Prayer Profile
The Lematang of Indonesia

[IMAGE] The Lematang are a part of the larger Pasemah people group. The Pasemah are a mixture of related peoples, including not only the Lematang, but also the Lintang and the Lembak. The Lematang live mainly on the Pasemah Lebar highland plateau of Sumatra. However, some also live on the nearby islands, especially off the eastern coast of Sumatra to the coast of Borneo.

The Pasemah probably originated in coastal Borneo and spread to Sumatra and the Pasemah Peninsula as a result of their trading and seafaring lifestyle. Their culture has been strongly influenced by other peoples, such as the Siamese, the Javanese, and the Sumatrans.

Lematang communities first expanded along the Bukit Barisan Mountain Range. Their political center, Pagar Alam ("nature's fortress"), was designed to protect the Pasemah from their more aggressive neighbors, the Rejang. Today, the Indonesian government has designated the city of Lahat as the capital of the district.

What Are Their Lives Like?
Like the Pasemah, the Lematang are a rural people, living in villages of 50 to 1,000 people. Much of the country is covered by jungle, but the villages are located along the coasts, rivers, and roadways. Within their settlements, the Lematang build their houses on stilts raised four to eight feet off the ground.

Farming is the primary occupation of the Lematang, with about 80% of all employment being in agriculture. Rubber is the main cash crop, but coffee and rice are also grown. Wet-rice plots are worked by hoeing, or by plowing with oxen or water buffalo. Planting and harvesting are usually done by either hired mixed-sex work groups or by the extended family members. Farmers often use tractors in cultivating their crops. A farmer will usually set aside a portion of the proceeds from his harvests for several years, and then buy a tractor from the government.

Since most of the people make their living from farming, major ceremonies are usually held immediately following harvest. These events include marriages, circumcisions, and hair cutting rituals. Every family in the village participates in such activities because of the strong feeling of community.

Lematang families do not usually live together as extended families. Instead, each family tries to have their own separate home. Newlywed couples may temporarily live with their parents, but they prefer to have their own homes as soon as possible.

Women wear cotton sarongs (loose skirts made of long strips of cloth wrapped around the body) with long-sleeved cotton blouses. They also wear jackets, scarves, and skirts over their trousers; they do not wear veils. Men wear western-style cotton shirts and slacks.

What Are Their Beliefs?
Today, nearly all Lematang are Sunni Muslims, although in the past, the influence of Hinduism from India has been great. A mosque serves as the formal religious center in each village, and most men attend Friday prayers at least some of the time.

In rural areas, the Lematang have also preserved some of their animistic beliefs (belief that non-human objects have spirits) in spirits of the soil and jungle. Traditional medications are widely used, and shamans (medicine men) are frequently consulted for physical, mental, and spiritual ailments and diseases.

What Are Their Needs?
Because the Lematang live in rural areas, unemployment is high. As a result, many of the men are forced to temporarily, or even permanently, move to the cities in search of jobs.

Very few of the Lematang have ever heard the Gospel, and there are no missions agencies currently working among them. At the present time, they are without any portion of the Scriptures, the Jesus film, or Christian radio broadcasts in their own language. Committed Christian missionaries, Bible translators, and media personnel are greatly needed if the Lematang are to hear the Good News that Jesus loves them.

Prayer Points
  • Ask the Lord of the harvest to send missionaries to share the Gospel with the Lematang of Indonesia.
  • Pray for the translation of the Jesus film and other evangelistic material into the Lematang language.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Lematang so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
  • Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Lematang through dreams and visions.
  • Pray that God will protect the small number of Lematang believers and enable them to stand firm in their faith.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Lematang bound.
  • Ask God to raise up faithful intercessors who will stand in the gap for the Lematang.
  • Pray that strong local churches will be raised up among the Lematang by the year 2000.

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Lematang
  • Country: Indonesia
  • Their language: Lematang
  • Population: (1990) 151,600
    (1995) 163,900
    (2000) 176,500
  • Largest religion: Muslim (Sunni) 99.9%
  • Christians: <1%
  • Church members: 164
  • Scriptures in their own language: None
  • Jesus Film in their own language: None
  • Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
  • Mission agencies working among this people: 0
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 34,600 (22%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 8,400 (6%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 26,200 (16%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 129,300 (78%)
  • Country: Indonesia
  • Population: (1990) 182,811,600
    (1995) 197,587,700
    (2000) 212,730,600
  • Major peoples in size order: Javanese 26.2%
    Javanese Indonesian 10.7%
    Sudanese 10.6%
    Madurese 5.7%
    Sudanese Indonesian 3.1%
  • Major religions: Muslim 43.7%
    New religionist 35%
    Christian 13%
  • Number of denominations: 113

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Bethany World Prayer Center

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