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World News

'Incredible move of prayer' as Olympics get underway

by Marcus Jones

Christians across the world are being called to unite in prayer for Japan as the country hosts the Olympics.

The Games got underway with a muted opening ceremony in Tokyo on Friday; because of the pandemic, no crowds are being allowed into the stadiums.

During normal times, churches in host cities use the Olympics as a spring board for evangelism to their local communities and to tourists.

Big plans were in place for Japan but they too have been stood down because of the country's restrictions to stop the spread of Covid.

"It's a really challenging time at the moment," Marty Woods, from the Japan International Sports Partnership (JISP), told Premier. "Japanese people are very cautious. 80 per cent at one stage wanted the Olympics cancelled. There was no choice but they're not happy about it and some are quite angry."

While physical events may no longer be on the agenda, Christians on the ground have turned their focus to prayer.

Woods says they've taken the lead of the Apostle Paul who had grand plans for evangelism before he ended up in prison.

"He could have said, 'Well, thanks a lot, God', but what does he do? He has the most amazing prayer and worship time where there's an earthquake and he's freed.  

"Every door seems to be closed, but the door of prayer hasn't closed. There's been this incredible move of prayer amongst the Japanese church. 

"The more we think about it, it's the most strategic, central thing that we can do. I think we're learning that in a whole new way.

Through JISP and the Japan Evangelical Missionary Association, believers are using this time to pray for the spreading of the faith across the country.

Christians make up just one per cent of the population while many towns and cities don't have a church.

Together, the groups are calling on Christians across the world to help them bring about one million hours of prayer for Japan.

Those wishing to get involved can head to

"Pray that we would see such a move of God," Woods asks. "We've got 30 days; 17 for the Olympics, 13 for the Paralympics and we're praying that God's Spirit would fall on this land in a way that we've never seen before. 

"Whenever you hear about the Olympics, whenever your team wins, can I just ask you to pray 'Come and change this land, make it truly a place where his glory's seen'."

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