Joel Osteen, a nondenominational televangelist whose Houston-based megachurch has generated a weekly attendance of more than 52,000 people, has been accused before of putting his personal wealth ahead of his congregation. In 2017, Osteen came under fire after he initially did not open his 16,800-seat facility to serve as a shelter for Hurricane Harvey victims.
Now, a screenshot is circulating on social media of what appears to be a woman asking for prayers for her marriage on the Facebook page of Joel Osteen’s Ministries, only to be told that she needs to purchase a "prayer request account."
The screenshot shows a woman writing on the (supposed) Joel Osteen’s Ministries page: "I am requesting prayer for my marriage," and then displays the following response from the page:
"Unfortunately, your Joel Osteen prayer request account has not been activated. In order to activate your account, you will need to add a monthly donation of $24.99, which will give you access to 3 prayer requests per month. If you donate $49.99 each month you will become a Platinum Prayer Request member, which gives you access to over 10 prayer requests per month and a chance to buy tickets to my next performance at your local arena."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
It’s not real – the Facebook page pictured is not the actual Joel Osteen Ministries account, and has since been deleted after fact checkers, and Osteen’s Lakewood Church, reported that the account was a look-alike intended to make it appear as if Osteen exchanges prayers for money.
Speaking to the Houston Chronicle in May 2019, a church spokesperson said she didn't know where the post originated, and that the church’s social media team "saw hundreds of people receiving the fake messages."
We rate this Pants on Fire!