The traditional religions of Japan, Buddhism and Shintoism, are often viewed as nothing more than just that, tradition. Many Japanese would say that they don’t truly believe in either religion but you might find them at a local temple praying before a big life event or in their homes offering food to their ancestors. To this, they would respond that they are just being good Japanese and following the traditions set before them. However, the mood changes when you begin to talk about doing away with these traditions. Considering foregoing a visit to the temple on New Year’s, passing up an opportunity to pray for good grades on tests or for that promotion at work to come through. Or suggesting that one might do away with the family altar. This is when it becomes much more than tradition.
In Matthew 6:21 Jesus says, “wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Japan greatly treasures its rich history and religious traditions to the point that it goes beyond formalities and crosses into the realm of identity. Some would say Japan is overly religious. So much of the culture of Japan traces back to religious roots that is extremely difficult to separate the Japanese identity from religion. With roots so deep and so old Japan needs revival to come. Only Jesus can give the Japanese a new identity and only through the work of the Holy Spirit can these religious ties be done away with.
Therefore friends, I would ask you as you pray this week to pray for Japan.
- Pray that those who come in contact with Christians and missionaries would see what the hope of having an identity found in Jesus looks like.
- Pray that they would hear the gospel and believe in it.
- Pray that God would bring revival to this great nation.