“In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. – Isaiah 11:6 (NLT)
It started as what was seen by many – including many Government officials – as outright rebellion. The culprits were children whose ages ranged from about four to fourteen years old. The year was 1707. The misdeeds were carried out in a region along the Polish and Czechoslovakian borders known as Silesia.
During this time period, Europe was in a struggle for its spiritual identity. Would it continue to follow the dictates of the autocratic and politically charged Catholic Church? Would it forge its own way as Henry VIII had done in England? Or, would it subscribe to the ideas of Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli and others who advocated for salvation by grace rather than works and proposed the radical idea of the Priesthood of all believers? Persecution abounded as state-based religion imposed severe restrictions and punishment, including death, on those who did not tow the official line.
It was in this harsh and troublesome environment that a group of children forged a strategy to combat the powers-to-be with the most powerful weapon they could find – PRAYER. A few children began to gather in town to pray together three times a day. They would often meet at seven in the morning, lunch time and again at four in the afternoon. As the group grew, they began to draw the attention and ire of town officials. They moved their meetings to the fields, where they quickly grew and spread to other villages. Many meetings were in the hundreds, and some reports have as many as a thousand or more children gathering to pray, read the Bible and sing songs of praise to God.
One of the most baffling things about these meetings, is that they were not conceived, organized or run by adults. The children did it all. It is reported that one Father was so concerned for the safety of his son and daughter that he locked them in their rooms to keep them from attending the prayer meeting. When he saw that they would do whatever was necessary to go anyway, he relented and released them.
Possibly out of fear of what the government might do to their children, many parents began to attend the meetings to form a circle of protection around their praying children. As the children cried out in repentance, prayed and sang, the parents wept at the sights and sounds of their children’s devotion. In the village of Friedburg, the hangman was dispatched to whip the participating children but when he saw the sincerity of their hearts, he disobeyed orders.
Over three-hundred years later, these little children and their civil-disobedience still tug at our hearts and convict our spirit. In a time that is so often filled with self-centered luxuries it is inspiring to think of little children who were willing to suffer persecution for the right to do something that we so often pretend we simply don’t have time for.
Father God, thank You for the little children who teach us. Help us to get the vision of prayer that these children had. Remind us that we simply don’t have time NOT to pray. If ever the world has had need of You and Your guidance it is now. Bless my readers I pray. In Jesus Name, AMEN!