Before you begin, take a few moments to quiet your mind and prepare your heart to receive God’s Word. Read the following passage at least twice, and then pray through the points below.
1 “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars, 2 while their children remember their altars and their Asherim, beside every green tree and on the high hills ..."
5 "Thus says the Lord:“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. 6 He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come.He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 10 “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
God rebukes Judah for serving idols in every way they could (Jeremiah 17:2). The Scripture states that their sin was engraved on their hearts, so deep was their love of serving things rather than God (17:1). Take a few moments to search you heart. Ask God to reveal any idols—like comfort, approval, power, or control—that are keeping you from caring about the nations or about God's will for them. Take some time to feel the weight of your sin and to think about its effects. (There is no guilt or shame in Christ, but when we sin, we offend our holy God.) Now confess your sin to God, and believe that He has forgiven your sin and cleansed you from that unrighteousness through the blood of Jesus.
Ask God to reveal any selfishness, apathy, or other sin that would keep you from fully embracing His heart for the nations or your part in the mission to reach all people with the gospel of Jesus.
Ask God to cause our church to repent of idolatry and from anything that keeps us from caring about the nations or their eternity. Pray that we would corporately seek God first above all things and not give idols any room to settle on the thrones of our hearts.