Millions of Indonesians need a new place to live. Pray that Christians might show the love of Jesus to these displaced peoples.
- The “Transmigration Scheme”. Since Java and Bali are highly crowded, the government organized the relocation of over 8 million people to Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Papua, and West Papua where more space is available. Most of the people relocated were Muslim Javanese and Madurese. In places like Papua and West Papua, the indigenous people have become minorities within their own homelands, and some have called the process “slow motion genocide”. This flared into violent protests in Papua in 2019.
- Natural disasters. As a result of earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods, millions have become homeless or displaced and 200,000 have died in the last twenty years.
- Community violence and religious persecution. More than 500,000 Christians from Maluku and central Sulawesi have suffered personal loss, bitter trauma, and loss of their ancestral homelands to Muslim groups. Although the violence has passed, these areas have shifted from the two religious populations living amidst one another to a separation that means there is much less interaction between Muslims and Christians – and therefore much less witness to Jesus for those who do not know him.
- Migrant workers. 400,000 legal migrants (and more illegal ones) seek work abroad. 80% are female, and they often work in people’s homes. Their loneliness can open their hearts to loving witness by Christians in other nations.
Indonesia's vast diversity is both its strength and its peril. With 17,500 islands strewn across nearly 10 million sq km of ocean, 33 provinces, 722 languages, even more ethnic groups, myriad religious expressions and deeply divided political agendas, holding this nation together is a monumental task. Pray for political strength for the maturing democracy to stay balanced between national unity and regional identity. Pray also for the government to act with righteousness in honouring all peoples and communities; Indonesia's history, especially recently, is characterized by discrimination, exploitation and favouritism.
The fledgling democratic government faces a daunting task. Its first years were marked by powerlessness in the face of extremist demands from strident Islamists and manipulation by the powerful former regime and military. Positive signs see moderation and democracy taking root and displacing the old culture of extremism, corruption, cronyism and nepotism. There is a long way to go, however, to see political, economic and social renewal. Pray that the president, vice-president and the People's Consultative Assembly may be courageous, decisive and fair in bringing betterment to the whole nation.
A spiritual conflict rages for Indonesia. Ancient and strong occult powers seek to oppose the influence of the gospel, while modern Muslim stratagems seek to eliminate Christianity and remove the presence of the good news. Pray specifically for the binding of these powers and for continued growth of the Church in the midst of intense opposition and growing persecution.
The creeping Islamization of Indonesia is eroding religious freedom and the long-prevailing communal tolerance. Islam itself is remarkably varied - the santri puritanical Islam; the abangan, a more Sufist interpretation heavily influenced by pre-Islamic Javanese mysticism; the Islam of modern secular-moderate Muslims. However, it is generally the more conservative, aggressive, fundamentalist groups that continue to grow in power, partly by intimidating other Muslims into acquiescence.
A vision for the evangelization of Indonesia grows even as the opposition increases, joining ecumenical, Pentecostal and evangelical Protestants in a common vision. Nearly 100 million people can be regarded as unevangelized. From 1996 onward, national and regional consultations have focused on unreached Indonesian peoples. Excellent research by the Indonesian Peoples' Network continues, and Indonesian ministries placing workers among these peoples have significantly increased. Pray for the attainment of these visions:
- A viable witnessing church for every people group in the country. In Indonesia, there are 128 people groups larger than 10,000 people with a Christian population of under 1% - these account for 60% of the country's population. About 30 of these have no known believers or full-time workers. Another 200 or more unreached people groups have less than 10,000 people. Pray that the Indonesian Church may take the lead as expatriate workers partner with them.
- A church in every village. The vision of many is to see at least one church planted in each of Indonesia's 76,000 villages within one generation. Over 45,000 villages still lack a single church.
- A unified Indonesian prayer movement with a prayer group in every neighbourhood, linked into prayer networks in every city and province. This is quickly becoming a reality as God blesses the burgeoning national prayer network, formed in 1990 and now spread to over 450 cities.
Young people represent an untapped potential for both harvest field and harvest force. Around one-third of the population are under 18 years of age. Pray for:
- Students in universities. They number 3.5 million in over 2,300 higher education institutions. A number of specialized agencies have extensive ministry on campuses (Navigators, IFES, Cru and others). The IFES-linked student movement PERKANTAS has groups in over 50 cities. Islamic universities are rapidly growing in number and in influence. A significant minority of Indonesians study overseas, many in open nations - pray that they may be reached in other lands. Others are attracted by scholarships to study in Saudi Arabia.
- School children. Forty percent of kids never make it to middle school. Children at Risk, Compassion International, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Awana, and Kids' EE as well as denominations such as CMA work together to bring the gospel to the children of Indonesia. Many are at risk. Nearly three million are child labourers, often in dangerous jobs and, every year, thousands of others are trafficked for more nefarious purposes.
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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.