The Intangible Factor: The Secret to National Transformation
National transformation is commonly thought of as the integration of God's ways into the laws, government policy, economics, and culture of a nation. While this is largely true, an intangible factor must first be dealt with before these tangible changes can create sustainable transformation.
This intangible factor, the one that so often eludes us, is the healing of the heart of the nation. Only when the heart of a nation is healed can true transformation take place.
God began making me aware of the centrality of the national heart back in 2004, when He first asked my wife and me to return to Canada. He directed us to move to the province of Quebec, known by Christians as the "graveyard of churches and ministries." When I wondered if, instead, we could move to the more temperate province of British Columbia (Quebec is also bitterly cold in the winter), God asked me, "What good is it if a person is beautiful and appears healthy, but their heart is sick and they could drop dead at any minute?" After that, we moved to Quebec!
Since the Lord first asked me that question nearly two decades ago, I have had the privilege of witnessing numerous heart transformations in nations and the remarkable changes that have followed in the political, economic, and spiritual landscape of the nation.
God's question also prompted me to examine how God speaks of nations. The scriptural understanding is not as we understand in modern times, a geopolitical location delineated by lines on a map. A nation is a people group, an ethnos, a race, and God views these people groups as corporate persons. We see evidence of this in the way God speaks to nations through prophets: "Zion my daughter," "Israel my firstborn," and "Babylon the harlot." The term the Body of Christ, too, alludes to a group of people as a corporate person.
It is not surprising, then, that like a person, a nation's ability to thrive does not originate from the outside, but from within. When Israel left Egypt, outwardly they had been delivered and freed, but inwardly they carried the wounds, mindsets, and culture of slaves. As a people scarred by slavery and fear, their heart needed to be healed through a new revelation of God's character. They needed to know He was not a harsh slave master, but a loving Father. Only then did they become the warrior nation who could take the Promised Land. Just as individual transformation is an inner work that then manifests externally, national transformation also originates in the heart.
It also became clear through my studies that God doesn't only judge individuals within the nations. He also judges each nation as a corporate whole. In Matthew 25:31–41, Jesus says He will return to judge all nations, either as sheep or as goat nations. Given that these nations are intended as Christ's inheritance (see Ps. 2:8), it is important that the nations are prepared: "What joy for the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people he has chosen as his inheritance" (Ps. 33:12 NLT).
Jesus will judge each nation according to their capacity to walk in the ways of the Kingdom of God in all spheres of society. Goat nations are those who lived in their own ways instead of according to God's ways and leadership. The sheep nations are those who have followed the ways of the Good Shepherd, which is evidenced in the wellbeing of their society. None of this can happen unless the heart of the nation is healed. In fact, healing the heart of a goat nation can enable it to be transformed into a sheep nation.
How then do we, as leaders, assess or measure the health of a nation's heart? A heart cannot really be quantified; it is intangible. However, the process is similar to when a person goes to the doctor's office and fills out an intake form. To begin, I frequently ask its people, "How is your nation?" This question evokes points of pain in the national history, things such as civil war, genocides, communism, slavery, depressions, colonization, divisions or separations, racism, foreign attacks, and betrayals.
Many other clues about the brokenness of a national heart exist. We can discover them in common sayings or mindsets, such as, in Quebec, the belief, "Je suis né pour un petit pain" (I am born for a small loaf of bread/insignificant destiny), or in Czech the saying, "About us but without us," which alludes to the fear of betrayal and victimization. An investigation into the history and culture of the nation also invariably turns up areas of brokenness. All these point to wounds or illnesses in the heart of the nation, wounds that God can then show us how to treat—much as a doctor would treat a wounded person.
Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the nuances of brokenness are not always readily visible to the nationals, because they are familiar, and they do not know an alternative. For this reason, the first step in healing a nation's heart comes when God sends a messenger to the nation. God often anoints an outsider for this step. Once the message of God arrives through His person of choice, the healing (or the next stage of the healing) can begin.
Each nation and its healing journey is unique. However, just as with individuals, we find some common threads. The following nine keys can be used to unlock healing and restoration in a nation's heart.
Key 1: Relational Foundations
Family is the highest form of authority in the Kingdom. God is our Father, and Jesus taught us to pray, "Our Father," not "My Father."
Building relationships connected at the heart level is essential to a thriving nation. The biblical command to honor father and mother came with the promise of long life (see Ex. 20:12).
Family is crucial to any new work in a nation. Thus, we must reach out to the fathers and mothers in the land. By doing so, we honor them and acknowledge what God has already been doing. It shows humility and enables us to join the strength of many faithful laborers. When we create an environment of honor, it turns the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, which helps prevent judgement upon the nation (see Mal. 4:6).
Key 2: Hearing and Obeying God
Success requires seeking God for His ways and His timing. Israel followed this model to take hold of the Promised Land. We too must ask the Lord what to do, how to do it, and when to begin. The answer will be unique to each nation or corporate person.
In Czechia, after several years of repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation between Protestants and Catholics, Czech and past oppressive nations, and so forth, God declared, "It's a New Day!" over the nation and drew the people into a new relationship with Him. In Slovakia, God proclaimed, "I see a New Slovakia!" and began a process of renewing the hearts of the people. In Quebec, God told us to facilitate healing through a creative art festival called "Quebec, I Love You." While God has moved in ways unique to the circumstances and personality of each nation, regional gatherings have always played a key role in the progression of revelation and healing.
Key 3: The Remnant
In 2 Chronicles 7:14, we find the specific people called to heal their land. God calls them "My people"—meaning the people of God, not all people in the nation.
This remnant is like a hinge that changes the direction of a door. They are the hinges of HIStory. These individuals do not have to be numerous to make a difference. God told Elijah He had set aside 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal (see Rom. 11:4). When Abraham interceded with the Lord for Sodom, it says God would have been satisfied with a remnant of ten righteous people (see Gen. 18:32).
Synergy occurs in the corporate gathering: One puts 1,000 to flight; two put 10,000 to flight (see Deut. 32:30; Josh. 23:10).
Key 4: Biblical Prescription for Healing: National issues need to be dealt with on a national level
In Joel 2, they blew the trumpet and called a national assembly to stand before the Lord. The goal is not for every believer to stand before God, but a representation or remnant. This is only effective when the call is done on a national scale and across dividing lines (such as political, denominational, and racial divisions). In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God laid out a prescription for a nation's healing, which is the responsibility of the remnant: 1. Humble themselves; 2. Pray; 3. Seek His face; 4. Repent from their evil ways. Too often, believers focus on only the second part (prayer), so nations only see pockets of limited breakthrough. To complete the prescription, we need to follow all four instructions on a national scale. Then God brings the breakthrough He promises: He hears, forgives, and heals the land.
Key 5: God's People Will Come
Sometimes people worry that they will prepare a gathering, but no one will come. However, in Psalm 110, the Lord promises to make His people willing for the call at hand. David writes, "Your people shall be willing in the day of your power…" (Ps 110:3 KJV). It is our job to get the word out to the best of our ability, but it is God who will make His people—the remnant—ready on the day of power, the day of battle. A spiritual battle rages for the soul of nations. God's people will be stirred and willingly drawn to stand together; they will come and heed the call of God.
Key 6: Prophetic Acts
We must never underestimate the power of prophetic acts to release victory well beyond the end of a gathering or meeting. When Elisha told the King of Israel to strike the ground with the arrows as a prophetic act of victory (see 2 Kings 13:18) and he only struck the ground three times, he only got victory three times. This prophetic act had national repercussions. Grace for national breakthrough exists in prophetic acts when the remnant and the apostles and prophets of the nation come together and stand in the presence of the Lord.
Key 7: Laying Down Our Agendas
When we stand together before God, we lay down our agendas and become like a spiritual Switzerland, a neutral land. At the gathering in Antioch (see Acts 13), the teacher did not teach, and the prophet did not prophesy. Everyone laid down their crowns and mantels and focused on the Lord. When we gather, we lay down our ministries, our agendas, and our passions in order to better hear the Lord for the nation. The key to doing this is trusting that God will bring the fruition of our individual assignments. This frees us to hear God's instructions in the context of healing the national heart, and it helps us avoid the greatest hindrance to hearing God—offense. In this way, revelation flows freely in the gathering.
Key 8: Minister to the Lord
In Acts 13, the believers gathered together to minister to the Lord with gratitude. Their worship was focused on Jesus, telling Him how amazing He is. Blessing the Lord attracts His presence, and the Holy Spirit comes and releases divine strategy. In Acts 13, the Holy Spirit revealed the strategy for reaching the gentile nations by sending
Barnabas and Saul. King David understood the reality that God inhabits the praises of His people, and he pursued God's presence through worship. As a result, he was able to hear God's specific instructions that granted him victory wherever he went.
Key 9: The Gibeonite Key
In 2 Samuel 21, David asked the Lord why the land had suffered from a famine for three years. The Lord told him it was because Saul had killed the Gibeonites. Israel had sworn to protect them, but Saul had violated that agreement. Because he inquired of the Lord, David received a key to ending the famine in the land. He met with the Gibeonites and atoned for the wrong that had been done, and the famine ended. Like David, we can ask the Lord for the Gibeonite keys in the nations where God leads us—the keys that will end the suffering and pain and bring restoration and healing.
Over the years, God has often directed our path using these nine keys. Through them, we have seen significant breakthroughs. When the heart receives healing, transformation flows into society. I will briefly share a few examples of this below.
The nation of Canada was founded by the French, but later taken over by the English. Centuries of tension between these two people groups within Canada ensued. For years, the French Canadian province of Quebec supported their strong separatist party which, on two occasions, nearly succeeded in separating Quebec from the rest of Canada. However, God's love was greater than any divisions. Through many prophetic acts, gatherings for reconciliation, a unique "Quebec, I Love You" festival of arts, and more, the heart of Quebec began to undergo transformation. At one point, 5,000 French and English people stood together before the Lord, declaring they were of one heart, and together they rewrote the history of their relationship before God.
The cumulative work of the remnant tipped the scales in the spirit realm. The Prime Minister acknowledged the French Canadians as a unique "nation within Canada," and the heart of the French Canadian people ceased striving for separation. In the Federal election (2011) following the end of the "Quebec, I Love You" tour, the people of Quebec completely turned their back on their own separatist Bloc Quebecois. The party received so few votes that it lost official party status. This miracle could only have been accomplished after hearts were restored. The political transformation continued, and 60 percent of the members of Parliament are now born again Christians.
During the years of the conservative (and largely Christian) governance, particularly from 2008 to 2015, the Canadian economy did very well relative to foreign advanced economies, and the performance of the Canadian dollar was extremely strong. Employment growth in that period was also far stronger than in the US and many other advanced economies. Clearly, healing the heart led to quantifiable economic changes, as well as shifts in the relational climate within the nation.
One thing was missing, however, which we have reason to believe may be the cause of lost ground. No national-level reconciliation happened between Catholics and Protestants. So, the victory we gained was limited to about a decade. The lesson we learned was invaluable. The giants Joshua failed to address returned in later times. We can use these lessons to bring breakthrough to the heart of Europe (see Josh. 13:13).
Czechia and Slovakia: God has recently highlighted these two nations as being two chambers of the heart of Europe. Why two nations? It may, in fact, be more than two. We are
still in the process of receiving revelation, as the Lord makes things clear through the gatherings. The people of Czech and Slovakia are originally part of Great Moravia, which used to cover a much larger area of land but was divided up geopolitically. However, God still regards the Moravian people as a nation and, it would seem, as the heart of Europe.
Czechia: In a nation where division, criticism, and striving have been the rule of the day, we are seeing massive breakthroughs bringing down walls of separation in the Body of Christ. Restoration between Catholics and Evangelicals has produced remarkable results. Leaders of different streams in the Body of Christ, who have not sat together at the same table for decades, are not only meeting, but are connecting in heart-to-heart friendships. Believers from all backgrounds are not only reconciling, but are also coming together to form a national family; they care deeply for one another from the heart and are pressing in for God's promises for their nation.
God's people have begun to again get in touch with their hearts. In a society where, due to wounds of the past, intellect has been esteemed above heart, many have lived stuck in their minds. As individuals have received the love of our Father and love from one another, healing has broken out all across the country. Families are being restored. Marriages are being strengthened and healed. People are learning to relate more deeply with God and each other. The work in Czechia is still in its early stages, and so we have yet to see how these changes in the Church will release changes in the nation. In our experience, they always do. Just as judgement starts with the house of God, so also, do healing and transformation (see 1 Pet. 4:17).
Slovakia: Oppressed for a millennia by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and more recently by communism, Slovakia suffered from the wounds of an orphan heart. But in March 2017, God released a word to the nation that He saw a "new Slovakia" and a new era for the nation. A year later, on the heels of the government murder of an investigative reporter and his fiancée, the Slovaks took to the streets in mass protests, demanding an end to government corruption. Everything began to shift. God has taken the nation by the hand, revealing His vision for a new Slovakia.
In May 2018, we began regional gatherings across the nation according to the Joel 2 and Acts 13 model. In the last gathering, just a week before the national election (established to replace the corrupt government), the Holy Spirit revealed Gibeonite keys for repentance and reconciliation and inspired prophetic acts to usher in breakthrough. God began to shake the nation free from insecurity, fear, the false spirit of religion, and the ego-centric political spirit. As the people entered their identities as children of God, love, honor, and genuine family relationships were restored.
As a result of healing in the nation's heart, transformation has begun to flow into the Slovakian government. Prior to the 2020 elections, the left party had held power for three terms. But after the corruption in the government was revealed and the Prime Minister stepped down, in preparation for the February 2020 elections, Christian politicians began to unite with an anticorruption coalition of parties, and the public began to favor the values of the Christian politicians. One week after our last gathering, the Slovaks voted for the Christian politicians and their coalitions. As a result, a new government (in large part Christian) formed and now holds a constitutional majority. Christians also now hold chairs in the State administration. This uniquely positions the nation for change and for the integration of God's ways into laws and modes of governance.
As we can see through these examples, and in Scripture, God promised the nations as an inheritance for our Lord Jesus Christ. As His ambassadors in the earth, it is our responsibility and privilege to bring healing and restoration to our nations and to present them to the Lord as an inheritance worthy of His sacrifice. This requires us to lay down our own agendas and walk with sensitivity to the Lord as He guides us through the nine keys to restoring a nation's heart. "May the Lamb who was slain receive the reward of His suffering!"
Hany is the founder and CEO of the Global Leadership Symposium and the Global Thrive Index. His 20-plus years of experience in dream interpretation and prophetic ministry, coupled with his work and studies in global affairs and reconciliation, have positioned him as an executive adviser who not only provides strategic counsel to business and political leaders around the world, but who also equips modern-day Josephs and Daniels. Hany also collaborates extensively with national leaders to heal the hearts and release the God-given identity of their nations. Until 2021 he was facilitating national movements in Czechia and Slovakia, the heart of Europe.