What do hear people say are their biggest obstacles in coming to faith in Jesus in Japan? Do you see a lot of spiritual apathy in general or are people responding to the gospel? How can we pray for Japan?
Thank you for your question and your heart to pray for Japan.
Yes, I do see many Japanese people being apathetic toward Christianity or religion in general. I have been discussing what the obstacles are with the Japanese pastors and church members, and I would like to point out 2 of them.
First, Japanese people have a hectic lifestyle. People are often very busy with studies or work. Examinations are competitive and it is quite normal for the students to go to cram school or a private tutoring school after school to prepare for university. Once you get a job, it is common to work overtime, leaving them little energy to do social activities. When they pursue success in academic achievements or career, it is difficult for them to think about the spiritual things in life that really matter.
Second, people are often suspicious of religions in general. If you see someone sharing their faith on the street or knocking doors, it is usually cults or unorthodox Christians, and Japanese people tend to have a negative impression or experience with religion. The Christian population is said to be about 1% and most of the Japanese have never fully heard of the gospel. That is why it is difficult for them to understand the difference between Christianity and other religions or cults.
Japanese society is aging, and the Church is aging, too, so it is vitally important to reach out to the younger generation. I would be very grateful if you could pray for the young people in Japan to accept Christ and take a stand to share the gospel. Many churches are closing because of the shortage of pastors and church members, and we will experience a steep drop in the number of churches in the next few decades at this rate. However, I feel the younger people seem to be more open to exploring faith as they are starting to seek something that gives hope in a hopeless society full of pressures and challenges.
Thank you for standing with us in prayer, and let us count on Jesus Christ, who makes the impossible possible.