“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you now perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Is.43:19
These were the words the Lord gave us at the recent Listening Evangelism Dunamis in Takasago, Japan. He spoke this into a time of prayer on the second day and it was clear throughout our time that indeed, He was birthing a “new thing” in our midst.
Obstacles to the Gospel
About 1% of the population of Japan is Christian. This percentage hasn’t really changed since Christianity first came to Japan.
Part of the work of this Dunamis Project was exploring the obstacles to the gospel going forward in Japan and praying that these be removed.
And there are many! From culture to history to fear of rejection by families and friends, it is a dark context in which to live and share the gospel.
And yet those who came to the Dunamis were eager to be equipped to do just that.
Hungry for Empowerment
On the final day we invited people to come forward to receive prayer for empowerment and then those who wanted to receive an anointing for evangelism were invited forward.
Almost everyone in the sanctuary came up for prayer. They know they cannot share the gospel on their own, and only under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit can this work be done.
We believe that part of the “new thing” birthed is these men and women equipped by the Spirit to join in the work of sharing the gospel and seeing the Kingdom of God advanced in Japan.
Hospitality and Love
As always, we were greeted with incredible hospitality and love. Over the past 6 years we have been so blessed to get to know the members of the Renewal Board and Takasago Church (who have been our hosts).
70 Strong and Growing
There were about 70 people who came to the event. About one quarter are pastors and the rest lay leaders and church members from all over Japan.
Since the beginning of this track six years ago they have been welcoming of our teaching and approach and eager to grow.
We have heard consistently how much they appreciate the teamwork, discernment process and the opportunities to practice what they are learning.
An Effective Covering of Intercession
The team included the Revs. John Chang, Peyton Johnson, Steve Thayer and myself.
We were joined by three American intercessors: Alicia and Michael Talent and Annie Johnson (Peyton’s daughter). We were upheld by intercessors on-site (the second time we have had an on-site Japanese prayer team!), hundreds of off-site intercessors back in the US from the churches of John, Peyton, and Steve, as well as PRMI intercessors.
The event went smoothly and we didn’t have any warfare break in to cause disruption. Praise the Lord!
Steve Thayer, who trained and led the intercession team said,
Although I’ve not yet written a reflection on the trip, a couple of aspects impressed me from a prayer perspective. The first was how little of our intercession needed to be focused on spiritual warfare. There was relatively little spiritual opposition during the event (other than the confusion of Monday evening).
In contrast to some other years, it felt that we were praying grace down from an open heaven rather than pushing away the powers of darkness. A couple of intercessors or participants had reported a vision of an angel over the sanctuary doing battle on our behalf – whether by an angel or outside intercession we were well covered.
What are the Next Steps in Japan?
One of the goals for this week was to discern next steps in Japan. The Renewal Board reviewed our advanced courses and have asked us to return in February, 2015 to teach Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit.
We all agreed this would be a good next step, focusing on pastors who want to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and see their churches alive and growing.
We will be developing materials to send and praying about the teaching team over the next few months.
Pray for Boldness and Protection
Please continue to pray for the work in Japan. Pray for boldness as these equipped men and women listen to the Holy Spirit and risk stepping into moments to share the gospel.
Pray that the strongholds blocking the advance of the gospel be removed. And pray for protection against backlash for the participants (and leaders) of this Dunamis Project.
Your Next Step
Equipping and empowerment are not only needed overseas. PRMI’s Dunamis teaching helps believers learn to cooperate with the Holy Spirit for evangelism, prayer, and healing.
To learn more about Dunamis Projects or to find one near you, please visit the Dunamis Institute website.