The 7 largest UPGs in Indonesia are comprised of 132 million people. Half the population of Indonesia! Learn about each of these unreached people groups and join us in praying specific prayers for them. The top 6 largest UPGs in Indonesia are in the top 100 largest UPGs in the world.
Sunda is the largest UPG and the second largest people group with around 38 million people located in West Java. Only 0.05% are evangelicals with the majority being Muslim. The Sundanese are known for their kindness and believe that having the Sundanese character is the best path of life.
If you want to learn more about the Sundanese and how God is moving among them, you can read this encouraging book: Growing a Mustard Tree by Matt Kirkas. Prayercast also has an intriguing prayer video of the Sundanese.
Pray for the Sundanese to walk in the Light, confess their sins, and be cleansed from all unrighteousness by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7-9)
2. Java Pesisir Lor
There are 37.5 million Java Pesisir Lor who live on the North Coast of Central Java. They are 97% Sunni Muslims and follow Islamic Folk practices. They make regular pilgrimages to the graves of the “9 saints of Javanese Islam.” Once at the graves, they beseech these ancients spirits for health, salvation and sustenance.
Some Java Pesisir Lor have placed their faith in Jesus after seeing Him in dreams or reading about His superiority in the Qur’an. However, Muslim Background Believers are severely persecuted by their family and community.
To learn more about the Java Pesisir Lor, watch this video of a believer praying for his people to know Christ.
Pray for religious leaders and shamans to become followers of Jesus.
3. Java Mancanegari
The Java Mancanegari live in East Java and have a population of 21 million. Only 0.22% are evangelical.
Most mix Muslim beliefs with Hindu or pre-Hindu beliefs. They learn to read the Qur’an but they often don’t understand what they are reading. They use Islamic prayers and written verses from the Qur’an to ward off evil spirits and use as good luck charms.
The Java Mancanegari are considered “less refined” compared to other Javanese people groups. They are known for their openness and straight-forwardness.
Pray for the Java Mancanegari to believe in Jesus as the one and only God who is all-powerful and all-knowing.
There are 14 million Madurese making them the 4th largest UPG in Indonesia. Most of the Madurese people live on the island of Madura and in East Java. They are known to have harsh personalities. The Madurese have a popular saying that it is better to die than to be humiliated. They are one of the poorest people groups in Indonesia. Many work as farmers or fishermen.
There are very few churches among these devout Muslims. Pray for the church-planting teams to have perseverance to share the gospel and that many would believe through them.
Pray God would soften their hearts and there would be greater receptivity to the gospel
5. Java Banyumasan
There are 9 million Java Banyumasan living on the South coast of the island of Java. They make their living from farming, but unlike other Indonesian groups, they use more modern equipment and make good use of the land.
The people of Java Banyumasan are majority Muslim but 80% are nominal Muslims. They also hold animistic beliefs. They seek help by a dukun (witch doctor) if they need help or are sick.
Pray for the light of Christ to expel the darkness of the Occult and its practices.
The Minangkabau are the people of West Sumatra. They live in the large city of Padang and the surrounding areas. There are almost 7 million Minangkabau who are 99.72% Muslim.
They speak the Minang language which has many dialects. Their famous saying is, “To be Minangkabau is to be Muslim.” The Minangkabau have a matrilineal culture where the family name and wealth is inherited by the daughter. Their “Padang” cuisine is famous as they have restaurants all over Indonesia.
Pray for the Minangkabau believers to have boldness to share the love of Christ with their family and friends.
The Betawi people live in the nation’s capital, Jakarta, and the surrounding areas. There are 5.7 million Betawi people making them the 7th largest of the UPGs in Indonesia.
Some of the Betawi people live urban lives in the capital while most of them work as rice farmers and fishermen. They are the original inhabitants of Jakarta. The influx of tourists and workers from other areas have made it difficult for the Betawi to preserve their cultural identity.
Watch this prayer video to learn more about Jakarta and how to pray for the people there.
Pray for the Betawi to worship before God, glorify His name, and know that He is God alone (Psalm 86:9-10)