The Jesus-Haus in Herrnhut is the fruit of the Moravian movement which started 300 years ago. Here is the account of a Czech-Australian’s personal faith journey intertwined with the wonderful history of the prayer initiative.
What a wonderful book launch by the Canberra Declaration we had on Monday 20 June 2022, for “Moravian Miracle”. I am so excited about this initiative!
Why? This is so dear to my heart. This completes a circle God started in 2001 when Peter Boudny, a youth pastor from the Moravian church in Liberec, Czech Republic, drove me 30km across the German border on my first visit to Herrnhut.
He arranged for me to stay in the then prayer house, which was the home of Christian and Maren Winter, and informed me: “You’re staying for a week!”
When I arrived, my hosts Christian and Maren Winter said, “By the way, there is another Australian couple staying here at the same time.” They turned out to be Noel and Barbara Bell, who pioneered prayer networks by founding Intercessors for Australia, the first national Australian prayer network that I ever heard of.
The Bells led our small prayer group back to Herrnhut in 2002 to pray with Christian and his small band. I remember that Christian stood on the wooden prayer tower which overlooks the famous cemetery. He prayed loudly in German, decreeing “dry bones to come back to life again.”
Christian was given the vision to purchase the Herrnhut hospital building (built in Count Zinzendorf’s time) to become a “Jesus-Haus” — a house of prayer where visitors could stay.
Originally there was opposition from the Herrnhut church leaders, being resistant to the Holy Spirit and distrustful of Christian and Maren’s little group. For a few years, it was a stalemate. The little town of Herrnhut began to lose shops, young people left and the population was dwindling. The local bank closed.
Then YWAM came and purchased a nearby castle (used by Hitler in the war), turning it into a leaders’ training base. The YWAM youngsters brought fresh life and a new dynamic. They befriended the local people, attended regular services in the main church and patronised shops. Because the YWAM base is a nice walk through the forest away from the village, it isn’t a threat, and helps the local economy, plus they support the worship and prayer sets in the 24/7 Jesus-Haus today.
Eventually, Christian was able to fulfil his dream, around the time of his passing in 2004. The old hospital was bought, refurbished (a huge job) and turned into today’s Jesus-Haus — a lovely two-storey campus with prayer rooms, guest rooms and a worship basement. Zinzendorf’s inscription has been found on the beams of the roof.
Have you ever had a puzzle where you had the pieces, but they did not fit together for 50 years?
When I was three months old, my father Jiri Ludikar escaped from our home in Prague, Czech Republic to take his younger brother to safety from the Communist secret police.
A year later, my mother miraculously escaped across the border into West Germany, taking my sister (aged seven) and baby Misha, myself. Mum had set up a bogus plan to fly to Sweden, and at the last minute took the train across the German border to reunite with my father. That night, secret police came to her home to confiscate her visa.
We had no money, no connections, and lived in refugee camps in Germany and Luxembourg.
My parents found menial jobs to save for passage to a safe country. Meanwhile, I was in a Red Cross orphanage.
We finally got to Australia by ship in 1950, when I was in the care of Catholic nuns in a foundling home in Perth, WA. From there I went to St Joseph’s Boarding School, Perth at the age of three, where I stayed as a boarder till 11 years old.
As you can imagine, English became my first language. My family spoke Czech, which I never understood.
The dear Catholic sisters imparted the fear of God and devotion to prayer, plus they protected us from predators, but we had no assurance of salvation through the Cross of Jesus Christ.
In his broken English, my Dad would tell me Czech history stories, about Hussite wars and also our hero, the reformer Jan Hus. Due to the language barrier, I couldn’t connect the dots. My family were humanists with good morals, agnostics, so as a child I worried about my Dad’s salvation. From the age of 6, I prayed for him to believe so he could go to Heaven. For 30 years my puzzle pieces got more jumbled as I left the Catholic school and lost my faith in that church.
When I was aged 19, Elizabeth Lim, a Chinese student, invited me to Nollamarra Full Gospel church. I was radically saved, but backslid quickly, due to a lack of discipleship.
I then married and divorced within two years. That took me into a search for identity through short-term relationships, amateur acting in Perth and finally back into university studies.
That’s where God graciously led me into nine months of on-campus Bible studies, on the Book of Ecclesiastes.
Ecclesiastes was similar to the story of my search for the meaning of life over the past four years.
I was back in the family of God again — a little Assemblies of God church in Freemantle. Once again, there was no discipleship or teaching. So I fell in love with an atheist, backslid briefly, then surrendered my relationship for Jesus, this time for good.
Most of my discipling and teaching started in 1975. I went to New Zealand for a six-week holiday and stayed for 13 years, in a small rural church with tremendous teaching gifts. I learned much of the Bible, but unfortunately, that church ended up under legalistic control. As Graham Cooke says, “It’s all part of the training!”
It felt like a black hole with no way out. No prospects for a career, community or a future.
Wonderfully, the faithful Shepherd brought me out from New Zealand back to Australia in 1987. Within two days, I was miraculously enrolled for a Masters degree at QUT in Medical Physics — Physics was my passion.
Connecting the Dots
After my mother died in the cold bleak Prague winter of 1997, I vowed never to return to the Czech Republic again.
But God has a way of changing our minds!
September 28, 2000: Lying on the floor in absolute silence, global delegates to the PfAN Convocation in Jerusalem were experiencing the manifest holy awesome presence of God. It was Yom Kippur, and the Intifada had just started under Yasser Arafat. The Holy Spirit clearly impressed upon me: “Go back to the Czech Republic.”
It was the start of the restoration of my spiritual heritage from Czech lands.
Back at work in Medical Physics at Westmead hospital, Sydney, I met a Czech X-ray engineer and his wife, a fervent believer. Jiri and Jana told me of an OM conference happening in Prague in 2001.
I attended and met an American missionary couple, Ken and Linda Stapleton, who was serving with the Moravian church in Liberec, North Bohemia. They invited me to go back with them for a visit and introduced me to the Moravian church leaders. Who were these Moravians? Rick Joyner’s new book introduced me to Herrnhut and the Moravian miracle.
When I was a child, my father had mentioned the Czech United Brethren. It meant little to me at the time, but now I learned these were the original core believers in the Herrnhut community.
God was educating me on my lost Czech Christian heritage. How exciting! That brings me back to my first visit to Herrnhut, and the start of connecting with the 24/7 prayer house vision of the Jesus-Haus.
As a Czech-born Australian, I long for the promised awakening in the Southland of the Holy Spirit.
In the book Moravian Miracle, published exactly 300 years after Herrnhut began, there is a key for our nation.
Everything sprang from devotion to our Lord Jesus, lifted up as the Lamb of God.
Wouldn’t it be marvellous if we replaced the current Aussie culture of entitlement, apathy and self-focus with a rebuilt devotion to our Lord as the Lamb of God? Then we ourselves would reflect His Lamb nature, acting like lambs and not retaliating to the hostile “wolf” culture of cancelling, gender confusion, etc.
This would be a radical counter-cultural witness to the pre-saved around us. May we regain the Moravian vision to win for the Lamb the reward of His suffering.
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