Traditional Spiritual Practices

Across Indonesia, Muslim and local traditional practices are often intertwined and present at major life events. For example, at a “Baby Bathing Ceremony” (which marks the time when the baby is allowed to be taken outside of the home), a “children’s dukun” (traditional religious practitioner) prepares special strings to be tied on the baby’s wrists and ankles. These are to protect the baby from harm that could be caused by troublesome spirits. Then she takes special soot from burned herbs, and marks a line on the baby’s scalp, as well as an X on the palms of his hands and soles of his feet, while reciting prayers over the baby.

Once this is done, the baby is traditionally taken to the river for his first bath. Here, the dukun throws out a handful of leaves and herbs to bless the water, then washes the baby’s head with lemon water. She then takes several mouthfuls of water and spits these onto the baby's back, front, top of his head, arms and legs. Once the baby is washed in this way, she wraps him in a towel and marks his head with fragrant oil. The new mother is also showered with the lemon water and other herbs, and after this ceremony is finished, she too is allowed to go out of her house again.

In Ezekiel 13:18, “...the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the women who sew magic charms on all their wrists...” These practices are not simple superstition, but an invitation for “good spirits” to gain a foothold in each baby’s life from the time they are less than two weeks old. In this way, many people have been under occult influence from their early days.

Prayer Points

  • Pray that the spiritual influence of these local practices would be broken, and that hearts would be open to hear the Good News.
  • Pray that the power of these dukun would be broken, and that these dukun themselves, who believe strongly in dreams, visions, and the spirit world, would have personal and life-changing encounters with the living God.