- (Credit: Reuters/Oka Barta Daud)
Christians in Indonesia have united together to create an intercessory prayer movement that they hope will result in improved relations between Islam and Protestant believers since their nation is home to 13 percent of the world's Muslim population.
Five million Christians are participating in non-stop prayer throughout hundreds of cities while focusing their prayers on the government, media, youth and social and religious issues of concern.
"24 hours a day, we are praying for the churches in Indonesia, all pastors and leaders. No single hour or day passes without prayers for our country," said Jeffrey Petrus, an organizer of the movement, according to NoticiaCristiana.com.
Prayer organizers have commissioned multistory buildings throughout the country for the multi-denominational initiative where several bunks have been set in place for intercessors. At the prayer sites, participants are able to take on four-hour shifts at a time with the option to rest then recharge for prayer again.
The spiritual awakening effort has been taking place since 2009, according to the World Prayer Assembly. In 2012 alone, 100,000 Christians, including 20,000 trained child intercessors and 20,000 youth, gathered at the national stadium of the nation's capital city, Jakarta, for a large-scale prayer meeting that was televised live in 200 cities throughout the country.
"God is showing me that He has chosen Asia as the epicenter for the next mighty move of God; the great revival the Church has been waiting and praying for," said Leslie Keegel, from the World Prayer Assembly, according to the organization's website. "The nation of Indonesia in particular is the Asian nation God has chosen to be the epicenter for the world impacting global revival He is planning on sending on the nations. God has heard the cries of the Indonesian Church, seen the tears and the blood of her saints poured out like a river."
Although Christians account for about 15 percent of the country's population, they still feel threatened by the Indonesian government even though they can exercise their right of religious freedom. Contributing factors for their concerns include the difficulty to register their churches versus the less challenging process for mosques. In addition, Muslims who convert to Christianity often times leave Islam as their religion on their identification cards in order to not be ostracized.
Currently, the nation composed of about 17,000 islands is home to 128 ethnic groups, some of which have not heard the Gospel, according to prayingforindonesia.com, including the islands of Sumatra, Sulawesi and Java.
However, other cities including Jakarta have seen a surge in rising Evangelicals, which Christian Indonesians say the rapid growth has prompted a dire need for discipleship and continued strong leadership.