The 24-7 Prayer movement has been praying continually since 1999, inspired by Zinzendorf and the Moravians. His Order of the Mustard Seed was finally relaunched by leaders of the 24-7 movement in 2005 as a tool for discipleship and a common Rule of Life for the growing network of Boiler Room communities associated with 24-7 Prayer.
The OMS is administered to this day by the 24-7 Prayer Charity (No. 1091413) and overseen by the 24-7 Communities Team.
There is a clear process, which involves a full year of preparation (October – September) in which prospective members are guided through a number of resources and exercises for personal reflection as well as an informal interview.
At the end of the preparatory year candidates, if accepted, may make their vows in a special service at the 24-7 Conference. Thereafter they may wear the OMS ring and attach the OMS moniker to their names.
The OMS is primarily a dispersed order which means that members outwork their vows in the context of local churches. However, there are exciting plans afoot to establish the very first residential OMS community where our Rule will provide the background for a common life and all members will be welcome to come stay!
Rules of Life should never be allowed to replace the simple Gospel because they are meant to be an expression and application of Christ’s call to discipleship. One of the early names for Christianity was simply ‘The Way’, because this is not a doctrinal position so much as a way of life.
Saint Francis of Assisi was one of the greatest saints ever given to the church whose Rule was originally just a set of bible verses. “I prefer you not talk to me about any other Rule,” he said, “nor recommend any other ideal or manner of life than that which the Lord in his mercy has revealed and given to me. He told me I am to be a new kind of fool in this world.” (St Francis of Assisi, Mirror of Perfection, 68)
Francis’ ‘Rule of the fool’ in all its simplicity turned the world upside down. Having been commissioned by God to ‘go repair my church which is falling into ruins’ Francis simply obeyed for the rest of his life and, in the process, ‘returned to the gospel with such force that it shook the entire world’.
 Wallis, Jim in Wallis, Jim & Hollyday ed. Cloud of Witnesses, Orbis Books, New York, p.6
The rules of the original OMS say that it ‘chooses to stay secret and work out of the public eye’, and this seems to have been for two reasons: humility and unity. Firstly, humility: In Zinzendorf’s day, there was status attached to membership of ‘Knightly Orders’ and the founders of the OMS wanted to avoid such ostentation. They even had a rule warning that if anyone sought to use their OMS membership for fame or personal advancement they would have to resign. Secondly, unity. The other reason for secrecy 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.
However, 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 simply 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 transparent 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 acknowledge that Count Zinzendorf was not a freemason.