ArticleBible & Theology

Prayer Focus: The Dwelling Place of God

Those who build shrines to false deities need to hear of the true dwelling place of God.
“For in him all the  fullness of God was pleased to dwell . . .” (Colossians 1:19 ESV)

God dwells here.

For the Christian, this statement would make a good t-shirt slogan. There’s no denying that God dwells in the believer. But it’s also the very heart of Colossians 1:19.

This is a tricky verse. Most English translations render it differently than the ESV. They emphasize that God, or the Father, was pleased to have his fullness dwell in Christ. It is clear from this text that God’s divine presence did not hover around Christ, nor did it come upon him, nor did it come up under him. Rather, it dwelt fully in him because Jesus was fully God (John 1:1, 14). When we look at Jesus, we see the embodiment of the entire godhead in bodily form (Colossians 2:9).

God was pleased to have his fullness dwell in Christ.

But do other gods dwell here on earth?

The Japanese comprise the second largest unreached people group. Nearly 80 percent follow the traditional practices and rituals of Shintoism. Shintos believe that all things possess a spiritual essence or energy called kami. Kamis are deity to be venerated, worshipped, and appeased. When a follower dies, they become kami. This is the reason for ancestor worship.

Shinto shrines are built to house the kami. This is where the kamis dwell and take up residence. Some estimates place the number of shrines in Japan exceeding 100,000, not counting personal shrines in people’s homes.

What a sad contrast to Colossians 1:19. The fullness of the one true God dwells in the person of Jesus Christ. And this same Jesus now dwells in the hearts of people through faith in him (Ephesians 3:17). But faith comes by hearing Christ’s Word (Romans 10:17). The Japanese need to hear his Word.

This week, let’s pray:

“Lord, thank you for dwelling in my heart through faith. Help me to experience the fullness of Christ daily. Give me courage and boldness to share the Gospel so that others might experience your fullness too.”


Prayer requests for reaching the unreached in Japan:

  1. Pray  for an awareness of spiritual need among the Japanese, as interest in religion of any kind is low.
  2. Pray for Japanese men to answer God’s call to ministry. A record number of churches will be without pastors in the next 15 years as older pastors retire.
  3. Pray for new workers in the Kanto region (where Tokyo is located) and Kyushu.
  4. Pray that our ABWE missionaries will maintain a vibrant spiritual life. There is a dark, spiritual void in Japan, and many Christians, including pastors and missionaries, struggle with discouragement and depression. The enemy is alive and well in Japan.
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About the Author

Bobby Hile is ABWE’s Director of Long-Term Mobilization. Prior to that, he served for 9 years as a senior pastor in Ohio and for almost 20 years with ABWE as a missionary in South Africa.

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