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Many people say they don’t like reading the news. The constant negativity becomes too depressing, and it's much easier to focus on the finer things in life. We would far rather change the channel or put down the newspaper and occupy ourselves with other things. We ramble off a quick prayer for our broken world, turn off the news and get back to the things that give us comfort and safety. After all, wars and persecution aren’t happening here, right?
Keeping up with what's going on in the world connects you to God's heart.
Maybe you’re that person who doesn’t like reading the news because it’s too disheartening. You want to do something about all the problems, but you're tired of hearing about them. Maybe you've thought about doing missions, but you have no idea how to become a missionary. I hope these points below will help you understand why you should start praying with a Bible in one hand, and a newspaper in the other.
Over and over again in the Bible, God talks about the nations. He is obsessed with the nations because of His love for us, His creation. His heart is for the whole world. Not just the things we want to pray for. Not just our home country or community. The whole world. Keeping up with what's going on in the world connects you to God's heart and it's one of the most important parts of being a missionary. We might be subject to seeing terrible atrocities in the media, but He is with those we see suffering. His children are going through hardship, and He’s looking to us to partner with Him in prayer and action on their behalf.
Knowing what's going on in the world builds your prayers. Instead of praying generically, you are able to pray for people, nations, and issues more specifically. This causes your prayers become even more effective. Find out the names of government officials, and even research different countries to find out how things work in their nation. Look back in history to find context for things happening now, and pray for the future. Pray in the same way you would pray for a close friend or family member. Your prayers have power, and even more so when you are consumed with fiery passion to see God’s power released.
Contrary to the popular saying, ignorance is not bliss. You need to know what’s going on in the world because you are responsible to know. This is so key in learning how to become a missionary. God has called us to stand in the gap and be passionate intercessors. The strategy of the enemy is to distract us from the battlefield, to make us not care. That’s not what Jesus told us. In Matthew 10, He tells us to be “wise as serpents, and innocent as doves.” We are not supposed to live oblivious to the things going on around us. Knowing what’s going on globally is important for anyone who desires to see God’s Kingdom brought to earth. We need to know what we are praying for... it’s our responsibility.
For whatever reason, the media loves to focus on the negatives. Unfortunately we rarely hear about exciting and positive things. What we read and see on TV so easily can lead us to believe there is nothing good out there. But not all things happening in the world are bad. Have you heard of the numerous people being raised from the dead in Mozambique? Or what about the rapid-fire growth of the Chinese underground church? God is doing things all over the world! Miracles and inspiring events continue to happen, you just have to look for them. Mainstream media won’t cover the those things because they can't humanly explain them. Don’t stop keeping up with the world just because it all looks bad. Chances are, you’ll find a lot of positive things if you just start looking for them.
Alright, so hopefully you’re reading this right now and trying to remember where you stuffed away that newspaper. Good! Your task is laid before you, so get informed and get praying! But there’s one final reason why you need to know what’s going on in the world: you just might be called to go. Don’t get me wrong, prayer is extremely important and very necessary. However, we can’t forget Jesus’ final words. “GO, and make disciples of all nations…” When you’re praying, you should be willing to be the answer to your own prayers. 'Going' is one of the first steps in how to become a missionary. Don't be afraid if you feel called to action, get excited!
The media will try to scare you away and depress you--don't let that happen! As you find out what's going on in the world, you may discover a certain issue that tugs on your heart. Soon you may no longer be able to sit in your living room and just pray.
You just might have to go.