Technically you can’t join the 24-7 Prayer movement. You can only join in! You can, however, join a 24-7 community if you wish. There are 24-7 communities on most continents and they can be located through the 24-7prayer.com website. Many 24-7 communities have members of the OMS within them. You can join the OMS without joining a local 24-7 community, without even ever darkening the door of a prayer room.
From a charitable and governmental standpoint, the OMS is part of the 24-7 Prayer Charity. The OMS is shaped and led by the OMS Development Team which is presently under the oversight of the 24-7 Directors and Trustees.
Initially yes. The OMS started as a secret order, before being made public in 1740.
The rules of the original OMS say that it ‘chooses to stay secret and work out of the public eye’. There seem to have been two reasons for this. In Zinzendorf’s day, people would join an order for the privilege or status that it gave them. The OMS wanted to avoid this, and even had a rule that if anyone sought to use their membership for fame or personal advancement they would have to resign. The other reason was that the OMS had an unusually diverse membership, including people from different branches of Christianity (the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury and the Catholic Archbishop of Paris were both members) and from nations which might be political or military opponents. To avoid controversy, it helped for members to keep their involvement private.
In 1738 some documents relating to the OMS came into the hands of Zinzendorf’s opponents, who tried to use them to portray him as a secretive political agitator. To counter these claims, the full rules of the Order were made public in 1740. Thereafter the OMS continued in the open, presumably because secrecy had by then become more of a liability than an asset.
The 21st century expression of the OMS is completely open in its approach, and everything about the Order is published either in books or online.
No. There is no evidence to suggest that Zinzendorf himself was a Freemason or that the OMS had masonic links.
There seem to be 3 reasons why people speculate that this might be the case.
- We know of one original OMS member, General James Oglethorpe, who was involved in the Freemasons, although this was unrelated to his later membership of the OMS.
- There was a prominent 18th century German Freemason named ‘Zinnendorf’, and some people get confused by the similar names.
- Because the OMS was initially a secret order, people conclude (without any evidence) that it ‘must’ have been masonic in nature.
Masonic historians are normally keen to highlight historical figures who were members of their organisation, but they themselves generally debunk the idea that Zinzendorf was a Freemason.