There are many reasons why prayer is crucial for ministering to Japanese.
The personal reason is for forgiveness and for strength to become more like Jesus.
The ministry reason is that the Lord will open the hearts of those with whom we share.
The wisdom reason is that we might be able to discern God’s will in our ministry. When we returned to Japan to begin our third term, we “wisely” had picked out a general location to begin a new church. It would be in Chiba, about 30 minutes away from our first church start. Nishi Funabashi was the perfect location, an important hub as two train lines intersected there. In my mind I knew that this would be the best location, and I had mobilized people to pray that the Lord would provide a good location.
Every trip to the realtor office resulted in the big “NO PLACE.” We kept praying until finally one kind agent said, “What about Shimousa Nakayama?” I had never heard of it, but he said that it was only one train stop from Nishi Funabashi. Reluctantly, I visited the area and discovered that the rental was within a few minutes walk from the station. Not a bad situation right above a small restaurant and laundry.
The Lord had guided through prayer to this location. And at our first worship service a 30-year-old woman who lived next door attended. She shared that she had never attended a church service before, but had believed in Jesus through a TV program several months ago. I learned the lesson. I make ministry plans, but prayer corrects them, modifies them, and blesses them!