am quite ready to go to Him."