On March 11th, my husband and I were living in Berlin, Germany. After we awoke, we checked Facebook and every single one of our Facebook friends’ posts mentioned an enormous earthquake. We spent the day glued to our computer watching live coverage on NHK Japan. I watched in horror as images of Natori city flashed before my eyes – houses engulfed in huge fires, entire neighborhoods being swept away, and other apocalyptic images. I had taught an English class there for two years and wondered if my students were still alive. Thankfully, none of my friends perished, although several lost neighbors, friends, and relatives.

Natori City, Miyagi Prefecture

A year later, as the world stands in awe at how quickly Japan is rebuilding, we know that for many in Japan the pain, the mourning, and the trials continue. The greatest need is 心のケア, or care for the heart. We are making plans to move to Ishinomaki in a few months, one of the cities hardest hit by the tsunami. We feel as though God is inviting to come along to partake in His plan for displaying His glory in Japan – it’s like having a front row seat to watch with our own eyes how God Himself will bring beauty from the ashes of Japan’s tragedy and heal the brokenhearted, the hopeless, and the disconsolate.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Ps. 34:18)

girl in Ishinomaki amid the rubble

Here are a few ways we are praying for Japan today.

  • Love, peace, and comfort for grieving families
  • Healing and counseling for those suffering with various afflictions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and/ or depression, those contemplating suicide, etc.
  • Continued wisdom for response of Christians in Japan
  • Unity among Christian relief agencies in Japan (no territorialism)
  • Hope and practical help for those whose homes were destroyed
  • More laborers for the harvest in Japan (Matthew 9:38)
  • Revival in Japan (starting in Tohoku)

Perhaps in these days there are more prayers being prayed for Japan throughout the world than at any time in the history of the world.  What purposes could God have both in this tragedy and in the active response of the Church of Jesus Christ?…May the prayers of Christians around the world be used not only to bring the comfort of Christ to Japan but also as a prayer tsunami to break the powerful dams of the hearts of the Japanese.” [Dan Iverson, Mission to the World]

A prayer for Japan from John Piper:
“May every heart-breaking loss…be healed by the wounded hands of the risen Christ. You are not unacquainted with your creatures’ pain. You did not spare your own Son, but gave him up for us all.

In Jesus you tasted loss. In Jesus you shared the overwhelming flood of our sorrows and suffering. In Jesus you are a sympathetic Priest in the midst of our pain.

Deal tenderly now, Father, with this fragile people. Woo them. Win them. Save them. And may the floods they so much dread make blessings break upon their head.

O let them not judge you with feeble sense, but trust you for your grace. And so behind this providence, soon find a smiling face.”

Evacuation shelter in Ishinomaki