At the end of March I was helping at a 3-day youth camp deep in the mountains of Gifu-ken. About 20 young people gathered in a small village surrounded by the beauty of creation to enjoy time with God and time together. “Worship” was the headline of the whole camp.
Though 3-day meetings in my eyes are a relatively short time frame, I was surprised by how God had touched many of the young Japanese deep in their heart, which became particularly clear during the feedback session right at the end of the camp. I was almost moved to tears when hearing the testimonies of what God had done. I was amazed at how many of the young generation here felt that God called them to worship. Even some of which I had least expected.
One of the younger and shyer girls suddenly shared how God, when she was still a small child, had given her the dream to play piano for Him and that now, after years of having already given up on this secret dream of her heart, she felt how God renewed her vision and encouraged her to go after it again. Another girl, for instance, said a little sadly that she unfortunately cannot play an instrument, but then went on to tell that she loves to sing and happily pictured herself being a background singer on a worship team some day.
Hearing the young generation share what God had put in their hearts was my personal highlight. While listening I felt the Holy Spirit knocking on my heart as if saying, “I have not been idle, but working secretly in places hidden from the natural eye. See what I have been doing, Benny, and how I am bringing things in place for that which I am about to do.”
We want to see night and day prayer arise in Japan so that God will break in, areas are transformed, people delivered and wrong things made right (Luke 18:7). But we also want to see night and day worship arise from this nation, simply because He so deserves to be adored without ceasing, because He is worth it, and because worship is heaven’s supreme way to encounter the lovesick heart of God and grow in the knowledge of God.
This is one of the things that Jesus had in mind when He taught us to pray that heaven would come down to earth (Matthew 6:10; Revelation 4:8-11). Moreover, He who has prophesied will also let it come to pass, that “from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name” (Malachi 1:11). The setting in place of singers and musicians has been a crucial aspect in most of Israel’s biblical revivals (1 Chronicles 16:4; 2 Chronicles 8:14; 20:21; 23:18; 29:25-27; 35:15; Ezra 3:10; Nehemiah 12:24,45) and so it will be for Japan.
Yes, we want to see His glory cover the soil of Japan as the water covers the sea (Habakkuk 2:14). But what is even more stunning is that Jesus Himself is so much more about it than any of us could ever be. In His lovesick jealousy for the Japanese people He is setting up everything for that to happen. The increasing importance of music among the Japanese youth and the growing number of young people feeling a calling to worship are just the beginnings of what God is going to do in and for Japan. In His faithfulness and His relentless pursuit of the land of the rising sun, He assures us that it is going to happen, and that it’s just a matter of time.
God, please send laborers into the harvest. Raise up singers and musicians all across Japan who would burn with a passion for Your name and carry a vision for unceasing worship and prayer.
– Benjamin Schäfer, Missionary in Nagoya
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