Fostering a Heart for the Nations

I bought a Kansas State shirt. 

Not because I went to K-State or have ever even stepped foot on their campus.

I bought a Kansas State shirt because I was legitimately excited to cheer on their football team.

A year ago, I didn’t even like football. In fact, I wasn’t totally sure how it worked. And I certainly didn’t care about Kansas State. But in the past year, I have been hanging out with a certain very dedicated K-State fan. And because I know it’s important to him, I have watched games, started conversations, and asked about scores. 

At first, it was solely to demonstrate that I cared for him and the things that he cared about. But over time, I’ve actually become more invested. I ask about the score because I actually want to know the score. And I bought a shirt because I wanted to show my pride while we watched the games (and it’s really comfy).

That’s the thing about excitement, passion, and emotional investment. They are contagious.

In church, we hear the phrase “a heart for the nations” quite a bit. In fact, Antioch’s “slogan” if you will, is an expanded version of it: “a passion for Jesus and his purposes in the earth.” 

For some of you, you hear that phrase and you’re already on board, but others may be thinking, “that’s not for me,” or “that’s not my calling.” 

Each of us, if we’ve chosen to follow Jesus, is called to be after God’s heart. And throughout the entirety of scripture, we see a consistent message:

God’s heart is for the nations. 

What is the one thing holding back Jesus’ return?

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 24:14

What was the promise to the nation of Israel?

I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing… and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

Genesis 12:2-3

With the plagues in Egypt (Exodus 9:16) and the parting of the Jordan River and the Red Sea (Joshua 4:24), what was God’s motivation? The nations.

What does all of this have to do with Kansas State football? Great question.

The point is, just like I did not automatically become interested in K-State football when I started dating Josh, not all of us are going to automatically have a heart for the nations when we start following Jesus. And, like I did with Josh and K-State football, we can all do with Christ and the nations. 

How do we do catch God’s heart for the Nations?

Consider these ideas:

  • Ask God about his heart for the nations

  • Get around people that are excited about the nations and what God is doing 

  • Read books and news articles about the nations

  • Subscribe to Voice of the Martyrs (free) magazine

  • Join the Nations Prayer gathering on Tuesdays at 8:30 am (Contact me for the address)

  • Register for World Mandate

Why? Because the nations are important to God.

About the Author: Ana is a Michigan native who likes putting honey in her coffee, singing in the car, and dancing when walking would do. She works at Arbor Woman Pregnancy Center. Her heart is for every person to know the deep love, identity, and mercy that can be found in the Father.