I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

— Ephesians 1:16

Pray for missionaries in Japan to know what God requires of them at this time and that they would rely upon him for strength.

Pray for the leaders—in our nations, organisations, school, medical communities—to have wisdom in handling the current situation.

Pray for Japanese Christians to imitate Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20) in calling on the Lord, recalling his faithfulness, fixing their eyes on him, standing firm, and seeing his deliverance. May they also use every opportunity to share their faith with family, friends and colleagues.

The OMF Japan COVID-19 Taskforce (consisting of four missionaries) needs wisdom in decision-making and strength, as normal life and work continues alongside frequent meetings. Pray for God to supply all that is needed.

Pray that the hearts and minds of missionaries in Japan would be fixed on the Lord in the current uncertainty.

The OMF Japan Field Conference is due to be held at the end of March. Pray that it can go ahead as planned. Also ask God to give wisdom to those who are organizing the event and communicating with the conference hotel.

Pray for protection from the further spread of the virus in Japan.

Pray for Christians in Japan to show faith and trust in God and point people to Him in the midst of all the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Lift up the LINK ministry for young adults in Japan. The current leader of the ministry will be going on Home Assignment soon. Ask God to raise up a successor for this role and provide more workers for LINK (long and short-term).

Ask God to send more missionaries to come to Japan and work towards the revitalization of the Japanese church, as well as the spread of the gospel in Japan. Related to this is the need for necessary financial support for the missionaries who come. Intercede for the missionaries currently on Home Assignment to receive their financial clearance to be able to return to the field in time. A number of new candidates are also struggling to raise the necessary funding.

Country Profile

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, is made up of nearly 7,000 islands. Japan’s role in the international community is considerable. It is a member of the OECD, the G7 and the G20; a major aid donor; and a source of global capital and credit. In recent years, it has also increased its contribution in global security and peacekeeping efforts.

An aging population, stagnant economy, long working hours, increasing rates of singleness, and mental health issues are some of the reasons that Japan ranks among the least happy of the richer developed nations.  The suicide rate, although falling, remains the sixth highest in the world, and a recent government survey found that 25% of the population had contemplated suicide.

Religion

Most Japanese identify themselves as both Buddhist and Shinto, but surveys have shown that only one-third of people profess a religious faith. This apparent anomaly is due a difference in how ‘religion’ is understood.  Most Japanese are not interested in religious beliefs, but rather practice religion for the functions it fulfils in their lives. So a person may have a Shinto dedication at birth, a Christian-styled wedding, and a Buddhist funeral. Most people have little problem practicing multiple religions, since each religion provides different benefits at different times.

Fewer than 1% of Japanese people know Jesus.  Hundreds of towns and villages and even some cities are without a church. The Japanese church is facing issues such as aging congregations and a lack of pastors and seminary students. Many Japanese people are too busy to have time to consider the gospel. When people do believe, they may face pressures, for example by non-Christian spouses not to attend church, or by families to participate in rituals at the Buddhist family altar or Shinto god shelf, or by communities to take part in communal activities on a Sunday morning.

OMF Church Ministries

OMF has been working in Japan since 1951, initially in Hokkaido, and then in Aomori Prefecture, Sendai, and the Greater Tokyo Area. Work has also begun in Iwate Prefecture which was badly affected by the tsunami in 2011.

OMF seeks to glorify God by serving with others to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  To this end OMF workers are involved in planting churches, student and youth work, theological education, and partnering with like-minded organizations.  The most significant partner is the Japan Evangelical Churches Association (JECA). Several missionaries are training at JECA churches, some are involved in cooperative church plants and others are helping JECA churches plant daughter churches.

OMF Mission Sending Ministries

In 1966, the OMF Japan Home Council was established. For a long time, it was difficult to find candidates willing to go overseas as missionaries. Finally, in 1973, Rev and Mrs Kunimitsu Ogawa were the first Japanese OMF missionaries sent to Indonesia. Since then, one by one, God has raised more Japanese to become missionaries.

OMF Japan Map

Population

  • Total: 126.5 million people
    • Japanese: 98.3%
    • Korean: 0.6%
    • Chinese: 0.4%
    • Others: 0.7%

Religions

  • Shinto
  • Buddhism
  • (Note: many practise both Shintoism and Buddhism)
  • Christianity: 0.8%

Lord, thank you for your work in Japan. We ask you to send more workers to share your gospel with the Japanese people. Please encourage and strengthen the Japanese church. May it capture the vision of missions and grow in missions sending. Please open up more areas of partnership between the church and other like-minded organizations. Please raise up many missionaries from Japan to bless peoples in other parts of the world.

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