Tonight’s speaker was Christian Führer
, the pastor of the Nikolai Kirche in Leipzig, who has been instrumental in the prayer and peaceful resistance movement
that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall
. I must say I hung on this guy’s lips from beginning to end.
In the beginning of the eighties the Nikolai Kirche opened her doors for ‘alternative’ young people who had formed protest groups for disarmament. “I suddenly realised,” says Christian, “that if we would open our doors for these types, the communists would no longer be able to say that the church was just a museum, a place for old ladies waiting to die. The church could again become a grassroots counter movement.”
In 1982 the Nikolai Kirche started weekly prayer meetings, that went on unbroken for seven years, until the Wall fell. When discouragement kicked in, they reminded each other of Jesus’ words that when two or three gather, He is in their midst. “We realised that if we would stop praying, there would be no hope for change in Germany.”
A few years later Christian started a group for people who wanted to leave the ‘socialist paradise’. He put a sign in front of the church building saying ‘this church is open for everyone’. “Soon we became the best guarded place in the whole GDR because we took ordinary people seriously, and offered them hope.”
When in 1988 a group of protesters got arrested in Berlin, the Nikolai Kirche started daily prayer meetings for their release. Hundreds of people joined in, many of them non-Christians. The sermon on the mount was central to these prayer gatherings, that quickly drew over 2,000 people. This made the government nervous and they sent hundreds of undercover agents to the prayer meetings. “This was just great,” says Christian. “The government sent its employees to church, and they were now forced to listen to Jesus’ teachings. So I started the meeting with a ‘warm welcome to the unofficial representants of the state’. Everyone laughed, except the secret police guys. The people turned their heads and could immediately spot the cops. This broke the tension.”
By October 1989 over 60.000 people had gathered in and around the church. It was the largest demonstration ever held in the GDR. Everyone had brought candles. “The Lord reminded me of this Scripture that says that ‘it’s not by might, and not by power, but by His Spirit’. The only successful revolution in Germany was a non-violent one.
Later the police stated that they were prepared for everything, but not for prayer and candles.”
Another example that history is in the hands of the intercessors. The full text of Christian’s is available in German