Land-locked into the center of Europe, the Czech Republic has been dubbed Lady Europe’s “heart” since the Middle Ages. Czech history and myth is just what you would expect – full of political intrigue, grand battles, and characters straight out of fairy tales. The tale goes that Forefather Czech brought his Slavic clan into the mountains that surround the current country and, looking out upon the lands, claimed them for his people. It can be surmised that there have been people with Czech blood living in these lands since the mid 7th century.
The history is not only filled with magical adventure, though – the Czech people also have a rich history as a Christian nation. The Byzantine church sent missionaries to these “barbaric” lands in the 9th century with one mission – to translate the Word of God into the native tongue of the inhabitants. These two brothers, dubbed “the apostles to the Slavs,” opened the door for the gospel to spread into the Czech lands and to influence generations after generations of Christians. Great men of faith like the pre-reformer John Hus, or pastor and pedagogue John Amos Comenius, as well as the missionary movement of the Moravian Brethren, caused there to be rich seeds of faith planted in these lands.
Unfortunately, the last decade has all but snuffed out the legacy of these giants of faith. The history of the Czech people over the last hundred years is marked by betrayal, hopelessness, and fear. The Czech people were given their independence as a country after World War I, and within several years showed themselves to be one of the most promising economically developing countries on the continent. When Hitler, however, invaded the Czech borderlands while the Allies stood by and refused to respond, the nation spiralled. Following the end of World War II, Czech was claimed by the Soviet Union and placed under their oppressive foreign communist regime for over 40 years.
The people were desperate for hope. After several failed revolutions that left the nation more fearful and more broken, the light finally shone through with the bloodless Velvet Revolution of 1989. And with the fall of the Berlin Wall, Czech finally found itself free.
And so the people have been free for over 20 years. Yet they are not fully free. Strangely, many people do not know what to do with this freedom. Much of the older generation reminisce about the better days under communism. The current generation of mothers and fathers float somewhere in the middle – free, but still suspicious and fearful. We are also witnessing the rise of a generation untainted by communist oppression. This generation, contrary to those before them, are passionate, hopeful, and very open to the things of faith. This is an incredible open door for ministry.
It is our prayer that this next generation would hearken back to the God of their fathers. It is our desire to see the seeds of faith planted so many years ago find root in these students who will soon lead their nation. Just as king Josiah led the nation of Israel back to the Lord through the proclamation of the Scriptures, we long to see such leaders bringing the hope of God’s Word to this nation so needing something to hope in.
Will you join us in prayer, that the Czech people would place their hope in the only one who will not waver, betray, or abandon? Pray that Jesus Christ would be their hope.